Making Your Classroom Map Look Its Best!

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Making your Classroom Activity maps look their best

Jason Newton, our cartographer, makes this point when working with students and classroom maPs: it is a good rule of cartography–

“When you are making a map, it is made to be seen by others. A map is made to be displayed. The key to making an effective, legible map is neatness.”

When you use our activity maps in your classroom, be sure your students are prepared!  See Jason’s FREE VIDEO HERE, for use with our most popular map, USA, PLACES AND GEOGRAPHIC FEATURES!


The Right Tools for a Beautiful Map

  • The best tools for student mapmakers are colored pencils and graphite pencils with very sharp points for labeling.
  • It is important to have a good eraser. You may make a mistake, or spell a name wrong, or want to change the position of a label.
  •  A good pencil sharpener is helpful too.
  • A mechanical pencil is useful for labeling areas that are small.


  • Avoid using ballpoint pens and markers that cannot be erased.
  • Avoid using crayons — colored pencils allow finer detail and shading.

Below are detail of a maps that shows how neatness is effective!


AUSTRALIA Classroom map

This first Tasmania map is from our AUSTRALIA MAP CHALLENGE, now available on our website— use it FREE with your SmartBoard or projector in your classroom.  This Tasmania map is also an element of the “ISLANDS” theme in our CartoCraze! Expanded Map Workshops.

Screen shot 2015-12-01 at 10.26.37 AM Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.12.41 AM

And here is a detail of our filled-in AUSTRALIA map, also part of the AUSTRALIA MAP CHALLENGE.   Coloring the inside edge of the boundary lines in different colors leaves plenty of white space for labeling other features on the map: mountains, rivers, cities, etc.!

Screen shot 2015-12-02 at 11.19.07 AM

Learn more about labeling maps — check out our other free Map Challenges: BASIC MAP SKILLS and NORTH AMERICA are HERE!