A lesson in mapmaking (and so much more!)

When a fourth grader told me “The Gambia is a big country,” I knew I had to do something. Since I can’t take Gambians around the world, I decided to bring the world to Gambians! Using a Peace Corps manual, we created a giant world map in our library.

Our new library

Our new library

We learned that The Gambia is actually really small and a whole lot of other things along the way:

  • Drawing 1,568 squares is even harder than it sounds.
  • Footballer Lionel Messi is from Argentina.
  • Antarctica is cold.
  • America and The United States are the same place.
  • Europe and America, formerly known in The Gambia as “Toubabadoo,” are not the same place.
  • North and South America are two different continents.
  • Red and pink are two different colors.
  • Don’t work on an empty stomach.
  • Kids can help too! You just have to teach them.
  • People live in the middle of the ocean (on islands).
  • How to measure with a ruler.
  • Multiples of six.
  • How to draw to scale.
  • The United States of America is not the biggest country.
  • Portugal (where footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is from) is in Europe.
  • Spain (home to football teams Barcelona and Real Madrid) is next to Portugal.
  • The meaning of north, south, east and west in English.
  • Painting the borders is hard.
  • Everybody makes mistakes. And that’s okay.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Teamwork.
  • The world is big!
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We did it!

 

–JDF

To see the step-by-step process of how we made our map, click here.