Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Calling All Cartographers

Jane Cunningham


This is a map lesson. The class participates in a discussion and completes the class K-W-L chart. This allows for review of terminology, symbols, types of maps, etc. Students assist in instruction by drawing symbols they remember on the board. The students begin the culminating activity in class which is to draw a map which will contain their home and a 3-street radius (or its equivalent) of where they live. Next they gather in groups to make oral observations regarding the maps which they have viewed.


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


-Partially completed K-W-L Chart
-Overhead projector
-Transparencies of different types of maps and symbols
-1/4 inch graph paper
-Pencils, pens, markers, crayons, colored pencils, rulers, etc.
-History textbook [America’s Past & Promise], Mason, Lorna, McDougall Littell, Evanston, Illinois,1998.


1. Prepare K-W-L chart.
2. Prepare overhead transparencies.
3. Collect graph paper & drawing materials (see materials list)


Day 1

1. Partially completed K-W-L chart is displayed in front of class.

2. Ask class what new information have they learned about maps, and list students’ suggestions on chart.

3. Ask students who remembers a symbol that they would like to find out if the other students remember what the symbol represents.

4. Choose a student and allow them to draw their symbol on the board and allow them to call on a classmate to identify the symbol.

5. After several students have had a turn at the board, explain that we are going to move on to our BIG project.

6. Explain assignment and show a sample of a map of the school on overhead which conforms with the assignment rubric.

7. Pass out rubric, graph paper, and drawing materials.

8. Students begin map project and complete project at home.

Day 2

1. Student produces completed map project for sharing.

2. Teacher assigns students to groups of 3 or 4 students for sharing.

3. Teacher explains sharing portion of assignment. (display list on board)
1. Stay with your assigned group.
2. View each members map project.
3. Each member makes an oral observation regarding
each project viewed to the person that created the project. ]

4. Students view each others map projects and each student in group will make
an original oral observation about each person’s project.
(ex = “Johnny, I see that your house is on a street corner.”
“Johnny, you live 2 streets away from the post office.”
“Suzy, there are 2 other houses on your street.”)

5. The teacher circulates around the classroom to formatively assess as the students make correct observations about maps.


After participating in several lessons in which the students will learn the vocabulary, symbols and how to locate items on different types of maps. The teacher formative assesses the students will produce a map with legend which includes their house and a 3 – street radius (or its equivalent) of all the physical features (ex.: trees, houses, stores, roads, rivers, etc.) that surround their house, and then make oral observations regarding each others map project.
An acceptable level of participation will be that each student can make at least one observation from another student’s map.

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