Do you like maps? Boy, I sure do … there’s something about looking over all the outlines, colors, and labels that carries me away to distant and fascinating places. My own ‘weirdness’ aside, maps are a wonderful and very necessary tool for teaching our children about nations past and present.
I was very excited to get the chance to review a new product from Knowledge Quest – TimeMaps, the Maps that Move Through Time! These interactive maps use Flash to show how borders, settlements, and other features change and move over time.
The complete Collection includes seven map sets:
- Ancient China
- The Rise of the Roman Empire
- The Fall of the Roman Empire
- The Rise of Islam
- The Black Death
- European Exploration and Discovery
- The Atlantic Slave Trade
When a map is opened, the area is labeled with regions, cities, and other important information. In the upper right is the year represented by the map. Using arrows, the year can be changed, and the map changes accordingly. The color-coding and labels change, and brief animations show the movement of people groups or major events.
For example, take a look at the difference in the Roman Empire between 406 and 454 A.D.
On each map, clicking “i” brings up a display box with information about that particular time in history. This section gives a nice overview of the time and briefly explains events that have caused changes since the previous map. Small graphics of buildings and people appear when the information box is visible – these graphics help clarify the locations of events.
On some maps, small icons appear in various spots when the information box is visible. Clicking on each of these gives additional information about the location. This was especially interesting to me on the maps showing the progression of the Black Plague where I learned that portions of Eastern Europe and Tibet escaped the plague because of their sparse populations and terrain. (I had wondered how most of Poland managed to avoid the Black Plague!)
Clicking “Q” brings up a list of questions about that particular map. The information and question boxes can be viewed at the same time or separately, which means you could use the questions as a quiz or for review.
Each map set comes with Teacher Notes in PDF that include an introduction, activity suggestions, and commentary on maps (which expands on the material in the information boxes). Also included are a printable blank timeline for your student to fill out and printable maps in both color and blackline.
I’m loving how TimeMaps enhances our regular studies. We’re studying the Middle Ages right now, and my oldest son (age 11) spends time looking at the maps, comparing the changes over time, and reading the information. I’m using the activity suggestions mostly as discussion ideas for now. Older students could certainly do the activities and writing exercises independently.
TimeMaps is available for both Mac and Windows computers. Each downloadable map set can be purchased separately for just $8.95, or the entire Collection can be purchased as a download for $39.95 or on CD-ROM for $42.95 plus S&H.
One Hip Homeschool Moms reader will win the TimeMaps Collection on CD-ROM!
(retail value $42.95)