Investigating Children’s Field Trip Experiences Through Sketch Maps




Maleki, Shadi
Warren, Emily
Hagelman, Ronald R.
Navarro, Aspen
Wait, Miranda

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


Research related to the ways in which children learn, perceive, and engage with nature remains ongoing, but there is a need for new methods of investigation and analysis into this important topic. This study examines children’s representations of nature through the examination of maps drawn by 1 st-8th grade students following a school-sanctioned field trip at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Data were collected through an interactive process which encouraged children to observe nature through different activities organized in the context of field trips. At the end of the field trip, participants drew a map of their experience and explained the elements included in their maps. Over 700 maps were analysed to assess students’ representations of their field trip experiences as well as their cartographic skills. Overall, this study found that children have positive emotions to nature and natural elements. Also, using sketch maps to explore students’ field trip experiences offers a robust education strategy and can render valuable quantitative data and qualitative information on children’s outdoor experiences and cartographic skills.



environmental education, children's geographies, children's drawings, informal science education, sketch maps, nature mapping


Maleki, S., Warren, E., Hagelman, R. R., Navarro, A., & Wait, M. (2021). Investigating children’s field trip experiences through sketch maps. Research in Geographic Education, 23(1), pp. 7-31.


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