Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vintage Skill: Map Reading

I love a road trip! Recently I was traveling the back roads of North Carolina and my GPS wasn't telling me what I needed to know. So, I stopped at a gas station to purchase a paper map. Low and behold, I was REALLY surprised they didn't carry one single map in the store.
Thankfully, I had couple east coast maps, including a book of maps in my vehicle. It dawned on me that we have become so dependent on technology, that paper maps are becoming extinct to a degree. I also realized that this is a skill that we aren't teaching to our children. Now I am determined to teach my grandchildren the art of map reading. 

Over the years, I have traveled by car to a lot of places. When my son was about 5, I started teaching him how to read a map. Actually it started out as a way to keep him occupied - this is way before children had Game Boys and phones. It also required him to figure out the answer to "are we there yet?". Because he was in charge of locating where we were AND how far it was to our destination. We made a game of map reading. 
North/South East/West: One of the first things he learned is that North/South roads were always designated by an odd number (I-95) and East/West roads are even numbers (I-70, I-66). Roads that circled around cities were roads like 295, 495, 395.
Mileage Markers: My son was always good at math. We would determine how many miles the road was across the state and then used the mileage markers to determine how far we had come or how far we were from the state border. he was way better at this than I was.
Name the States: This was a game he came up with. He would name a letter and I had to come up with the state names that began with the letter. Then I would give him a letter.

Biological GPS: Well,  we didn't have a GPS so I would have him determine what our next maneuver would the next road was I-81, his job was to track that road by road signs and keep me posted on when it was coming up and when to get ready to turn off.
These are just a few ideas for games we actually played when traveling. It made our road trips go a lot faster and I don't think he ever asked me "Are we there yet?"
So, buy a road map and make traveling a fun learning experience. 

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