October 2, 2015
by Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

Plan That Trip

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Students will be able to draw a map that includes a map legend, as well as be able to provide directions to a destination using this map.

(5 minutes)
  • Call students together. Make sure to have many maps posted around.
  • Ask students to think about times in their lives when they have needed to use maps. Students will likely mention times their parents were driving or showing them where something was located.
  • Explain to students that maps have a variety of uses, but they are most commonly used to help people figure out where things are and how to get places.
  • Ask students if they have ever drawn a map before. If so what did they do? and did they include symbols, a legend, or a compass rose? Point out examples of these on some of the maps, so that students can see what is meant by each of these terms.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be making a map today of a location they know well. This could be their home, their neighborhood, or even the school! Then, they will be giving directions from one part of their map to another location on their map.
  • In order to help other people understand their maps, students will be including a map legend and a compass rose.
  • Explain to students that a map legend is where all the map symbols and their meanings can be found. A compass rose points out East, South, West, and North. This is useful for individuals trying to follow directions.
(10 minutes)
  • Inform students that before making their individual maps and directions, the class will practice by making a map of the classroom. Then, the class will write directions from the book shelves to the teacher’s desk.
  • Start by sectioning off a part of the paper for a map legend. Ask for student volunteers to choose symbols for various pieces of furniture and landmarks in the classroom. Make sure to label these in the map legend.
  • Next, have a student volunteer draw a compass rose on the map.
  • Have students take turns drawing where things go on the map relative to one another.
  • Finally, help students write the directions from the book shelves to the teacher’s desk. It can help to draw an x at the book shelves, and then slowly draw arrows along the way as students describe different directions to go.
  • When this is done, ask for any questions. Make sure that everyone has a location in mind to map!
(15 minutes)
  • As students are working, any adults should be circulating answering questions, pointing out necessary changes or additions to the maps, and helping students with their directions.
  • Leaving plenty of example maps and illustrations around can be useful as students work.
  • Enrichment: For students needing a greater challenge, creating three dimensional maps can add to the challenge. Additionally, students can be challenged to plan out a road trip and write out directions for it.
  • Support: For students who need assistance, working with a partner or in small groups can help to scaffold the activity. For students who struggle with the drawing aspect, it can be helpful to have cut out shapes to glue onto the map or assign student artists to help.
  • Incorporating Google maps or other online mapping images can be a fun way to expose students to different types of maps.
(5 minutes)
  • Students can be assessed based on the quality of detail and accuracy in the maps.
  • Students can also be assessed based on their ability to provide directions to different locations on their maps.
  • Finally, students can be assessed based on their ability to recognize the cardinal directions and various map symbols on both their maps and other maps.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students together. Have each student share their map pointing out different symbols they chose to use and explaining why these were representative of landmarks.
  • As students are sharing, ask them to describe a route between two locations on their map. Encourage them to use cardinal directions and the compass rose on their map as well as relative directions from important landmarks to help other students trace the proper route.
  • Remind students that all maps can look different, but through clear symbols on a map legend and a compass rose, people should be able to locate where things are relative to one another.

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