Friday, February 10, 2012

Visual Maps, Salt Dough Maps, Participatory Manipulatives

On a recent surf to - - I found an amazing example of visual mapping.  In a post on "The 11 Best Art and Design Books" by Maria Popova, a book by Paula Scher was reviewed.  The book titled, Paula Scher's MAPSdisplays 39 of her wonderful typograhicmaps in a large-format volume.  Scher's maps are " remarkable, obsessive, giant hand-painted typographicmaps of the world as she sees it, covering everything from specific countries and continents to cultural phenomena," according to Popova.
To me, this is a beautiful example of a mind map gone crazy!  To Scher, this map would make perfect sense.  The connections, HER connections, are visible in the map.  Although amazing to look at, these maps would not hold the same meaning to each of us as they do to her.  To make similar connections, we would each need to make our own typograhicmap. NOT a bad idea!
I remember making "salt maps" as a kid as a homework project in primary school.  They were especially helpful in the understanding of the world and its geography.  In my opinion, it is one of the best examples of Participatory Manipulatives.  In our family, everyone got into the act - Mom helped to measure and mix the ingredients.  Dad helped get the board ready to put it on and looked the information for the countries up in the Britannica Encyclopedia.  Brothers and sisters either helped or hindered depending on the mood of the day.  But ALL were involved.  This is the beauty of Physical Webbing and the use of Participatory Manipulatives.  Total involvement of all the senses (especially the physical/kinesthetic = hands) in the learning process will result in greater retention and therefore, greater learning.  A great website showing how to make a salt dough map is HERE.  Recipe for making salt dough maps.

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