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How To Design A Map Quiz That Even A Cartographer Would Love

By Brian Fong

Q. How can I design an interesting map quiz?

A. You can't. At least you can't if you intend to design a map quiz where you draw some geographical areas and then ask "Where is South America?". While that would definitely qualify as a map quiz, it wouldn't make the grade of an "interesting" map quiz.

There is a thin line between geography quiz and map quiz. Once you cross that line, and get away from the simple geography, you can make a map quiz downright interesting.

For example, you might design a map quiz that asks questions about how maps are actually made. A lot of people don't realize the magic that is needed to represent a round world on a flat piece of paper. Questions along this line could be very enlightening.

Another great set of map quiz questions could deal with how to navigate a ship using charts and a pair of dividers. You could ask them to determine how many nautical miles it is between two points.

Maybe you'd like to combine a map quiz with a scavenger or treasure hunt. Bury something valuable somewhere and then create treasure maps. The map quiz could ask questions that can only be answered by reading the map. As each question gets answered the person gets closer to finding the prize.

Another great idea would be to present a complex problem that has to be solved by being able to read and understand a map thoroughly. Here's an example:

You have 10 days vacation and decide to take a car trip around the United States.

You can drive no more than 10 hours per day and you can drive no faster than 55 miles per hour.

Your trip must start and end in the same State. Other than that, you may not visit any state more than once.

You must exit a state at the opposite border that you entered it from. For example, if you entered a state from the North, you must exit from the South. if you entered from the Northeast, you must exit from the Southwest.

At the end of each 10 hour period you must spend the night (14 hours) in a town or city whose name contains the letter "e".

Using the map, mark your daily route, including the number of miles driven, and circle the name of the town or city that you spent the night in. Be sure to write the day # as well.

The person who visits the most states in the 10 day period wins.

That ought to be a map quiz that will be remembered for some time to come.

Remember, a map quiz doesn't have to be dull and boring; use your imagination to develop a map quiz that challenges and stimulates.

About The Author
Brian Fong

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