Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Around the World in 5 Days

Georgia Roberts


This is an introductory lesson on the seven continents. Students learn the continents, draw a map, discuss cultures, use research to learn geography, and investigate cultures. The purpose is to help students understand that we live in a global world.


The student uses maps and globes to locate and compare places and their environments (for example, oceans, river systems, continents, islands, mountains in or near areas where civilizations developed).

The student knows different ways people view and relate to places and regions throughout the world.


-World maps or atlas
-Colored construction paper
-Blank map of the world with latitude and longitude
-Computers, computer disks, computer printer, printing paper, overhead projector
-History books
-4” x 6” Index cards
-Research materials: textbooks, library materials, Internet, etc.
-Pictures of [each] continent, 10-12 copies of each
-Multiple tickets for each continent (See Associated File)
-Rubric for World Map Check, one per student (See Associated File)
-Group Presentation Rubric, one per group (See Associated File)

Optional materials for student presentation:
-Lined paper


1. Gather materials. Use Websites provided to get free maps of the world if necessary. (See Weblinks)
2. Decide what map you will use for whole-group lecture/discussion on Day 1, step #3. (See Procedures) The map should have latitude, longitude, political boundaries, and a key describing the map’s features.
3. Make sufficient copies of the world map for all students.
4. Have copies of the Rubric for World Map Check ready for each student, and a copy of the Group Presentation Rubric for each group. (See Associated File)
5. Set up computer for presentations if any groups use PowerPoint for their presentations.
6. Have an overhead projector ready for anyone needing it for their presentations.
7. Find and copy pictures of each continent to use in the game on Day 5, step #6. (See Procedures) You need one picture of each continent for each group, plus some extra.
8. Prepare and copy multiple tickets (twice the number of students) for each continent. (See Sample in Associated File)


Prerequisite: Be sure that general concepts of geography, including latitude and longitude, have been previously presented.

1. Set/Focus: Tell the students that the purpose of the next few days’ activities about countries, continents, and people, will result in a final game that the students make and play together.

2. Ask the students if they have ever traveled. Have them tell about their travels.

3. Hand out a blank world map with latitude and longitude markings. Ask the class if they can identify the continents. If not, show on your map the location of each continent. Have each of the students identify and label the seven continents on their blank map to have as a guide. Check each student’s map. (There is a Rubric for World Map Check provided in the associated file.)

4. Explain and point to the indicators on a map, for example, map key, equator, latitude, longitude, and political boundaries. Explain what they mean, or you can ask the students to explain these indicators.

5. Using latitude and longitude, show them how to find and locate the approximate area of the city in which they live. Have them locate it on their own map and mark it with a star. Check each student’s city location.

6. Choose five cities or locations on different continents. Have the students record on their map the latitude and longitude for each location. Check each student’s locations.

7. Divide children into groups (for example, groups of 3 to 5). If the class has students at different levels, you might want to match higher levels with lower levels so students can assist one another. Remind students of your rules for cooperative learning activities. Then assign each group one continent to study. They can use the various research tools available in your room such as the Internet, encyclopedias, history books, etc. Each group is to develop a presentation format or they may use more than one format. They may choose to do a PowerPoint, poster, banner, overhead transparencies, etc.

8. Each group is to gather one or two pieces of information about the following six areas: a) cultures and ethnic groups; b) famous places and/or regions; c) an important point in history; d) foods; e) animals; f) climate. If they have questions, they should first ask one another, then the teacher if they cannot answer a question within the group.

9. Tell them that tomorrow they will be adding to their presentation with information about a particular country on their continent.

10. Have students choose one country (or you can assign one country) on their continent and find out the following information: a) cultures and ethnic groups; b) famous places and/or regions; c) an important point in history; d) foods; e) animals; f) climate. They add this information to their presentation.

11. Inform the class that today they will be presenting their information to the class and that tomorrow they will play a game about the information they will hear today, so they need to listen carefully to the presentations.

12. Before the presentations, using the gathered information, each group writes 6 trivia questions on one of the investigated topics on separate 4” x 6” index cards. At least one of the questions must be about the: a) cultures and ethnic groups; b) famous places and/or regions; c) an important point in history; d) foods; e) animals; f) climate. Have the students label the correct numbered category on the opposite side of the index card. For example, the students write “5” if the question is about animals. These cards will be used for the World Game that students will play. Cards are to be turned in prior to their oral presentations. Students are to only use the information they present to the class on these cards for their trivia questions. The cards should contain one question with the answer on it. The cards are to be checked and approved by the teacher before the game on Day 5.

13. Groups then present their section of the information gathered to the class about the continent, country and the people who live there. Assess the presentation using the Group Presentation Rubric. (See Associated File)

14. Time to make and play the game! You can play this game in a variety of formats with the class. You can play with the whole class, or you can divide the class up into several groups. This lesson plan explains how to play the game with the whole class. If you divide the class into small groups to play, then you need duplicate sets of the material.

15. Tell the class that they will be playing in teams that worked together on the presentation.

16. Here is what you will need to play the game:
a. Pictures of the continents that will be given to the groups who obtain 3 correct answers per continent. The number of pictures of each continent will be the number of groups plus some extra, such as 5. (You need the extra pictures if a group gets multiple continent questions correct.)
b. A die.
c. Multiple tickets for each continent. A safe number would be twice the number of students in the class. A sample set of tickets is provided in the associated file.
d. At least one map of the world to display for observational purposes.
e. Question cards are mixed together by their numbers and put into the correct numbered piles according to the six areas that were studied.

17. Here’s how to play the game:
a. Select a group and then roll the die. The number on the die represents the category of question for that group.
b. Read the question and only the group selected may answer. They may confer together to answer the question.
c. If they answer correctly, they get a ticket with the name of that continent. If they get the question wrong, announce the correct answer and place the question at the bottom of the pile.
d. Then move to the next group and repeat the process until there is a winner.

18. A group must answer 3 questions correctly about that specific continent to obtain a game piece of that continent (the number of questions correct can vary depending on how long and how many questions you want your students to answer). The goal is to collect all 7 continents.

19. When a group gets a continent, they should begin to outline the world map on a table in front of them. You can either check the placement of the game pieces now, or wait until the end of the game and use incorrect placements to continue the game until the winner has all game pieces in the correct locations.

20. To shorten the length of the game, you can eliminate the tickets and the die. Simply go around to each team and ask one question per numbered pile. If they get the question correct, give them a game piece of that continent.


1. The student uses maps, globes, and charts to locate and compare places and their environments (for example, oceans, river systems, continents, islands, mountains in or near areas where civilizations developed).
a. The student labels the 7 continents on a blank map. (See Rubric for World Map Check in Associated File)
b. The student successfully labels 5 specified places on a world map using latitude and longitude. (See Rubric for World Map Check in Associated File)
c. Students divide into groups and choose one continent and country to gather information and present facts to the class about their continent and country. (See Group Presentation Rubric in Associated File)
d. Checking for Understanding: The teacher monitors with guided practice each group’s project. The teacher checks to see how each student did on their personal world map, how much information is being gathered, written trivia questions, variety of information, and success in research. The teacher answers questions and guides students. The teacher reviews each task and checks for completeness.

2. The student knows different ways people view and relate to places and regions throughout the world.
a. Students construct world trivia cards to be used in the form of a game that includes facts about their continent and country. One fact in the presentation and one trivia question is about the people and their culture.


Additional extensions and assessment activities:
1. Have the students write a brief summary of information gathered.
2. Have students develop their own game idea.
3. Assess the students with true/false, fill-in-the-blank, or essay tests.
4. The teacher or the students invite people in the community from different parts of the world to dress in their native clothing and come to class.

Other subject areas (and activities) that could be integrated with this lesson:
1. Students can find out what countries their ancestors came from and find out simiar information about these countries. (Social Studies: Application, Analysis, Synthesis)
2. Using an animal identified in research, a student (or group) can do such things as label body parts, discover eating habits, investigate gestation period for offspring, etc. (Science: Comprehension, Analysis)
3. Make up a story using different points in history based on investigated material found. (Language Arts: Application, Analysis)

ESOL Accommodations:
1. Hand out to ESOL students important word meanings in their home language and in English.
2. Have students look on the Internet for information regarding their projects in their home language.
3. Pair any bilingual students with an ESOL student.
4. Give extra time as needed.

Special Needs Accommodations:
1. Visually impaired students may receive larger font copies if required.
2. Hearing impaired students with learning assistant can be given written instructions for projects and main points covered.
3. Assign special partners as needed.

Web Links

Web supplement for Around the World in 5 Days
Free blank maps of the continents and countries

Web supplement for Around the World in 5 Days
A map of the continents and information various information about countries and people

Web supplement for Around the World in 5 Days
Site for mega-maps

Attached Files

Visual and printable materials to use in class activity     File Extension: pdf

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