Make maps relevant for your class! With an introduction to basic map skills, students will discover the nuts and bolts of how maps are designed. They will even have the chance to map out relevant places like their school and neighborhood!
The students will be able to identify the basic parts of a map using a map key and symbols. The students will be able to use information on a map to learn more about the spaces in the world. The students will be able to construct their own map using a map key and various symbols.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Using Google Earth, type in the address of your school or city and ask the students to look for special parts of the world.
- Zoom in until students can recognize the location of the school as a landmark. (If students are unable to see this, conduct a think aloud in which you notice and tell about all the different images that you see.)
- Tell the students that people can make maps using real buildings, houses, landmarks, and parts of nature.
- Tell the students that today they will be learning about the parts of a map and how to use and create a map.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Display the Reading a Map PDF using an interactive whiteboard, document camera, or projector. Alternatively, display an enlarged, printed out version for the class to see.
- Using the directions, point out the various items that are included on the map (such as trash, picnic table, stop sign, etc.) and how you can find them.
- Next, use a large piece of tagboard, poster board, or chart paper to model the process of creating a map. Sketch a simple map out, and create landmarks that can be identified using a map key.
- Point to the different parts of the map, emphasizing how to use the key to locate various items on the map.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Invite your students to go on a "map walk" with you around the school. Take a small whiteboard and marker along with you.
- As you walk, ask the students to tell you different parts of the school that could be included on a map. Remind your class that these parts of the school should be significant "landmarks", such as the cafeteria, library, and playground.
- Keep a running list on the whiteboard of the various parts to include on the map.
- When you return to the classroom, tell the students that they will now help create a map of the school.
- Display the Map of my School PDF on an interactive whiteboard, document camera, projector, or using an enlarged, printed out version. Put the small whiteboard with the list of words in a central location for the students to reference.
- Invite students to help you construct a map of the school, giving feedback as you create the map together.
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Tell the students that their job is to create a map of their neighborhood.
- Brainstorm various buildings and landmarks that could be found in a neighborhood and list those on the board.
- Distribute a copy of the Map of My Neighborhood attachment to each student.
- Direct your class to begin working on creating a map of where they live.
- Enrichment: Extend this lesson by tapping into the creativity of the students. Invite them to design a dream amusement park or store. Alternatively, help students use Google Earth to find a section of the world and create a map of that place.
- Support: Provide a word bank of common buildings and landmarks in the neighborhood for students to reference as they are working. For students who have difficulty getting started drawing, provide some examples of symbols that can be used on the map.
- Provide students with the opportunity to create collaborative maps. Assign each group a specific location and share a Google drawing for them to edit. Challenge them to work together to create their own, unique map!
Related Books and/or Media
Assessment (10 minutes)
- Circulate around the room, asking students to describe the parts of their maps that were included in the map key.
- Distribute a copy of the Using a Map Key Assessment page to each student.
- Read the directions for the assessment to the students, having them follow along and locate the various parts of the map.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Invite the students to bring their maps of their neighborhood and to sit in a circle.
- Ask individual students to share their map (in a show-and-tell style).
- Invite other students to ask questions after each student shares his or her map, so that the students are given the opportunity to elaborate on landmarks in their neighborhood.