Learning Activity: Label Mapping

Here's a simple way to bring home world-class lessons in the global economy.
Label Mapping

Andrew Greto

When my son, Joe, was in second grade, his very clever teacher introduced the concept of international trade by having students stand in a line, then check the tags in each other's collars and call out where each shirt came from. Our project takes this idea a step further by placing the labels -- as well as those for produce and other items your family buys -- on a map, but both exercises result in spirited discussions about how and why we're all connected to the wider world.

Set It Up:

Seek out a wall map that clearly shows the borders of countries. Keep a roll of removable poster tape on hand for securing labels. Stickers (such as those from fruit) can be attached without tape.

Tips for Success:

  • Build your collection: Take a moment before dinner for family members to present any labels found that day. Have your kids locate each nation on the map, then attach the label.
  • Flag the small nations: If a label is too large for its designated spot, stick the label in a nearby ocean and use an adhesive arrow flag as a pointer.
  • Look for lessons: Encourage your kids to talk about patterns they notice. Ask them to consider why a certain place produces a particular type of goods.
  • Make it a quest: See how many different nations you can "label" -- and don't be surprised if you find yourself at an international food store in search of products from Zambia!

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