Cartography and Children

Children's Mental Thinking

4105.3 - Teaching Spatial Thinking with the National Atlas of Korea in U.S. Secondary Level Education

Tuesday, July 4
9:10 AM - 9:30 AM
Location: Virginia C

This paper is predicated on the body of literature that supports a theoretical concept that middle and high school age children possess the cognitive ability to understand thematic maps and achieve some degree of cartographic literacy. In 2006, the US National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies published a landmark book on Learning to Think Spatially. This book documented essential secondary education components and various aspects of teaching spatial thinking. The NRC defines spatial thinking as “a form of thinking based on a constructive amalgam of three elements: concepts of space, tools of representation, and processes of reasoning” (NRC, 2006, ix). This paper is an attempt to document and understand some of the attributes associated with these three elements. Specifically, it aims to find ways that can effectively contribute to the teaching of these elements associated with spatial thinking. The National Atlas of Korea is chosen for lesson plan development because it is well-designed and provides a range of contents and comprehensiveness that are ideal; in addition, it is freely accessible online and downloadable ( Four master geography teachers were invited to examine the Atlas to conceive and develop Advanced Placement Human Geography (APHG) lesson plans. Four lesson plans were written and have continually been implemented in classrooms to over 800 students in the States of Utah, Georgia, Minnesota, and Tennessee since the 2015 Fall semester. Results are presented in this paper.

Gregory H. Chu

Professor Emeritus
Dept of Geography/Earth Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Gregory Chu received PhD degree in Geography from University of Hawaii-Manoa, 1986; was Professor and Chair of Department of Geography/Earth Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; Program Director of Geography and Regional Science at US National Science Foundation (2003-2005); Director of the Cartography Labs at the University of Minnesota (1981-1994), the East West Center (Honolulu, 1974-1981), and University of Kansas (1974-75). He is lead author of two textbooks, myWorldGeography and Contemporary World Cultures. He served as Editor of Focus on Geography (American Geographical Society, 2002-2009) and on the Board of Directors, North American Cartographic Information Society.


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Chul Sue Hwang

Dept. of Geography, Kyung Hee University

Chul Sue Hwang is professor of Geography at the Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. His research interests focus on the usage of digital mapping systems, the national atlas, and spatial cognition. He has led The National Atlas of Korea Project sponsored by the Korean government since 2006. He is the first geographer awarded the National Academic Service Merit Medal by the Korean government for his work on The National Atlas of Korea. He is a recipient of the Certificate of Merit in 2008 and the Certificate of Academic Appreciation in 2014 from the Korean Geographical Society.


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Jongnam Choi

Dept. of Geography, Western Illinois University

Jongnam Choi is Professor of Geography at Western Illinois University specializing in meteorology, paleoclimatology, biogeography, and environmental sciences. He is an editor of The Geography of Korea, The Geography of Dokdo, and The National Atlas of Korea. His research interests emerge at the intersection of climate, weather, and human well-being. His recent research project includes climate changes in the Northeast Asia and vegetation change in the Korean peninsula. He recently extends his scope to geographic education.


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José Jesús Reyes Nunez

Associate Professor
Eotvos Lorand University, Faculty of Informatics, Dept. of Cartography and Geoinformatics

José Jesús Reyes Nunez is Associate Professor at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. His research interests lie in Cartography for Children, Geovisualization, GIS-based Cartography, Web Cartography and Pre-columbian Cartography. Author of more than 20 articles in scientific publications and more than 50 papers in different events. Responsible for the organization of the Barbara Petchenik Map Competition in Hungary from 1999 and President of the International Jury in 2005 and 2007. He was Chair of the ICA Commission on Cartography and Children from 2007 to 2015, currently Vice-Chair . ICA awarded him with the Diploma for Outstandings Services in 2015.


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4105.3 - Teaching Spatial Thinking with the National Atlas of Korea in U.S. Secondary Level Education

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