Friday, September 23, 2011

Curriculum Review: WonderMaps

Today, I am so excited to review a new geography resource offered by Timberdoodle. I'll be the first to admit when it comes time to look for maps to do geography it can be a real pain. It always seems as though I can't find a blank map or a map with the detail that I need. Enter WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press!!

Here are a few details about Wondermaps:
WonderMaps is a customizable collection of over 350 different maps. With nearly endless possibilities, WonderMaps makes it easy to regularly integrate map study into a variety of lessons and make the most of every learning opportunity.

WonderMaps is designed with easy-to-use layers that allow you to enjoy great customizable features with just a click. Select:

-historical or modern-day maps
-outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
-black-and-white or color maps
-features including: names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules

WonderMaps includes:

-60+ maps of the world
-60+ maps of the USA
-125+ historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
-The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History Vols. I & II
First, this was incredibly easy to download to my computer. After loading it I immediately went to the teacher resources and watched the tutorial. I also checked out the many resources that are offered, including MP3 workshops.

I then began to work my way through the collection of maps. I played with the layers feature picking a choosing what features I wanted on my map. I also was able to save the map with the layers I picked. For example, we are studying Marco Polo right now and I picked the Marco Polo map from the Middle Ages that is listed under the Historical Map section. Since I wanted my kids to fill in the countries and turned off the labels layer. Here is what was shown:

After printing it off I realized that Chantry, my 9 yr. old son, would have a hard time filling it in, so I enlarged it so it looked like this:

I was able to print the enlarged map off by choosing the "as shown" option in my printer screen. It was much easier for Chantry to fill in.

Wondermaps also has the Maps for The Mystery of History and All-American History. Since Caleb is using The Mystery of History III this is a wonderful feature and it is so much easier printing the map off the program than having to make a copy from the book.

We were also able to use WonderMaps as an atlas. Caleb was working on his map work for Mystery of History and couldn't find a certain city. So I opened the country he was working on and by turning a few layers off it made it easier to find the city. Many times the atlas page can be very overwhelming, especially when you don't have a clue where you are to look at.

Overall, I think WonderMaps is very user friendly and an excellent resource. Because of it's versatility it can be used to enhance any geography and history program. If you are looking for geography resources check out Timberdoodle's great selection.

Legal Disclosure:
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of WonderMaps in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

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