Curious Kid Podcast

Curious About Maps

February 21, 2021 Olivia Season 5 Episode 125
Curious Kid Podcast
Curious About Maps
Show Notes Transcript

KIDS LISTEN ACTIVITY PODCAST SPECIAL:  In episode 125, we learn about maps for Cole of Toronto, Canada.  Why do we need maps?  Why is making a map of earth so difficult?  What is the most expensive map in the world and why is it so expensive? 

After listening to this episode, try to create your own map of your neighborhood using some of the things you learned in the podcast.

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PODCAST 125: CURIOUS ABOUT MAPS
RELEASE DATE:  FEBRUARY 21ST, 2021

Hello and welcome to the Kids Listen Activity Podcast, where listening leads to learning.

A weekly show from your friends at Kids Listen, a group of awesome podcasts for kids.

Each week, we bring you a different podcast and an activity based on the episode - to listen, learn, and have some fun.

I’m Jacob from Curious Kid Podcast.  Curious Kid Podcast is a weekly educational podcast for kids and curious grown ups.  Every week, we get curious about a different topic, and all of our topics are suggestions that come from our listeners.  We have 125 episodes, and counting, for you to enjoy.  

Today, we’re sharing our episode Curious About Maps. 

In this episode, we will learn about this history of maps, why maps are so helpful, and some fun and interesting facts about maps.

After you listen, we’ll share a special activity based on the episode.  You can find a link to those materials in the show notes.

Now let’s get started with Curious About Maps.   


D:  HELLO, AND WELCOME BACK TO THE CURIOUS KID PODCAST.  WE HAD SO MUCH FUN GETTING CURIOUS FOR A LISTENER IN CANADA LAST WEEK, THAT WE ARE HEADED BACK TO CANADA THIS WEEK FOR ANOTHER FUN LISTENER SUGGESTION.

O:  MAILBAG!

D:  MAILBAG!

“HI OLIVIA AND HER DADDY, 
COLE, WHO LISTENS TO EVERY NEW SHOW WHEN HE GOES TO BED, WAS EXCITED TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR TORONTO SHOUTOUT.  COLE TELLS ME HE’S INTERESTED IN HEARING YOU TALK ABOUT STREETCARS, MAPS, AND BUSES.  THANKS SO MUCH!!

FROM COLE & ROB OF TORONTO” 

O:  THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE E-MAIL, COLE.  YOU HAVE SOME GREAT SUGGESTIONS.  

D:  THIS IS USUALLY WHEN I WOULD ASK OLIVIA TO TELL US WHICH ONE OF HIS SUGGESTIONS WE ARE GETTING CURIOUS ABOUT THIS WEEK.  IN A SPECIAL SURPRISE, WE HAVE A MESSAGE FROM COLE HIMSELF THAT WILL REVEAL THE TOPIC FOR THIS WEEK’S EPISODE.   

C:  ———————————————————————————————.

D:  THAT WAS FANTASTIC.  WE ARE GOING TO LEARN ALL ABOUT MAPS FOR COLE THIS WEEK.  MAPS HAVE CHANGED A LOT SINCE MY CHILDHOOD.  BACK WHEN I WAS OLIVIA’S AGE, MY PARENTS HAD THESE GIGANTIC MAPS THAT THEY KEPT IN THE CAR GLOVE COMPARTMENT.  WHEN THE MAPS WERE ALL FOLDED UP, THEY WERE ABOUT THE SIZE OF A REALLY SMALL PAPERBACK BOOK.  MY DAD WOULD BE DRIVING THE CAR, AND HE WOULD ASK MY MOM TO GRAB THE MAP AND GIVE HIM SOME DIRECTION.  MY MOM WOULD UNFOLD THE MAP UNTIL IT WAS ALMOST BIG ENOUGH TO COVER THE ENTIRE WINDSHIELD.  USUALLY, BY THE TIME SHE DISCOVERED WHERE WE SHOULD BE HEADED, MY DAD HAD ALREADY PASSED THE EXIT WE NEEDED TO TAKE.  THEN, MY MOM WOULD SPEND THE NEXT 20 MINUTES OR SO TRYING TO FOLD THE MAP BACK UP TO RETURN IT TO THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT.  AND, THAT WAS JUST THE MAP OF NEW YORK.  IF WE LEFT NEW YORK, WHICH WE DID OFTEN, WE NEEDED OTHER MAPS FOR THOSE STATES AS WELL.

O:  WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST USE A G.P.S. INSTEAD?  IT’S SO EASY.  JUST GIVE IT THE ADDRESS, AND IT TELLS YOU WHERE TO GO.

D:  WELL, THAT’S BECAUSE G.P.S. DIDN’T EXIST BACK THEN. THE TECHNOLOGY FOR G.P.S. STARTED BACK IN THE 1990’S, BUT THEY WEREN’T WIDELY USED UNTIL MORE RECENTLY.  A G.P.S. IS A COMPUTER THAT HAS MAPS ON IT AND CAN GIVE YOU THE DIRECTIONS FOR WHERE YOU ARE TRYING TO GET TO, ALSO CALLED YOUR DESTINATION.  

O:  THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS, WHAT DO THE LETTERS G.P.S. STAND FOR?

D:  BEFORE WE LEARN MORE ABOUT G.P.S., LET’S GO BACK IN TIME AND LEARN A BIT ABOUT THE HISTORY OF MAPS.

O:  MAPS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, AND FOR MOST OF THAT TIME, THEY WERE DRAWN OR PAINTED BY HAND.  

D:  THERE WERE SO MANY CHALLENGES TO DRAWING MAPS THOUSANDS, OR EVEN HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO.  

O:  THAT’S BECAUSE THERE WERE PARTS OF THE EARTH THAT HADN’T EVEN BEEN DISCOVERED YET.

D:  THAT’S TRUE, EVEN TODAY.  THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE THAT MAKES IT REALLY HARD TO MAKE AN ACCURATE MAP.

O:  THE EARTH IS ROUND AND MAPS ARE FLAT.

D:  THAT PRESENTS A BIG CHALLENGE.  PICTURE IT THIS WAY.  LET’S SAY YOU HAVE A BALL YOU LOVE TO PLAY WITH, AND IT HAS LOTS OF DETAILS ON IT.  IN OUR HOUSE, WE HAVE A BALL THAT NOAH LOVES.  IT HAS CONSTRUCTION TRUCKS ON IT AND CONSTRUCTION CONES.  NOW, IMAGINE TRYING TO DRAW ALL THE DETAILS OF THE BALL ON A PIECE OF PAPER, BUT IT HAS TO BE DRAWN IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU DON’T MISS ANY DETAILS OR DISTORT ANY OF THE DETAILS SO THEY LOOK ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY DO ON THE BALL.  IT’S ACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR A FLAT MAP TO PERFECTLY SHOW A ROUND EARTH ACCURATELY. 

O:  BUT, CAN’T YOU SOLVE THAT PROBLEM IF YOU HAVE A GLOBE INSTEAD OF A MAP?

D:  YOU CAN SHOW THE EARTH MORE ACCURATELY ON A GLOBE, BUT EVEN GLOBES AREN’T PERFECT.

O:  THAT’S BECAUSE THE EARTH IS NOT PERFECTLY ROUND.  

D:  THAT’S RIGHT.  THE EARTH ACTUALLY RESEMBLES A PUMPKIN BECAUSE IT IS A BIT FLATTER BY THE NORTH AND SOUTH POLES.  

O:  THIS ALL MEANS THAT MAPMAKERS, ALSO CALLED CARTOGRAPHERS, HAVE BIG CHALLENGES WHEN THEY ARE MAKING MAPS.

D:  THEY SURE DO.  MAKING A MAP IS NOT EASY WORK, BUT MAPS ARE SO IMPORTANT.  BESIDES THE OBVIOUS VALUE OF MAPS, WHICH IS TO HELP US GET FROM PLACE TO PLACE, MAPS HAVE SO MANY OTHER IMPORTANT PURPOSES.

O:  THEY ARE REALLY HELPFUL IN LEARNING GEOGRAPHY.  

D:  I REMEMBER LEARNING GEOGRAPHY IN SCHOOL.  WE WERE GIVEN JIGSAW PUZZLES OF THE UNITED STATES SO WE CAN LEARN WHERE ALL THE STATES ARE.  JIGSAW PUZZLES WERE ACTUALLY INVENTED TO TEACH GEOGRAPHY.  THEY WERE INVENTED IN THE LATE 1700’S AND FOR MANY, MANY YEARS, THE ONLY JIGSAW PUZZLES YOU COULD FIND WERE OF MAPS.  

O:  MAPS ALSO MAKE IT EASIER TO LEARN COMPLICATED INFORMATION.  

D:  SO, LET’S SAY YOU WANTED TO LEARN HOW BIG DIFFERENT COUNTRIES ARE.  GO AHEAD OLIVIA, ASK ME A QUESTION.

O:  HOW BIG ARE THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AND MEXICO?

D:  SO, I CAN TELL OLIVIA THAT CANADA IS 3,855,100 SQUARE FEET, THAT MEXICO IS 758,449 SQUARE FEET, AND THAT THE UNITED STATES IS 3,805,943 SQUARE FEET, BUT THAT INFORMATION MIGHT BE CONFUSING.  INSTEAD OF DOING THAT, I COULD SHOW OLIVIA A MAP.

O:  BY LOOKING AT THE MAP, I CAN SEE THAT CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE ABOUT THE SAME SIZE, BUT MEXICO IS A LOT SMALLER THAN BOTH OF THEM.

D:  AND ALL OF THAT INFORMATION IS CORRECT.  BUT, YOU PROBABLY ALSO NOTICED SOMETHING ELSE BY LOOKING AT THE MAP.  YOU WOULD SEE THAT THE UNITED STATES BORDERS CANADA AND MEXICO, MEANING THAT THEY ARE ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER, WITH CANADA TO THE NORTH AND MEXICO TO THE SOUTH OF THE UNITED STATES.  THAT’S INFORMATION YOU WOULDN’T HAVE PICKED UP IF I JUST GAVE YOU THE SIZE OF EACH COUNTRY IN SQUARE FEET. 

O:  I LOVE LOOKING AT WEATHER MAPS TO SEE WHEN IT’S GOING TO RAIN OR SNOW.

D:  OLIVIA HAS BEEN FREQUENTLY ASKING ME TO SEE RADAR MAPS ON MY PHONE.  IT SHOWS PRECIPITATION IN THE AREA, SO SHE CAN SEE IF WE CAN EXPECT RAIN OR SNOW.  NOT ONLY THAT!  IT USES COLORS TO SHOW HOW INTENSE THE RAIN OR SNOW WILL BE.  

O:  IN JUST SECONDS, I CAN LEARN SO MUCH ABOUT THE FORECASTED WEATHER JUST BY LOOKING AT A MAP.  

D:  THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT MAPS OUT THERE THAT SHOW SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS, BUT MANY OF THEM FOLLOW SOME OF THE SAME RULES.

O:  STARS ARE USED TO SHOW YOU WHERE CAPITALS ARE LOCATED.

D:  TRENTON IS THE CAPITAL OF NEW JERSEY, THE STATE OLIVIA AND I LIVE IN.  IF WE HAD A MAP OF NEW JERSEY, YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND A STAR WHERE TRENTON IS, TO SHOW THAT IT IS A CAPITAL CITY.  

O:  THE SYMBOL FOR A HOSPITAL IS A WHITE LETTER “H” WITH A BLUE BACKGROUND.

D:  WHEN YOU NEED TO LOCATE A HOSPITAL, IT’S USUALLY NOT A GOOD THING IF YOU HAVE TO STRUGGLE TO FIND ONE ON A MAP.  THAT’S WHY HOSPITALS ARE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE LETTER “H”.  

O:  OCEANS AND LAKES ARE BLUE.

D:  THAT’S PRETTY STANDARD.  THE FIRST THING YOU’LL PROBABLY NOTICE WHEN LOOKING AT A MAP IS THAT LAND WILL BE COLORED GREEN OR BROWN, AND BODIES OF WATER LIKE OCEANS WILL BE BLUE.  

O:  MAPS ALSO HAVE LEGENDS AND SCALES.

D:  A LEGEND EXPLAINS WHAT ALL OF THE DIFFERENT SYMBOLS ON THE MAP MEAN.  THE PURPOSE OF A SCALE IS TO COMPARE THE SIZE OF AREAS ON THE MAP WITH THE SIZE OF AREAS IN REALITY.  SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THE SCALE MIGHT SHOW YOU THAT EVERY INCH ON THE MAP IS THE SAME AS 100 MILES IN THE REAL WORLD.  LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.  OUR E-MAIL THIS WEEK CAME FROM A LISTENER IN TORONTO, AND THE ONE LAST WEEK CAME FROM A LISTENER IN OTTAWA.  I WANT TO KNOW THE DISTANCE BETWEEN TORONTO AND OTTAWA.  LET’S SAY A I HAVE A MAP HANDY, AND THE SCALE ON THE MAP SHOWS THAT EVERY INCH REPRESENTS 100 MILES.  THE NEXT STEP WOULD BE TO MEASURE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN OTTAWA AND TORONTO ON THE MAP.  I SEE THAT THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE 2 CITIES ON THE MAP IS A LITTLE MORE THAN 2 INCHES.  

O:  THAT WOULD MEAN THAT THE ACTUAL DISTANCE BETWEEN TORONTO AND OTTAWA IS A LITTLE MORE THAN 200 MILES.  

D:  BINGO, GREAT JOB.  SO, EVEN THOUGH MAPS CAN BE VERY DIFFERENT, THERE ARE USUALLY A FEW THINGS THEY HAVE IN COMMON, LIKE WATER IS BLUE, THE SAME SYMBOLS FOR THINGS LIKE CAPITALS AND HOSPITALS, AS WELL AS LEGENDS AND SCALES TO HELP YOU READ THE MAP.  

O:  MAPS ARE REALLY HARD TO MAKE, SO CARTOGRAPHERS SOMETIMES USE OLDER MAPS TO HELP THEM. 

D:  THAT MAKES SENSE… THERE ARE SO MANY MAPS OUT THERE.  RATHER THAN STARTING FROM SCRATCH, I CAN JUST USE A MAP THAT ALREADY EXISTS TO HELP ME MAKE MY OWN.  WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT?

O:  WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT IS THAT NOBODY LIKES A COPYCAT.

D:  WELL, THAT’S PRETTY HARSH, BUT IT APPLIES TO MAPS.  CARTOGRAPHERS DO HARD WORK, AND THEY REALLY DON’T WANT OTHER CARTOGRAPHERS STEALING FROM THEM.  THEY DO INTERESTING THINGS TO MAKE SURE THAT NOBODY COPIES OFF OF THEM.

O:  SOMETIMES, THEY EVEN CREATE FAKE STREETS OR TOWNS SO THEY CAN SEE IF SOMEONE COPIES OFF OF THEM.

D:  HERE IS A FUN STORY.  IN THE 1930’S, 2 CARTOGRAPHERS WERE CREATING A MAP, AND THEY DECIDED THAT THEY WOULD INVENT A FAKE TOWN SO THEY CAN SEE IF ANYONE STEALS THE INFORMATION FROM THEIR MAPS TO MAKE THEIR OWN.  THE NAME OF THE TOWN WAS AGLOE… SPELLED A-G-L-O-E.  THEY PUT AGLOE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK, NEAR THE CATSKILL MOUNTAINS.  THEN, GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?  ONE OF THE BIGGEST MAP MAKING COMPANIES CALLED RAND MCNALLY PUT THE FAKE TOWN OF AGLOE ON ONE OF THEIR MAPS.  THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET WEIRD.  THE MEN THAT CREATED THE ORIGINAL MAP AND PUT THE FAKE TOWN OF AGLOE ON IT WERE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE COPYCATS OVER AT RAND MCNALLY.  BEFORE RAND MCNALLY COPIED THE FAKE TOWN, SOMEONE HAD ACTUALLY SEEN THE ORIGINAL MAP AND BUILT A STORE IN THE AREA AND NAME THE STORE “AGLOE GENERAL STORE”.  IN OTHER WORDS, THE FAKE TOWN ACTUALLY TURNED INTO A REAL TOWN, SO IT TURNS OUT THAT RAND MCNALLY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG AT ALL.  

O:  WHEN MAPMAKERS PUT FAKE TOWNS ON THEIR MAPS TO CATCH COPYCATS, THOSE FAKE TOWNS ARE CALLED PAPER TOWNS.  

D:  THAT’S BECAUSE THE TOWN ONLY EXISTS ON PAPER.  THIS TRAP THAT CARTOGRAPHERS USE IS ACTUALLY PRETTY COMMON, BUT SOMETIMES THEY CREATE FAKE STREETS OR OTHER FAKE LANDMARKS INSTEAD OF TOWNS.  CARTOGRAPHERS DO LOTS OF HARD WORK, AND THEY DON’T WANT THAT WORK TO BE STOLEN.

O:  CARTOGRAPHERS DO AMAZING WORK.  THEY ARE SO AMAZING, THINGS SHOULD BE NAMED FOR THEM.  

D:  THINGS ARE NAMED AFTER CARTOGRAPHERS ALL THE TIME.  IN THE LATE 1400’S, A MAN HELPED DISCOVER THE “NEW WORLD” FOR SPAIN.  HERE IS AN EXCERPT FROM A LETTER HE WROTE OVER 500 YEARS AGO.  IT SAYS
  
“A few days ago I wrote you at some length about my return from those new regions we searched for and found with the fleet, at the expense and by the command of the most serene King of Portugal, and which can properly be called a "New World", since our forebears had absolutely no knowledge of it, nor do any of those who are hearing about it today...On 7 August 1501,[31] we dropped our anchor off the shores of that new land, thanking God with solemn prayers and the celebration of the Mass. Once there, we determined that the new land was not an island but a continent…”

THE MAN THAT WROTE THOSE WORDS WAS AMERIGO VESPUCCI.  

O:  AMERICA WAS NAMED AFTER HIM IN 1507.  

D:  THAT YEAR, A CARTOGRAPHER IN GERMANY CREATED A NEW MAP AND HE NEEDED A NAME TO DESCRIBE THE AREA THAT MANY PEOPLE HAD REFERRED TO AS THE “NEW WORLD”.  HE HONORED VESPUCCI BY NAMING IT AFTER HIM, AMERICA.  THE NAME SPREAD, AND BEFORE LONG, THE AREA WAS RECOGNIZED AS AMERICA BY EVERYONE.  THE UNITED STATES LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PAID FOR THAT MAP IN 2003, MAKING IT THE MOST EXPENSIVE MAP IN THE WORLD, AT A WHOPPING $10 MILLION.  OKAY OLIVIA, LET’S ANSWER THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK, WHAT DOES G.P.S. STAND FOR?

O:  G.P.S. STANDS FOR GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM.

D:  THAT MAKES A WHOLE LOT OF SENSE, BECAUSE IT HELPS KEEP TRACK OF YOUR POSITION ON THE GLOBE.  IT FIRST APPEARED IN CARS BACK IN 1996, BUT IT WASN’T UNTIL YEARS LATER THAT MANY PEOPLE HAD ONE.  NOW, THEY ARE VERY COMMON AND HELP PEOPLE TO GET AROUND AREAS THEY AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH.  WELL, THAT’S A WRAP FOR THIS WEEK’S EPISODE.

O:  EPISODE 125 - MAPS.

D:  GREAT JOB OLIVIA, AND GREAT JOB BY COLE FOR SUGGESTING WE GET CURIOUS ABOUT MAPS THIS WEEK.  THIS EPISODE REALLY HELPED US FIND OURSELVES.  IF YOU WANT TO LET US KNOW WHAT YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT SO WE CAN GIVE YOU A BIG SHOUTOUT ON THE PODCAST, SEND US AN E-MAIL, DROP US A LINE ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, OR TWITTER, OR YOU CAN LEAVE US A VOICEMAIL.  YOU CAN FIND ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO CONTACT US RIGHT IN THE SHOW NOTES.  NEXT WEEK, WE TRAVEL BACK THE UNITED STATES TO GET CURIOUS ABOUT NAMES FOR LISTENERS IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.  AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LISTENING AND GETTING CURIOUS WITH US.    
      
Now that the episode is over, it’s time to get started on our cartography activity.  Do you think you can draw a map of your neighborhood?  I bet you can.  You can make it as detailed as you would like.  Start at your house and start drawing.  You can use brown for sidewalks and pavement, green for lawns, and blue for water.  If you need help, you can always walk around outside so you can draw the most accurate map possible.  If you want to stay in the house, you can use different online resources like Google maps to help you draw your map.  Be sure to ask a trusted grown up for help if you are going to go outside for help with your map.  Do you want an extra challenge?  Try drawing your map to scale.  

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