Marking Tracks with Google Maps--Frankenstein's and Walton's Geographic Journeys

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SWBAT track the geographical journeys Mary Shelley describes in "Frankenstein" to analyze how place tests character and theme.

Big Idea

"Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come." --Gilles Deleuze

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Context and Time Frame

Before students progress too far into Frankenstein, I introduce them to the Google Map It" assignment. Although today's lesson is Lesson 5 in the unit, it is an ongoing task that students will need to complete over time as they progress through the remainder of the unit.

In this lesson students...

  • Learn about Google maps via a short tutorial,
  • Use Google maps to create a map they'll use to track Walton's and Frankenstein's journeys,
  • Begin considering how geographical place, both setting and terrain, work to test character and theme in the romance. 

*Google Map Teacher Notes briefly offers instructions teachers can share w/ students about transferring a map into a document for use in this assignment.

Mapping Literary Worlds: Introducing Students to Google Maps

20 minutes

Teachers will need to give students a short tutorial introducing students to Google maps. Review FrankMap IT with students so that they have a sense of the task. 

Next, explain to students how to create (find) a map in Google maps. Google Map Tutorial.mp4 is a short screencast that explains how to open a map in Google maps. 

Option: For those without access to laptops or labs, teachers can provide a map for students to use after showing them Google maps. Google map showing terrain for Frankenstein's and Walton's journeys.

Next, tell students to take a screenshot of their map and put it in a Word document. This will allow students to use the features in Word: 

  • Insert image,
  • Draw a line,
  • Change orientation,
  • Change colors,
  • Etc.

Terrain map shows changes to the map I made in Word using the "Format Feature" option in the toolbar. I like the way the map looks old and yellowed as it might were it a historical map from the Romantic Period in which Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein.

"Landscapes of the Passing Strange": Tracking Walton's and Frankenstein's Journeys

45 minutes

After giving students a short tutorial on Google maps and on transferring their map to a document for printing later, they need time to channel their inner explorer, which is a fitting metaphor giving the explorations of Walton and of Frankenstein. 

As they play with Google maps, remind them of the features available to them. For example, in the bottom right of their screen, there is a "little man" they can insert into the map and play with it. Additionally, they can play with creating a route in Google maps. 

Student posing w/ her Google Map shows a student who has found a map and is exploring it. Student creating a Google Map to track gives yet another example of a student working with Google maps. Finally, Student working on an iPad to create a Google map to track shows how students can use their personal devices for exploring Google maps. Since most students have smart phones, letting them use their personal devices to create a map offers an educational use for Google maps.