Another map projection I like is polyhedral projections. The idea is that you approximate a sphere with a regular polyhedron (tetrahedron, cube all the way up to a truncated icosahedron which is the shape of a soccer ball. I forget when kids learn them.) and project the map onto that. I like polyhedral projections because you can easily create a globe with them. Polyhedra are made of flat pieces. You can print out the various parts then fold and glue them together to make your own globe. If you have it setup in advance (capture all the images from the web and put them into a document for printing) it is something kids can do. Here’s a picture of a flattened out regular dodecahedron projection of the earth. http://www.progonos.com/furuti/MapProj/Normal/ProjPoly/Img/mp_DodGnomonic-s75-z10.png

That kind of hands on experience is great for kids especially if it is done as a cross subject project along with the teaching of regular polygons in math class. Map projections are very mathematical but this kind of construction can give a good intuition of what a map projection means and why it has to be done. I had fun teaching this stuff to my kids. The youngest is about to graduate with a degree in physics and a math minor so I think it was useful. He is also the one I always sang to when he was young. I think both experiences contributed. ;-) ]]>

Here’s a link of maps that show different perspectives. I love the one that’s totally upside-down, where north is on the bottom and south on top. Very interesting!

]]>