How to Use Cartography to Learn Geography

  • Cartography [ kahr-tog-ruh-fee ] noun 1. the science and art of making maps
  • Geography [ jee-og-ruh-fee ] noun 1. the science dealing with the areal differentiation of the earth’s surface

So “Cartography for Geography” is where we create/draw maps in order to learn about the earth’s surface.

Drawing maps is such a great way to learn geography. It combines visual and kinesthetic activities while helping a student notice details. You don’t have to produce a beautiful map in order to learn the shapes of places or their names. The goal is just to learn!

It’s easy- I promise! Let me show you.

Drawing in Cartography

How to Succeed with Cartography

I’ve been writing about working through a cartography class with my son in his 7th-grade year and I highly encourage you to check out those posts:

Drawing in Challenge: How to Avoid Tears and Enjoy Learning– The 5 main challenges most students face with trying to draw maps in Cartography and how to address them.

5 Practical Tools for Drawing Maps– The 5 ways you can approach the art and science of drawing maps.

How to Set up a Community Map Challenge- I did this when I directed a Classical Conversations Foundations (K-6th grade) community and we all traced maps all week long. It was GREAT preparation for Cartography!

boy holding hand drawn map

Draw to Memorize the World

To help you and your students use cartography to learn geography, I’m creating a series of digital downloads you can print with step-by-step drawings of each of the maps we’ll be drawing this year in our Classical Conversations Challenge A Cartography class.

(References to Classical Conversations do not constitute or imply endorsement by the company.)

As I’m creating these I’m looking for feedback and suggestions! Please let me know what’s most helpful to you and your students!

  • Anyone Can Draw Asia (coming soon)
  • Anyone Can Draw Northern Africa (coming soon)
  • Anyone Can Draw Southern Africa (coming soon)
  • Anyone Can Draw Oceania & Antarctica (coming soon)

Be sure to join my email list to be notified when the next one is ready!


Other Cartography Resources


What’s been your experience with map making? Got any tips you want to share? Let me know on Facebook or via email: julie (at) RidgeLightRanch.com

Cartography class

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