Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Maps101 Website Poster Image
Rich resource for history, geography, and civics materials.

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Educational Value

Maps101's content centers on geography, history, and civics; materials also are included for kids learning Spanish as well as ESL students. Kids can learn about mapping, historical trends, U.S. and world geography, recent geographical events, and specific locations, such as Florida's waterways, through videos and activities and by examining and altering maps. Articles, maps, and other items also convey earth science information. Kids and adults should find plenty of information for classroom-related research, presentations, or just plain fun.

Positive Messages

The site can help kids experience historical events, geography, and politics in a new, more visual way, which can increase their excitement about the topics.

Violence & Scariness

Some news articles mention killing and other violent crimes, but the information is nongratuitous.

Sexy Stuff

Searches for words such as "f--k" and "s--t" don't reveal any content.


A Classroom Supplies section links to a store that sells wall maps and other items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A few maps illustrate drug-use issues in different regions, but the information is part of a news update and doesn't glorify drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Maps101 is an educational website that offers a giant selection of maps as well as focusing on history, geography, civics, and earth science. It also offers news updates, games, and activities regarding current events, women's history, and other topics. Kids can view maps of all kinds, including historical, topographical, simple (for K-3 students), and even interactive. Your child's teacher will have to provide log-in information for your kid to access the resource site, which was designed primarily for educators. To post blog comments, users need to enter a name and an email address; they also can include a URL. 

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What's it about?

MAPS101 is a website that offers support materials in history, geography, civics, and earth science -- and let's not forget about the maps. It provides hundreds of maps kids can view, download, and print. In addition to reference atlases, maps in Spanish, antique city maps, and very simple maps for kids in kindergarten through third grade, you can check out geography news items, geography quizzes, and map-related crossword puzzles. You also can customize maps using the Map Sketch tool. With more than 4,500 items on the site, there's certainly no shortage of things to look at. Teachers can see resources that relate to the Common Core Standards and lesson plans. The site also offers news updates, games, and other activities on women's history, geography, and other topics. Annual subscriptions are $400 to $650 and provide a school with unlimited remote access (meaning kids can use the site from home as well).

Is it any good?

For teachers, there are lesson plans, a geography glossary, and other items; they also can view a list of activities that correspond with Common Core Standards. The site's page organization could benefit from some additional ways of dividing up content; you can search by location, keyword, or subject, but the long list of topics on many of the pages can make scanning for subjects or meandering difficult. Still, kids and adults should enjoy getting quick hits of information from the site's interactive maps and other resources; Maps101 presents an impressive amount of information in an interesting, engaging way.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why learning about history and geography can help society. What events, such as the civil rights movement, have helped people in the U.S. advance and make significant changes? 

  • Talk about how life differs in other countries and cultures. Ask your kids: Did anything on the site sound very different from day-to-day life in the U.S.?

Website details

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