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Learning Activity: Label Mapping

Label Mapping

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!