Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Four Corners Mystery: Where In The World Are We?

Gretchen Witherspoon
Bay District Schools


Students use the five fundamental themes of geography to research and describe various locations around the world in order to pose and answer the four corners mystery, -Where in the World Are We?-


The student selects and uses a variety of appropriate reference materials, including multiple representations of information, such as maps, charts, and photos, to gather information for research projects.

The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student uses electronic technology, including word-processing software and electronic encyclopedias, to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.

The students uses maps, globes, charts, graphs, and other geographic tools including map keys and symbols to gather and interpret data and to draw conclusions about physical patterns.

The student locates and describes the physical and cultural features of major world political regions.

The student understands how human activity affects the physical environment.


- A large wall map of the world
- Small world maps for each group of students
- Research materials (encyclopedias, books, maps, globes, charts, graphs, almanacs)
- Computer(s) with word processing software and electronic encyclopedias
- Computer(s) with Internet access
- Student online lesson, -What is Geography?- available from the Beacon Learning Center--optional


1. Gather research materials.
2. Make sure all computer research materials function properly and are appropriate.
3. Make sure students know how to go online and know the rules for being online.
4. Make sure students are familiar with the word processing program used.
5. Make sure enough resource materials are available.
6. Label cards, each with a name of one of the four hemispheres.
7. Prepare handouts of instructions, and include types of resources to be used (optional).


1. Introduce and discuss the concept of the five fundamental themes of geography (place, location, movement, interaction, and regions) using class text and the student online lesson, -What is Geography?- available from the Beacon Learning Center.

2. Allow students to individually describe their present location (i. e., Panama City), or work in small groups to describe other locations using the five themes of geography. During this time, have students generate a list of research materials they can use to find this information.

3. Divide the students into groups of five. Have each group select a team leader who is responsible for reporting progress and problems to the teacher.

4. Each team leader selects a card from the teacher with the name of a hemisphere on it. Each group then selects a location within that hemisphere.

5. Each team member is responsible for finding information on one of the five themes of geography for his or her chosen location.

6. The team uses the results of the research to generate clues for other teams to use to guess its location.

7. If resources are limited (i.e., there's only one computer with Internet access), then equal time must be allocated for each team for that resource. Other computers can be set up with electronic encyclopedias and almanacs.

8. The teacher meets with each team to review and approve the team's clues. Each team then produces a final set of clues using the word processing software.

9. The teams meet together and exchange sets of clues.

10. The teams use the clues to determine -Where in the World?- each of the other teams is located for this exercise. Be sure the teams have equal opportunity to utilize all available resources to solve the Four Corners Mystery.

NOTE: Prior to the exercise, explain the rules for winning. There are two options:
a) The clues are thorough enough that other teams can readily identify the location. In this case the winning team is the one whose location is identified the most times.
b) The team's clues are thorough and clever enough that other teams cannot identify the location. In this case, the winning team is the team whose location is identified the least. (Of course, there are many perturbations to the game!)


This lesson is formatively assessed. Assess the students' clues and answers to verify that they have:
a) correctly gathered and interpreted data from various research materials and geographic tools
b) drawn appropriate conclusions about physical patterns (landforms, bodies of water, climate, plant and animal life, etc.)
c) accurately located (using absolute or relative location) and described physical and cultural features (how people live, political organizations, relationships with others in region, beliefs, etc.)
d) understand ways human activity has affected the physical environment in various places and times throughout the world
e) used electronic technology, including word-processing software and electronic encyclopedias, to create, revise, retrieve,and verify information


EXTENSIONS: 1. Students pull postcards from around the world and write a description of the place using the five themes of geography. 2. Students pair up with another class to gather research in order to write and solve clues.
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