Find It On A Map

by John Riggio

Can you read a map? We're not just talking about the GPS on your phone, although that's very helpful. Can you look at a map of your country, state, county, territory, province, or city and know where things are? To read a map, we need to understand where places and things are in relationship to one another – to think spatially. According to the Apple dictionary app version 2.2.1, spatially is an adverb that means "in a way that relates to space and the position, area, and size of things within it." This song lists many places and things, all of which can be located on a map.

This song may seem a bit challenging vocally due to the rhythms involved. When you list a lot of places, you need a lot of rhythms to say them! But a listen or two to the recording will help your singers learn more quickly.

It's also interesting to note how the feel of the chorus (bar 25) changes between the first and second time it's sung. The first time at bar 25 is halftime, where the snare drum hits on beat 3 of every measure, but the second time is regular time, where the snare drum hits on beat 2 and 4 of every measure. This is a useful musical concept to teach your students.

This a cross curricular song, so your school's science or geography teacher would likely approve. So what can you do with a knowledge of map reading? Plenty of things. There are jobs in cartography, town and regional planning, environmental consulting, geographic information systems, and more. Of course, map reading is pretty useful in everyday life as well, like using your phone's GPS. As your students get older and begin to choose career paths, it's good to expose them to different skills, like reading a map!

Another way to use this song would be during your school's celebration of Earth Day. Any song that features a global theme is appropriate, and knowing your way around that globe is definitely in keeping with the spirit of the subject. As you perform it, consider having a projection of some of the places mentioned in the song. Or have a giant map of the world where students can point to the locations as they are mentioned, thereby demonstrating their map reading skills to the audience as well.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.