Woodland Mapping

Submitted by: Hannah Hobbs
Grade level: elementary,ece,middle-years
Core Competencies: communication,creative-thinking,critical-thinking,positive-personal-and-cultural-identity,social-responsibility
Subject Disciplines: applied-skills,geography,indigenous-education,outdoor-education

Woodland Mapping…a background: This activity is based on building a stronger connection to the natural place you are learning in. There is a focus on teamwork, using relationship skills and social awareness to drive the learning. Working in smaller groups whilst doing an activity such as woodland mapping encourages children to create an even stronger bond both with each other and the environment, and heightens the promotion of decision making, social awareness and relationship building. 

This session has strong foundations in place-based education and developing a connection with a place.  By visually representing the place with found objects, connections are made, awareness of place is developed and children have awareness of emotional attachments that can be created with people and place. An element of responsible decision making is required as children carefully select an object to take back to the group that represents their section in the map circle.

Woodland Mapping allows children to understand and connect to their place, but more importantly, at the heart of place-based education is the notion of a commitment to the community, space, its history and its future. By reflecting on the visual representation of the space, children are able to make these connections and develop social awareness through authentic and meaningful experiences.

The session:

As a group, think about why we might need a map of a place. How does it help us? What does a map tell you? How do you think a map of our woodland might look like?

Look and see. Take a moment to look around us, what can you see? We are going to create our map by using sticks and creating a map circle.

Stick challenge! Can you search for 1 stick that’s the size of your arm, and one stick that’s shorter than your arm to create our map circle?

Make a stick circle. Use the sticks collected to make a woodland map circle together (similar to the photo).

Choose a section of the circle to sit next to- this will be the part of the map you mark and record. Keep referring back to any wonderings that arose.

Take it in turns to pace out 5/10 then 15 steps from your section outwards into the forest. At the end of each ‘steps’, pick up 2 objects that represent that spot and place them in the circle.

Start by placing your ‘5 step’ objects in the centre, then add your 10/15 gradually moving towards the edge of the circle. Once you have completed all steps, you will have created a visual map of your section of the forest. Repeat with all sections and you have created a visual map of your entire surroundings!

Reflection: What does our woodland map tell us about the place we are in?

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