Maths Maps – A New Collaborative Project

I am excited to introduce you to my new project idea that I hope will result in some engaging content for our classes. It is collaborative in the same way the Interesting Ways resources are and I will need your help to make it a success.

Elevator Pitch

  • Using Google Maps.
  • Maths activities in different places around the world.
  • One location, one maths topic, one map.
  • Activities explained in placemarks in Google Maps.
  • Placemarks geotagged to the maths it refers to. “How wide is this swimming pool?”
  • Teachers to contribute and share ideas.
  • Maps can be used as independent tasks or group activities in class.
  • Maps can be embedded on websites, blogs or wikis.
  • Tasks to be completed by students and recorded online or offline.

Some background

Four years ago I created Google Earth resources for the classroom and posted them to the GE Community Forum. Two of them were called Maths in Madrid and Maths in Las Vegas. These were based on the fact that there is maths all around us, every day, everywhere we look. Google Earth (and Maps) gives us a great perspective on it all. It also provides easy access for our students to see rich visual content that depicts everyday maths. I have always loved the idea of children seeing the maths they are working on.

The only issue with Google Earth is that it is restrictive in two ways. It is not browser based and it is impossible for me to create a resource for others to collaborate on.

Luckily Google Maps has caught up and using the collaborative features I can now invite other teachers and educators to help build on these resources. It is exciting to return to these old ideas and work on them with you all.

First Attempts

Earlier today I invited some people on Twitter to help me make a start and it was great to see loads of ideas added to the Maths in Madrid map I had generated, based on my original work. There were questions about shape, time, money, rotational symmetry, you name it! (Thanks to all those who helped!)

View Maths in Madrid in a larger map
Please don’t add to this map any more – see the Measures in Madrid map below.

The problem here is that although the ideas were organised under maths topics (see map) with different coloured pins, there was no distinction between age appropriateness. There would be too much to filter out for the teacher or student.

With help and direction from those collaborating, I took a simpler approach and created a Measures in Madrid map that collates maths ideas about the one topic. This time the placemark icons are used to distinguish which age group it is best for. See below.

I think this is much easier to use because the map is about one topic, but shows the grade/age level too. Many different maps can be created to cover lots of different maths topics.

Measures in Madrid – How can you contribute?

  1. Explore the map below for the ideas already added, follow the link to open it in a new window.
  2. Make sure you are signed in to your Google account.
  3. Click on EDIT in the left panel.
  4. Zoom close to the city and it’s surroundings. (Don’t forget Streetview)
  5. Find some MEASURES ideas you can see.
  6. Add a placemark (use the right colour for the age group it is best for – see purple pin)
  7. Explain the activity in the description.
  8. Change the title to show how many ideas there are.
  9. Send out a Tweet or write a blog post to highlight this resource and encourage others to contribute.

View 7 Measures Activities in Madrid in a larger map
There are endless amounts of maps we could make and once this one is up and running I will be highlighting some more. I will be embedding them all on the MATHS MAPS page of this blog too.

Please help by contributing just one placemark – let others know about the maps so we can gather lots of ideas.


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  3. Hi Garrod – I am pleased to hear you like the idea of creating a Google Maths Map. Unfortunately there are a few problems with Google Maps but I am sure they will settle down and get sorted. Please let me know if I can help at all with your own ideas. Good luck.

  4. Tom this is simply brilliant! I intend to try something similar in Bath to create a maths trail, and was toying with the idea of creating something virtually – this is definitely the way forward. Many thanks for sharing this fantastic idea!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I am pleased to hear you have found something useful – let me know what else
    I can help you with. I’d be happy to help.

  6. Wonderful idea! 🙂 I am a 1st year teacher in California, USA.  I have been researching classroom blogs and stumbled across your page.  My brain is on overload with what I have found, but I am so inspired.  Thanks for sharing.  I would love to able able to ask you some questions. 

  7. Not sure how Math maps works.  I click on one of these….where do I get a closer look at how many cars are parked?  My kids will ask me these qeustions…if they have problems clicking on these…great tasks but hard to navigate at first glance… I can work it out ….Daphne Grade 4 tr

    Last Updated by kvnmcl on Oct 31, 2009

    1. First make an estimate of how many cars are parked in this carpark. 2. Now count the number of cars.3. How many spaces are left in the carpark?4. What percentage of the car park is full? 

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  10. When I get time I'll definitely get my thinking cap on and start adding things to a map (new or existing). Personally at Secondary school I would avoid doing separate y7,8,9,10,11 codings, we have such a variety of ability in each year group. Our bright Y7 pupils are already better at Maths than our weaker Y11s. You could code by curriculum level, but that gets complex.

    How about a star system a bit like they use on ? – although there's is still split by keystage. Something like:

    * = National Curriculum levels 1-2
    ** = National Curriculum levels 3-4 (GCSE G-F)
    *** = National Curriculum levels 5-6 (GCSE E-D)
    **** = National Curriculum levels 7-8 (GCSE C-B)
    ***** = GCSE A-A*

  11. Thanks for your thoughts Dan – would happily add more colours and
    categories. Although do you think you would prefer a separate map to clearly
    categorise activities for your year groups? If so would you be interested in
    making a start with some activities for a map (could be on any maths topic,
    anywhere in the world) and I can post it here and make people aware of it
    too. Let me know.

    You are right that it would be good to include some resources relevant for
    other age groups.

    2009/11/1 Disqus <>

  12. Thanks for the comment Peter – as you can imagine there are heaps of places that could be used, maths is everywhere! I would like to continue to build a variety of maps in the same way as the Interesting Ways presentations. Will see how this one works out and then nudge people again for the next few.

    I will take the shapes questions from the first map effort out and use in a new map for Shapes in Madrid.

  13. Love the idea Tom. Can you use the same map and switch the location focus every now and again so over time you build up a 'world of measures' with different focused areas of the world? Just thinking that way you can use the inherent geographic information and people's knowledge of those areas.

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