Rand McNally Teacher Support

Rand McNally Education: Teaching Tips

1. Primary Achievement Series™ Political World Wall Map


Remember the Cardinal Directions!
Teach students the phrase Never Eat Soggy Waffles, and your students won’t forget the cardinal directions.

Make Your Own Compass
Materials: Construction paper, scissors, crayons or markers, Achievement Series™ Primary World Wall Map, water-soluble marker

  1. Have students cut a circle out of the construction paper.
  2. Fold the circle in half once and then twice to form four sections.
  3. Tell students to trace the fold lines and label them with the cardinal directions: N (north), east (E), south (S) and west (W).
  4. Find your province or territory on the map and draw a big “X” in the middle*. Tell students that they are going on a car trip, starting at the X. Point to a city directly north of the X, and ask students to use their compass to determine in which direction they need to go to get there. Repeat the car trip for the other cardinal directions.

* All Rand McNally wall maps are markable and washable with a water-soluble marker.

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2. Intermediate Achievement Series™ Physical-Political Wall Map


Geography and Math: Teaching Scale
Materials: Ruler, Achievement Series™ World and Canada Physical-Political Map, water-soluble markers.

Have students take turns coming up to the map and circling* a city or town near or around various geographical features such as a mountain ranges, plains, plateaus, deserts, rivers, and lakes. (You may want to refer to the Geographical Terms wall chart or desk map for additional support). Using a ruler, have each student measure the distance between two circled locations. Then, using the scale bar on the map, have students determine what this distance equates to in miles.

* All Rand McNally wall maps are markable and washable with a water-soluble marker.

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3. Advanced Achievement Series™ Political Wall Map


Geography and Our World

Have students take turns bringing in current events articles from newspapers. Each student should research current events from 3 different local, national, and international sources. Have each student tell the class about the events. Use the Achievement Series™ Political World and Canada maps to show the class where the event took place.

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4. Advanced Achievement Series™ Physical-Political Wall Map


Geography and Our World

Have students point out warm and cold ocean currents on the Achievement Series™ Physical- Political World map. Ask students for their observations. How do warm and cold ocean currents affect the location of ice packs? How do they affect climate? How do they affect countries culturally and environmentally?

Hint: The currents are depicted with red and blue arrows on the map and the Arctic ice packs are depicted with a cracked blue line pattern. Where there are red arrows, you won’t find as much ice pack (i.e. in the Pacific Ocean). Where there is a prevalence of blue arrows, you’ll find a denser ice pack.

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5. Achievement Series™ Globes


Latitude: Climate and Seasons

Materials: Washable marker, flashlight, and an Achievement Series™ globe
This activity helps to demonstrate the relationship between latitude and climate.

  1. Trace the following latitudes around the globe: equator (0º), Tropic of Cancer (23½º N), Tropic of Capricorn (23½º S), Arctic Circle (66½ ºN), and Antarctic Circle (66½ ºS)
  2. Turn out the classroom lights. Shine a flashlight, which represents the sun, directly at the equator. Slowly spin the globe on its axis.
  3. Which parts of the earth receive direct sunlight (places between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn). These places have the warmest climates.
  4. Which parts of the earth receive only slant rays of the sun (places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle). These places have the coldest climates

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6. Achievement Series™ Political Continent Maps


Cultural Features _ Geometry

Have students examine the different shapes of countries and to identify what geometric shapes they resemble (e.g. square, oval, circle, trapezoid, etc.). Ask them what shape would be the easiest to govern and to unify, all else being equal. A circle has the shortest boundary to defend and the shortest distance to places at the farthest perimeter. Although there are no countries that are perfect circles, have students find examples of countries that come close.

Then ask them to find examples of countries that are in pieces, or fragmented (these countries are usually made up of islands). Discuss the problems such countries might face in trying to unify their people.

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7. Achievement Series™ Physical-Political Continent Maps


Drawing Inferences

Have students compare and contrast the climate map with the physical-political map. Note places where the mountain ranges block rain-bearing winds. They can detect such places by the pattern of the rain on the ocean side of the mountains and dry land on the landward side.

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8. Exploring Our World - Primary Atlas


Animals of the World

Materials: Eight animal stickers, crayons, Exploring Our World Atlas, and world outline map (one for each student) from Exploring Our World Teacher’s Guide. (Note: you can use animal photos from the Internet if you don’t have stickers)

Animal sticker suggestions: North America - Brown Bear; South America - Parrot; Europe - Sheep; Asia - Panda; Africa - Lion; Australia - Kangaroo

  1. On the world outline map have each student color in the different continents, each with a different color.
  2. Tape the map onto each student’s desk or post it on a designated bulletin board.
  3. Throughout the month, present students with an animal sticker as a reward for good behavior or work.
  4. Have the student place the animal on its home continent using the pictures in the Exploring Our World Atlas as their guide.
  5. Once the student’s map is full, they can receive a reward.

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9. Classroom Atlas of Canada and the World


Introduction to an Atlas

Tell students that Rand McNally wants to use “real people” instead of actors to advertise its Classroom Atlas. Have them prepare a one-minute TV commercial that will convince the company to hire you. Include as much information about an atlas and its benefits as possible.

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10. Historical Atlas of the World


History through the Study of Literature

Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey is a combination adventure and love story, introducing students to geographical features of the Mediterranean basin. The features it describes were important parts of the world-view of ancient Greeks. Using their Historical Atlas of the World, have students match the places mentioned in the poem with the modern features. Using the “Europe and the Mediterranean” outline map from the Historical Atlas of the World Teacher’s Guide, have students label the places on the map.

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