Teaching Geographical Concepts and Skills in Primary Social Studies, pp. 10 of 13

Location can be taught in primary social studies lessons using the following strategies:

  • Get students to draw a grid with numbers on one side (rows) and letters on another side (columns). One student will throw a stone on the grid. The first person to shout out the correct coordinates where the stone lands, skips to the square to pick it up and hops back again to the starting point. He will throw the stone and another student who gives the correct answer will repeat the whole process.
  • In the activity of classroom orienteering, stick 10 post-it labels with letters underneath the tables, cupboards, etc. Mark the locations on the classroom plan but label each with a number. Ask the first pair of students to use the plan to locate the post-it labels and fill up the worksheet devised. A timer can be used to inject some competition and fun. Ask each pair who has completed the orienteering course to set a new course for the next pair, putting the labels in different locations and making a new plan. The activity can be extended to outside the classroom.
  • Whenever places are mentioned or taught, teachers can make use of the opportunity to mark the positions of the places on the wall maps or get students to mark the positions.
  • Teachers can also encourage students to look up the locations of places that are mentioned in the newspaper articles of interest.   

d)   Directions

When teaching directions, Parker (2009) has cautioned against making statements such as “north is at the top of the map” and “south is at the bottom of the map” as they can lead to confusion for students especially when different map projections are used. Reference to north as up and south as down should not be taught because when we speak of the Earth, down means towards the centre of the Earth and up means away from the centre.

The north arrow can be used to find the direction of one place from another on the map. The north arrow tells us where the main or cardinal points are – north, south, west and east. These indicate general directions. For young students, start with the cardinal points first. An example of how to read direction using cardinal points is shown in Figure 6. For older students, their learning can be extended by using other compass points between the cardinal points - northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. These compass points help to state the directions more accurately. An example of how to read directions using compass points is shown in Figure 7.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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