Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Navigating a Map

Andrew Brouwer


Students learn to use map scale, read physical maps, analyze landforms and determine land use.


The student uses various map forms to acquire information (for example, location, distance, direction, scale, symbol).

The student uses various map forms to process and report geographic information (for example, patterns of land use, connections between places, patterns and processes of migration and diffusion).


- Classroom map of the world
- Individual student maps
- Individual student maps that are blank
- Pencils and rulers
- Navigating a Map Rubric (Associated File)
- Navigating a Map Checklist (Associated File)


1. Make copies of Navigating a Map rubric and checklist (enough for every student). (see attached files)
2. Make copies of blank and labeled maps. (These should be part of the materials provided with your textbook.)
3. Make copies of handouts explaining how to analyze physical maps. (These should be part of the materials provided with your textbook.)


1. Introduce map to students.

2. Use prior knowledge to determine what is understood about maps.

3. Ask students to describe a location on a map.

4. Students practice finding certain locations on a map.

1. Introduce and explain scale.

2. Explain how to measure inches and convert to miles.

3. Students workwith a partner finding distances between cities.

1. Introduce physical maps.

2. Students analyze physical maps to determine landforms and land use.

Students continue to work with and practice the newly-learned skills. Once completed with the activity, students use Navigating a Map Checklist to self-assess. Final assessment will include both Navigating a Map Checklist (completed by the student) and Navigating a Map Rubric (completed by the teacher). (see attached files)


Students self-assess their abilities as Responsible and Ethical Workers using the Navigating a Map Checklist (see attached file). Teacher assesses Maps/Models, Behavior, and Organization using Navigating a Map Rubric (see attached file). Further assessment will take place at the end of the grading period.

Attached Files

Navigating a Map rubric     File Extension: pdf

Navigating a Map Checklist     File Extension: pdf

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