I went to see what Mystic Seaport’s new interactive Map Spot was all about. It’s supposedly geared to kids, but Interpreter Lindsey Pyrke-Fairchild claims that adults like Map Spot as much as the children do. I can see why.
Suzzanah was making a map of her bedroom; Abby and Maddy were mapping their respective neighborhoods; Emma’s imaginative map was of a forest with horses. So, I gave it a try myself, mapping my own neighborhood. A cartographer I’ll never be, but it was fun trying. Hmm… maybe next time I’ll try making a dream vacation map!
One of the coolest things in Map Spot is the “smart board,” a touch screen with a few games that test your smarts and your speed. The object is to move a state into its proper location on the map in a given amount of time. It can be tricky, believe me!
Next I teamed up with precocious 18-month-old Hannah to choose where I wanted to visit or live, or pinpoint where my ancestors lived on a wall-sized map of the world. Hannah and I marked our spots with red and yellow magnetic discs. Watch out, world, Hannah’s on her way!
Moving on, the next challenge was making a coastline map of the model island in the glass case. The task – simulate the coastline on the magnetized glass via a beaded necklace-like tool. Not as easy as it looks!
Well, it was time to take a drive, but Driving to Distraction was so popular with both the boys and the girls that I couldn’t get in the driver’s seat! This is a GPS concept with a voice directing you to places in the town of Mystic. It can be a wild ride with the likes of Juan and Jose behind the wheel!
Yelitza motioned me over to the topographical map to help her locate some of the things you are supposed to find. We had to duck down to find shipwrecks, shown through a glass window beneath the map. Interpreter Lindsey votes this her favorite display.
My Map Spottour ended with Francelis, who was designing a bedroom by moving dollhouse size wooden furniture around on the large grid floor. Francelis could then copy her final “map” onto a paper with small grids, knowing the furniture would fit where she wanted it.
Final conclusion: Map Spot is a great spot! Lots to do with soft-sell teaching and learning wrapped up in fun. Check it out.