Fieldwork using free OS maps for schools
Up until 2010, all Year 7 students in Great Britain schools were eligible to receive a free Ordnance Survey Explorer map (1:25,000 scale) of their local area.
Having these maps enables students to work in class and at home to develop important skills in reading and using maps. The maps also provide a range of excellent opportunities for teaching and learning about the students' local area.
These pages provide ideas and resources for engaging students in local area fieldwork activities using the free OS maps. The resources on these pages have been created by Lisa Bell.
Stars in your lives
This activity has been designed to be a stimulating and fun way of practising map skills using the free OS maps for schools. Students imagine that they have won a competition to play host to their favourite celebrity for the day. They must design a route and itinerary which will give the celeb a flavour of their local area, taking into account the individual's likes and dislikes. The fieldwork involves walking the intended route and collecting geographical data (route description, field sketches, digital photos, grid references, etc.) to add to a plan of the route which will be sent to their celebrity in advance of their visit.
This activity also encourages students in Key Stage 3 to practice and develop their map skills using their free OS maps of the local area. Students are presented with a fictional proposal for a five kilometre road race in their area. They are required to use map skills and various fieldwork techniques to investigate the proposed routes, and to make informed decisions as to which is most suitable for the race.
What’s in a name?
This activity encourages students to develop an understanding of how history has influenced cultural heritage in their local area.
Students practice their geographical maps skills and use Ordnance Survey maps to research the origins and meanings of local place names. Although not in itself a fieldwork activity, the resource can be used alongside local fieldwork to develop students' sense of place and local heritage.
Can we still get free OS maps for schools?
If your school had Year7/Primary 7 pupils at the start of the autumn term in 2010, you are eligible to receive free access to the new Digimap for Schools service until 31 December 2011. A letter was sent to Heads of Geography in eligable schools in August 2010 for Scottish schools and September 2010 for schools in England and Wales. The letter contained details of how to order free maps and a voucher providing registration details for free access to Digimap for Schools. You needed to have signed up to the scheme by the 31 August 2011. More information can be found on the OS website.