Map Your World


Age group: Year 3 - 6

Available: Monday – Friday

Length: 90 minutes. Please allow more time after your workshop to explore the galleries and public spaces

Group size: minimum 10

Subjects and Key Skills

Geography, History, Citizenship, Art, Visual Literacy, Critical Thinking, Research

Workshop outline

This workshop aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the maps in the British Library's collection. We will explore maps, not simply as geographic documents, outlining the relationship between countries or buildings and the possible routes from a to b, but also as historical documents. Through practical activities and creative research, students will uncover how these layers of meaning can impact on the creation of maps and what they present.

The workshop starts with fun drawing activities to explore different approaches to mapping. Moving to a more focused use of the gallery display and space, we'll discuss the types of decisions a cartographer makes and how these influence the construction of a map. Participants will test ideas to make maps related to their own lives and use their imaginations to map from other people's perspectives.

Groups will collectively investigate maps in the Treasures gallery and question the process by which they are made. Participants will build an understanding of how mapping can be used to identify and analyse social problems as well as to support arguments for particular viewpoints. Maps will be revealed as objects of beauty as well as important stores of knowledge that influence the way we live.

Pre-visit activities

  • Discuss the following questions in class or on your journey to the British Library: what are maps? How do we use them? When do we need them? Think about the maps you use often: what kind of information do they include? What do they exclude? Do they all look the same?
  • Locate different maps in your school or local area. How many different kinds can you find and what are they for? How do their functions influence the way they look?

Post-visit activities

  • Explore more about maps in our online resource, Mapping History, which includes fascinating digitised material and fun activities.
  • Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing Magnificent Maps!

This session is also available as:

  • A study day for students (Year 3-6). This all day session runs from 10.30-2.30pm including breaks but timings are flexible.
  • An INSET for teachers. The Map your World session can be booked alone or as part of our full day INSET package.

For more information about study days or INSETs, please email or complete the booking form below.

Ready to book?

Watch a short video about your visit to the British Library   How to book