Using the World Map within the National Curriculum

Using the world map within the prescribed national curriculum.


Unit 1 – “Making Connections”.

This is an excellent starting point for the use of the world map as it focuses on developing pupils Knowledge and understanding of places. Pupils can identify locations on the surface of the world map and consider some of the features and characteristics of selected sites. Pupils may begin by looking at the local context noting features and characteristics around their school and then consider broader aspects of life such as :-

  • Where in the World do we live ?
  • Where do we get our food from?
  • Where does chocolate come from?
  • Would you work for 10p an hour?
  • What foods will you eat in the future?
  • Would you prefer to live in Wales or Spain ?
  • Would you prefer to drive a Ferrari or a Morris Minor?
  • What sort of house would you aspire to live in?

These questions allow pupils to make connections to other parts of the world and also allow them to consider aspects of life that vary across the surface of the world.

The unit is intended as a transitional study that allows pupils to relate to their changing environment and development.

Unit 2 – “Geography loves sport”.

Sport is world wide and passion for it transcends national boundaries as well as inciting national pride. Pupils relate to world wide sport events such as The Olympic Games.

An accessory of 99 national flags is available, which pupils can identify and place on the map. This can be built into a game where the flag icons are redistributed several times allowing pupils to build up their recognition of national flags. A series of questions can build up pupil knowledge of the world and sport, for example:-

  • Which countries have hosted the Olympic Games?
  • What is the Six Nation Championship?
  • What is the Tri Nations Tournament?
  • Is Chelsea a London club?
  • What do you know about Premiership Teams?

Through these simple questions pupils are involved in consideration of location and identification of different nations across the world’s surface and to the concept of different hemispheres.

They should also realise that sporting clubs cross frontiers; for example Manchester United has a following of millions of people across the world and passion for this team unites fans across national boundaries. The communication possibilities offered in the C21st allow sporting fans to travel extensively to support their teams and these ‘ traveling armies’ have to have good knowledge and understanding of logistics to reach the games they wish to see

Unit 3 – “How can maps help me”?

Any map is an illustration; a visualisation of land masses and seas that allow man to use the world to his advantage.

Anyone can draw a map though two individuals may interpret journeys and areas in different ways. Today’s maps are more accurate than at any other times in the past and images from space allow us to create more exact illustrations than ever before. A flat map like that of the world floor map will have certain distortions because the earth is actually an elliptical sphere and when laying this out in a flat format some areas will stretch whilst some will shrink.

Pupils can use the world floor map to consider :-

  • Where in the world am I?
  • What are borders /what are countries?
  • How far do I hope to travel to work/ to holiday?

At the end of this unit pupils should have a clear idea of where their home country is in relation to the rest of the world; they should also have a limited appreciation of political borders and be able to recognise that borders and national boundaries can change. Their aspirations as travelers can be recognised on the world map and pupils might be able to identify characteristics that change as they travel; these might include language, diet , religion, government.

Unit 4 – “Are Swansea* and Cardiff* really that different”?  … *or of course, use any two towns near to your location.

On the world map Swansea and Cardiff will almost be indistinguishable because of the scale of the map (they can be individually identified on the Maxi Maps of Wales and that of the British Isles) -pupils can therefore see that these two cities are extremely close in terms of physical proximity, they share languages, are part of the same economy and have the same government.

Unit 5 – “Why do we get this weather”?

Pupils are introduced to different climatic types that they can identify across the world’s surface. Temperature icons can be used to mark in variations in temperature throughout the world. Influences on the weather can be considered and the effects of weather on lifestyle examined. Weather systems can be considered and explained in simple terms and marked on the floor map to illustrate that climatic variation is caused by physical conditions and factors.

Religious Education

Range of study.

The World

The origin and purpose of life; the relationship between the natural world, human beings, the natural world and living things. The floor map can be used to carry out a perception check of pupils’ knowledge of the world. Images of life across the world selected from magazines (The National Geographic) can be mounted and given to pupils to place on the world map.

Consideration of God and his work in seven days; the work of 7 days can be traced on the world map.

In examining the areas from which Darwin developed his theory of Origins of Species may develop the idea of theories evolving across space and time. Development in many areas has led to the creation of pollution sites and when identifying these pupils might consider the concept of sustainability and its possible impact on the world in future years. Again here the world floor map will allow pupil to actually identify the areas and consider the extent of damage being created to the world – this will lead to a consideration of how the impact can be lessened.

Human Experience

Human identity – behaviour, responsibility, values ,freedom. Which people originate from where? – concept of indigenous population and migration. In this context the world floor map can be usefully employed to show the location of various human identities and also to track the movement of peoples across the world’s surface. It can also help identify regions where individual freedom is a given right as opposed to a privilege not always afforded to all.

The floor map can also assist in considering natural resources and their exploitation by various peoples or individuals. This could tie up well with studies in both geography and history.

When considering natural resources we must consider that human life is the ultimate resource and examine the pressures put on certain peoples by ideologies such as apartheid and segregation. This study can lead on to the examination of the meaning and purpose of life.

Suffering has been a feature of development in many nations histories and still continues in areas of the world today- key areas which still display suffering can be identifies on the world map and the reasons for suffering can be identified and located on the floor map – natural and man made suffering can be distinguished and marked in different colour icons.

Belonging is an important feature of human life and here worship, celebration and festival activity can be identified on the floor map possibly accompanied by visual materials which will distinguish between attitudes to celebration and belief.

Authority and Influence.

Revelation is a major concept here and sites of revelation can be identified on the floor map for example Mecca, Mt Sinai etc..

The emergence of great leaders and their influence on the world is important and the birthplaces, areas of activity and key sites of interest can all be identified on the world map. Great leaders may be founders of movements or individuals who have made an impact on human life in a beneficial manner. Pupils should be able to see from locating key sites on the World Map that at different times individuals who had / have an impact or influence have come from most areas of the world at one time or another. By consulting with other departments it may be possible to identify common areas of study and correlate teaching thus enforcing knowledge.

Relationships and Responsibility.

Key ideas for study here involve issues of justice/ equality across the world’s surface. Regions of oppression and conflict may be identified  on the world floor map.

Journey of life.

Each individual has a life journey; some religions pinpoint places of pilgrimage which are extremely important to their followers, In certain parts of the world there are substantial ‘believer populations’ who place a high value on certain locations. These can all be located on the world floor map.

Search for Meaning

This concept examines how people express their ideas and display experiences of transcendent; for example accounts of religious experiences around the world – often accompanied by the establishment of shrines. This may also involve the experience of non material elements such as sacrifice, community, identity and examine diversity within and across religion.