This month’s book has my son studying his atlas and planning for a cross-country trip.
We read The Map Trap by Andrew Clements. It’s about a boy who adores maps and is being blackmailed by someone after making all sorts of really creative ones.
Of course, we had to do that.
After summarizing and discussing the book at length, we dove right in – with human body maps. We talked about caricatures and the boys drew themselves with either enlarged heads or torsos. Then they filled in that space with pictures – with either the things they think about or the foods they like to eat. Although drawing is not always their favorite activity, they were excited to create a new kind of map and got busy drawing right away.
Of course, they were even more excited to go geocaching like Alton from The Map Trap.
Each boy brought six pieces of swag that represented himself. We talked about signatures and labels and they marked each piece of their swag with their mark. Then we talked about bike safety and broke up into pairs.
The boys put on their helmets and packed their swag into bags and pockets and headed outside.
Earlier that day, I hid 6 bags containing simple swag items around our neighborhood. I also made maps of the neighborhood and overlaid a grid on top. Since we did not have enough GPS units for each group, we needed another way to simulate a geocaching activity, and this was it. I gave each team of boys a set of coordinates to mimic the latitude and longitude of a regular geocache target, and then each team examined a map to figure out where that was. They headed to their specific target to search for the swag bags.
Each bag was labeled with another set of coordinates. When the boys found a bag, they swapped out their swag for the swag inside and then memorized the new coordinates. They studied the map to find the new coordinates and took off again.
The boys loved this activity! They chased down caches for two hours – until they had found every single one. They worked well together in their teams and were generous with their swag. It was a super fun book, and there are many learning activities available to accompany it.
They’re also interested in reading more of Andrew Clements’ work. We’ll definitely be trying out more of them.
What are your kids reading this month?
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