I am happy to have finally put together my United States map work to add to our geography shelf. Many of my students have now completed continent maps and taken them home. What treasures they will be of their Montessori preschool experience! The one my little boy made is hanging downstairs in our "science lab" room, proudly displayed next to an animal kingdom work my oldest son made in his Montessori elementary classroom this fall.
It has been my intention all year to set up United States map work similar to how I set up my continent map work on the shelf. However, for a large chunk of the school year, no one was making US maps and I had plenty else to work on, so it hadn't gotten done. Recently, several of my second year students have started pin-punching their US maps. Until I set up the work I'm going to show you here, my assistants and I were having to always trace the various states on scraps of construction paper of the correct color which is very time-consuming and doesn't allow for much independence on the part of the child. So........this week I got going and prepared this activity for the shelf. It will now be a permanent activity in the geography area. And.........I have the perfect basket for this work that I found when thrifting last summer. It has been waiting patiently for me to get the work ready to add to it.
Below you can see the basket with colored envelopes in it. The envelopes were made using laminated construction paper folded in half. They are color-coded to correspond with the colors of the states on my US puzzle map. When a child wants to punch out a particular state, they find the correct envelope by color and take out the correct paper piece from the envelope.
I labelled each envelope on the outside with the names of the states it contains.
Inside the envelopes are the outlines of the states. To make these, I traced around each puzzle piece from my US puzzle map, tracing all pieces of the same color on one sheet. This created masters which I then copied on the corresponding color of copy paper. I have found that for map work copy or printer paper punches and perforates better than construction paper. Below you can see one of the "gray" state papers before it was cut apart and placed into the gray envelope.
The two photos below show a map that one of my students has been working on. We started with Iowa which is a centrally located state. After he punched it out, I helped him glue it near the center of the white oaktag. Then, using the US puzzle map as a guide, he selected adjacent states to punch out and glue. I assisted with correct placement and with writing the name of the state on the front with a black felt tip marker.
Here is a close-up of the same map. Some of the states shown here were punched from construction paper before I had the new set-up ready to go. However, my new system has already greatly increased the students' independence with this work. Now they can find the correct paper state to pin-punch without any help from a teacher.