Imaginary World Maps


When I teach my world building classes (to both kids and adults), I almost always start with a map of the world. One strategy is to use the idea of Pangaea to inspire what the worlds might look like. You can make great curricular connections by first discussing how our own world was formed:

  • How the land masses of the world formed:

Earth Guide: Plate Techtonics (UCSD)

Continental Drift (TCU Idea Factory)

After this explanation, I have students close their eyes, picture their own “super continent” breaking up into smaller continents, imagining how the coastlines will look (i.e. like puzzle pieces coming apart). Once they have an intuitive outline of the continents, they add physical features. They can base these on our earthly features, or make up their own. I’ve seen ice forests, blood volcanoes, cloud forests, and islands made of spell cast dragons. This is a great time to let their imaginations take them away.


  • What a physical map looks like / features of physical map

Physical world map

possible terminology / physical features:

rivers, deltas, bays, oceans, glaciers, mountains, volcanoes, deserts, tundra, peninsula, plateaus, valleys, etc.

Physical Geography Features


From here they can create map “inserts” of the continents, zoom in on a city or village or forest. When creating a World Book I generally have them create at least two maps, a world map and a map of where their main civilization will live.