A Theoretical Model for Thematic Map Learning




Benimmas, Aïcha

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


Current thematic map styles used at the middle school level in Morocco are not adequately designed to give students the opportunity to improve their knowledge of and their critical thinking in geography. Also, there is an enormous lack of teacher training in cartographic rules and the pedagogical use of the thematic map, which keeps students' geographic reasoning at a low level. The author has designed a theoretical model linking geographic reasoning and cartographic language rules in order to address this issue. An experiment was conducted to test the efficacy of such a model on geographic learning with 7th grade students. Results indicate that the experimental group was significantly more likely to display higher post-test scores in map reading as well as in map design when compared with a control group. In addition, analyses of items failed by some students provide a detailed portrait of how they perceived and treated thematic map information. The purpose of this paper is to help in-service and pre-service teachers improve their teaching and the geographic learning of their students.



geography, thematic maps, geographic reasoning, cartographic rules, semiotics, theoretical models


Benimmas, A. (2008). A theoretical model for thematic map learning. Research in Geographic Education, 10(2), pp. 5-40.


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