I recently found the most amazing book Mapping the World by Heart by David J. Smith, that teaches students (5th grade through college) how to learn the names and locations of 190 countries in the world. And if that isn’t enough, the student is able to draw and label all the countries including rivers, mountains and major cities, starting from a blank sheet of paper!

“How is this possible?” you ask. Well, the brain remembers information, not in words, but in pictures. By drawing the shape of Africa and remembering where some of the major rivers run; students are able to begin drawing the borders of the countries and using mnemonics they remember the country’s name.

“Why is that important?” you say. Understanding the world, the countries and the people, make our children globally minded.  We need to begin thinking of our world as a village. There may be a variety of people, religions and economic differences but we are all human with the same needs and desires for our life.

“The brain remembers information, not in words, but in pictures.”

Begin with the U.S., learning to draw the outline, adding the Mississippi River and mountain ranges. Add the state boundaries and capitals. Using Memorize States & Capitals makes the process easier. But don’t stop there. Move on to the other countries in North America, Central America and South America. Hmmm…maybe I need to think of some mnemonics for remembering these countries. (This is how the seed of an idea is planted in the brain!)

I love the idea of learning and remembering with pictures. Students who draw their own maps remember 100 times better than those who only read about the location. Try it. What a great family project to do together.