Overview: Students collaborate to create simple maps of the school neighborhood that include a compass rose and a legend based on prior knowledge and online research.
Subject: Social Studies: Geography; Math: Measurement
Grades: 4th, 5th
Duration: 2 hours
Related Concepts: Map Skills, Relative and Absolute Location, Reading Maps, Distance, Spatial Thinking, Speaking & Listening
Students will be able to:
- Recognize and use a simple map legend.
- Identify specific places on a map and describe their locations to others.
- Create a simple map complete with key and compass rose.
Essential Questions: What information does a map tell us? How can I use a map to tell about or find a place?
Vocabulary: map, legend, symbols, compass rose, north, south, east, west
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Speaking & Listening
Paper and pencil
- Internet access
- Projection system
- Student computers/tablets with a map app
Display a street map of a local area that students would recognize. Engage in a discussion about what can be identified on the map (e.g. local restaurants, library, street name, student's house, etc) and its features (lines to show roads/streets, bodies of water, etc).
Tell students that they will be learning more about maps by making a map of the school neighborhood. Navigate through a presentation on mapping skills, pointing out key vocabulary: key, legend, symbols, and compass rose.
After the presentation, have the class help you write the definitions of the vocabulary on the board for reference. For the direction words, have students point north, east, south, and west. You can also share a helpful mnemonic device such as "Never Eat Sour Watermelons."
Hand each student the worksheet Intermediate Directions. Review the directions and answer questions. As students work, walk around and observe.
When most students have completed the worksheet, have students partner up and compare answers. Review the answers with the class. Clarify any misunderstandings.
Have students work together in small groups to make a map of the school neighborhood. Encourage them to use the Internet to search the school (address) and find street maps that show where the neighborhood. Remind them to include a map legend and compass rose.
Post completed maps around the classroom. Have students walk around and take note of the similarities and differences between the maps that were created. After the class has seen all of the maps, gather and discuss what they noticed about the maps.
- Assess understanding of the need for accuracy on a map, as well as the importance of using a map legend and compass rose.
Have struggling students complete A Road Map in small groups.
Encourage English learners to complete the worksheet Maps and Cardinal Directions to build prior knowledge and domain-specific vocabulary.
Challenge higher-level students to complete more complex maps, either by expanding the map area, making their maps to scale, or including additional geographic features.
For independent work time (or center activities), have students reinforce their map-reading skills with Determining Direction with a Map - Online Interactive.
They can also work on pages 14 and 15 of Mapping Skills.
For at-home practice, have students complete a street map of their local neighborhood using Street Mapping.