Interactive Maps

This is a fun project that I have been doing with my students using Apple Maps and Keynote.  It is a great project to get students thinking about geography.  This is a project that can be used in History, but I can see uses in Language Arts which I will discuss at the end of this.

I will also provide a video link for the tutorial for this project. 

The first step is to decide what type of project that you want to complete, the project I am sharing is for 2nd grade students learning about their community.  I regularly use this strategy with my 6th grade students while studying ancient civilizations. 

First you will need to decide what area you want to use.  Find it on Apple Maps and take a screen shot.  What I have the students do then is to crop out the side bars and headers (battery percent, WiFi, etc..) so it is just a clean map.  The sample is of the Imperial County. 

Once students have their map screenshot, they will then insert it into a blank Keynote slide.


Before they go any further, I have them change the presentation type to “Links Only”. To enable that, might be different depending on the version of Keynote you are using.  For the up to date version (as of writing this post) is to click the down arrow next to the file name; in this case it is Presentation 10 (I should have gotten a little more creative)  And then go down to 


Presentation type, and click Links Only.   What this means is that you must create a link button to go to the other slides.  Taping the iPad screen will not advance the slides to the next slide. 


Next I have students pick 4 - 5 locations that are on the map, and create a slide for each one of those.  In this example I am using 4 locations.  I keep it simple to keep it fun for the kids. 

Once they have complete all the slides it is now time to create the links.  I go back to the first slide (the map) and add, from the shapes library, a flag. Then I place the flag on each location I want to highlight or link to.


One thing to note, is that you can change the color of the shapes.  Just click on the shape, and go up to the format tool (paintbrush), then click a new color.  You should also know that all of the shapes in the shapes library are textbooks, so you can double tap and type in whatever you want.


Now to create a link, you will tap the flag once, and a shortcut menu will pop up. If you do not see the word link, you should see an arrow on the right side for more options.  Once you see the link button click it.


You will see a menu of possible links.  You will want to click the  “Link to Slide” button, which will then give you a list of numbers.  Those numbers represent the slide order (in the left side tray). Just select the number that corresponds to the slide you want this flag to link to.  So when you press the play button at the top to play the presentation, you can click the flags and it will go to the slide you assigned to that button. 

But now you have a problem, how do you get back to the map. The easiest way is to create a home button.  I use the shape of a home from the shapes library. And then place it at the bottom of the page.  And go through the same linking process. 



I primarily use this project in history. However, I will be using it in Language Arts to map the locations the character in our story is traveling.  I have found using the map helps the students understand the struggles this characters is trying to overcome.

I have attached a YouTube link of the tutorial, and have also attached the actual Keynote file so you can play around with it.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.  Share with me how you use it in your class. 



4 replies

February 09, 2023

What a great idea for getting kids digging into geography! Have you ever had kids collaborate on one keynote or do you typically use it as an individual project?

I am definitely going to pass this idea on to our 6th grade social studies team. Thanks for sharing!

February 09, 2023

I generally have them collaborate with a partner. I did groups of 3 one time, but it didn't work out for me, so I stick with a partner or they can work by themselves.

And I remember years ago working on a project for literature that was created by the Transatlantic Outreach Program called "Family Vacation Along the German Fairy Tale Road". I like it because it incorporates mapping and using the stories from Baron Münchausen and Grimm Brothers stories. This would be a great incorporation in Language Art and these interactive maps.

February 09, 2023

Thanks for all the details you included in this creative Maps project Brian - plus video tutorial - love it! You are right - can be used across so many disciplines. This would be great to display on an iPad in Kiosk mode. Also good for students across the county or world to connect and share about their geographic “place”.

I was just reading yesterday “Make “Green Screen” Videos With Just Keynote Live Video!” posted by Aaron Rodgers. This might be a great extension to your project, perhaps for older students, where they put themselves in the Maps Slide as a tour or history narrator and then export as movie.

February 09, 2023

I will have to check out that post.

I love making history come alive.

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