15 Ideas For Using My Maps (Beyond Geography)

Google My Maps can be used for presenting information, by both you and your students, in many different curriculum areas. Here are just a few ideas.

1. Creating a timeline of historical events – Students can plot locations for events they are studying on a MyMap. They can then add more information, photos (both historical and current), videos, and links in the place marker. A simple example is this map based on the diaries of Lewis and Clark.

2. Visualize the setting of a literary work on a map – Especially for stories that take place in specific locations, making a map adds context for students. This kind of map is often called a Google Lit Trip, an idea created by a middle school English teacher. You can find many examples of Lit Trips on his site.

3. In World Languages, use a map to visualize different terms – What are the Spanish words for street, church, and river? You can even add links to Google Street View locations that make learning these terms even more concrete.

4. Illustrate different ecological and political regions – In Virginia, students are expected to know the five physical regions of the state, such as the tidewater region and the Piedmont. The drawing tools in My Maps makes this easy. This is a simple example.

5. Do the same with climates, vegetation, and animals – In addition to using the drawing tools to show areas, Students can include images and other information in place markers to further demonstrate their understanding. The satellite base map is a great way to add even more impact.

6. Where did I come from? – For ESL classes, use a My Map to show the home towns and countries of the students. They can also use the place markers to practice their English by writing stories about those locations.

7. Where am I going? – Counselors could use a My Map to show where students plan to attend college or to provide information about schools, scholarships, and other post high school opportunities. A long term map could keep track of alumni long after they’ve graduated.

8. Where am I? – Help students learn about their own neighborhood with a map showing all the important locations. They can even include their own photographs in the markers.

9. Where can I find wifi? – For students without wifi at home, create a map of the neighborhood showing where they can go to connect outside of school, complete with open and closing times.

10. Calculate distance, area, rate, and time – Using the measurement and directions tools to create paths, and then determine how long it will take to travel. You can also compare the areas of different countries and regions since My Maps compensates for the visual errors inherent in any flat map.

11. Visualize historic events – Use place makers and the drawing tools to build a map for complex events in history. A good example is this map showing the division between north and south during the US Civil War, along with markers for the major battles.

12. Visualize data – You can import statistical information into a map and then use the style tools to enhance the information. Large amounts of census data is available online, along with data on world literacy, population, and economic changes. Almost any information that can be organized into a spreadsheet can be used in My Maps.

13. Artists and musicians – The geography of an area often impacts the local artists. Create a map showing where the people being studied worked and include examples of their work in the place markers.

14. Map your class activities – Where has our Flat Stanley visited? Who have we done video conferences with? If your class is connecting with the world (or even people in your community or state), you can use My Maps to keep track of it.

15. Olympic or World Cup locations – In the years when these events take place, help students understand the history and tradition with My Maps. The place markers can be used to illustrate the games and, in the case of the Olympics, keep track of events that come and go.

Got a good idea for using My Maps? Send it to me. I’ll add it to this list (and give you full credit).