Mapping Who We Are
A simple mapping activity that encourages learners to think about the places that determine who we are.
KEY QUESTION: How is space important to who we are?
This is a mapping activity that uses the idea of space to explore who we are. It can be done remotely using a map of wherever you are (physical or via the web) or could equally be done as an out of classroom activity as a mini-field trip.
1. Obtain a map of your locality. The type of map you choose will depend on where you are. A city-based school will likely have a different map to a rural based one where learners come from further afield. The scale of the map should be good enough to identify features or spaces that inform who we are. These features might include:
- Places of worship
- Parks or playgrounds
- Community Centres
- Leisure facilities
- Shopping Centres
- Municipal(Public) buildings
- Natural features (river or hill for example)
A good scale Ordnance Survey map or Google Maps (see link) might be sufficient for this, but you may also find better detail maps locally through tourist or local council routes. Many towns/villages produce locally available map and estate agents or newsagents can be a good place to pick these up.
2. Ask the learners to work in groups and study the map to identify the different places they use. Point out that they will have some places in common and some that are different and encourage them to tell each other about them. As well as where they go to school and live, this might include where they play, where people in their family work, where they go to clubs or to pray, where they shop, where they hang out. They could draw a rough map of the places that are important to them on large paper. They could develop a key for these spaces, perhaps using icons. The image above shows an example of such a map from the book ‘Teach Your Granny To Text’ by the organisation We Are What We Do. You can find a great map to display on the We Are What We Do web site.
3. Once they have done the spaces that say something about who they are ask them to look at their maps together and talk to each other about the community spaces that might be important for other groups of people. They could add these onto the map maybe in another colour. This could include bowls club as opposed to the skate ramp for example. They may like to adapt the key for their map to show how the same/different spaces contribute to the shared identity of other groups of people.
4. When completed, learners should discuss what they have found. They might like to think about the most important spaces to who they are. They might like to comment on the spaces that different groups have in common – are there universal spaces? Finally they might like to reflect on how important the spaces around them are in making up who they are. How might who they are be different if they lived somewhere else?