For teachers

This resource can be used across Social Studies, with particular reference to History and Geography as well as literacy. It provides a way of exploring the past through the landscape and guides learners through using historic maps as a primary source. Along the way, learners develop a new literacy, that of map reading. It is most suitable for those in upper primary and lower secondary. The resource fulfils the following Experiences and Outcomes and helps learners to achieve the four capacities in the following ways:

Successful learners

The activities provide an opportunity for learners to develop their map reading skills and apply these to understanding how people lived in the past. Learners are equipped to make full use of the NLS’s collection of digitised maps as they work in groups and pairs to grow their ability to understand historic maps.

Confident individuals

Through encouraging learners to undertake site visits, the activities are promoting a healthy and active lifestyle and to undertake learning outside the classroom.

Responsible citizens

Through applying their knowledge to the landscape around them, they are able to explore their local history in a new way, creating understanding of the impact people can have on the landscape.

Effective contributors

The activities encourage learners to become effective contributors through providing activities for them to work in small groups as well as bringing evidence together in large groups. Through learning to read and interpret maps, they can practise their critical thinking skills and build their confidence in using maps to add to their understanding of the past.


Social Studies,
People, past events
and societies

Social Studies,
people, place and

Second Level

Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select and sort information from a variety of sources and use this for different purposes (LIT 2-14a)

I can use primary and secondary sources selectively to research events in the past (SOC 3-01c)

I can interpret historical evidence from a range of periods to help to build a picture of Scotland’s heritage and my sense of chronology (SOC 2-02a)

To extend my mental map and sense of place, I can interpret information from different types of maps and am beginning to locate key features within Scotland, UK, Europe or the wider world (SOC 2-14a)

Third Level

Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select, sort, summarise, link and use information from different sources (LIT 3-14a)

I can use my knowledge of a historical period to interpret the evidence and present an informed view (SOC 3-01a)

I can use a range of maps and geographical information systems to gather, interpret and present conclusions and can locate a range of feature within Scotland, UK , Europe and the wider world (SOC 3-14a)