World building or map making is a great way to see how kids view the globe beyond America. With these activities you will be able to gage your students' preconceived notions on geography, cultures, stereotypes and concepts taught in class.
1. Fill in the Blanks
A typical exercise that tests a students knowledge on countries around the world. I like this map because it follows the shape of the circular globe while being flat. Once they finish see which continent that had the easiest time with and which the hardest. Discuss why some were easy and others were not and perhaps lead the next lesson on the continent with the least amount of knowledge.
2. Map Puzzle-
For younger kids I trace the world on a huge piece of construction paper and then cut it into easy-to-connect jig saw pieces. As a center activity I leave up a complete map and let them connect the pieces.
3. Make Your Own World Map-
This is a pretty flexible activity. You can use any book, subject or learning unit to see if students have retained the information by drawing a map. I leave the direction up to the child but I follow a script to guide them in thinking about their map.
Example: Our unit on narrative forms have shown us how different forms of expression have similarities and differences. Draw a literary map on styles that you deem necessary for a work to be beautiful. If you believe some styles overlap make sure they are neighboring countries. Explain, with examples, on why you believe some styles are necessary, similar to or different from each other to create your map.
4. Collaborative Map Building
This activity can continue any discussion regarding assumptions that one takes as truth. Have students draw a map of what they believe the school looks like. Give a tour of the building or section of the school and have students update their map. A writing prompt can be added to note similarities and differences before and after the tour. This can be done individually or in small groups. Great activity to apply to a variety of learning opportunities.