Where in the world are you? How do you know? What does that look like?

I am talking about maps here, one of my favorite tried and true Mind Tools – they are a visual representation that makes a ton of data easier to understand and solve problems with. And now with free mapping tools, multimedia and mash ups there are some very interesting maps out there if you poke around a bit.

First kids need to understand how maps work. Here are a few games that teach map skills

Show World [http://show.mappingworlds.com/] – this world map lets you select the criteria and the map resizes to show relative amounts in different countries.

Visualize Election Results

Visualize Election Results

US Providential Election Map [http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/] – A state is not blue or red, these maps help us understand the how purple we are.

Atlas of our Changing Environment [http://na.unep.net/digital_atlas2/google.php] – Uses a google map overlay with before and after images that make environmental changes obvious, deforestation, dams, and climate change are made obvious to the eye.

Hunger Around the World [http://www.wfp.org/country_brief/hunger_map/map/hungermap_popup/index.swf] – How many people are starving in different countries around the world? Click and zoom to find out.

US Climate at a Glance [http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/cag3.html]: climate map from NOAA – this map will show departures from norm for temperature or rainfall for a time period you specify. You can also click the National link [http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html] to identify climate change trends.

Native American Tribes [http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/explorer/native_americans/be_an_explorer/map/read/be_an_explorer_skagit.htm] – Native American Tribes organized by clickable state map.