Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Bird's Eye View

Linda Pentiuk


Students become familiar with different types of maps by exploring books. Students create their own representation of a map.


The student understands that a map represents a real place.


-Maps of all kinds (road, state, city, world, local park, etc.)
-Overhead sheets
-An overhead
-[Mapping Penny's World] by L. Leedy, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000
-[Me on the Map] by J. Sweeney, New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1996 or another appropriate book about mapping
-White poster size paper
-Crayons or markers
-Internet-ready computers


1. Gather as many different types of maps as possible.
2. Find the book [Mapping Penny's World] by Loreen Leedy, [Me on the Map] by Joan Sweeney, or any other book that deals with mapping.
3. Have a set number of overhead sheets ready.


Note: Students should be familiar with the idea that things can be visually represented. For instance, a picture of a car in a magazine represents a real car. A picture of a candy bar in a grocery ad represents a real candy bar.

1. Have the students get into groups. (The number of groups will depend on how many maps are available. No more than five per group).

2. Give each group at least two simple maps to compare.

3. Encourage students to find the similarities and differences between the two maps. Accept all comments.

4. Give the students about five minutes to look at the maps.

5. Collect the maps and have the students sit down for story time.

6. Introduce the book that you chose by stating the title, author, and illustrator.

7. Tell the students that this is a book about maps like the ones at which they were just looking.

8. Read the book aloud to the students, pointing to and discussing the maps on each page. Point out the purpose, the key, the colors, etc. You might even want to list them on the board. Make sure students understand that a map is a smaller, visual representation of a place.

9. After reading the book, discuss it with the students by asking questions about what they thought of the book. Review map concepts through the questions.

10. Guide the students in creating a list of what maps include and provide. Accept all answers.

11. Explain to the students that they will create a map of the classroom. Tell the students that they do not have to label or write (use words) what their drawings represent, but they need to mark where they think their desk is located in the classroom and at least three other objects in the room by drawing a square, an X, or any other marking. Make a model of this on the board using your own desk.

12. Give each student an overhead sheet and a piece of white paper. Tell the students to draw their maps on the overhead sheets first. This way if the students feel that they need to start over, all they have to do is wipe off the sheet with a little water and a paper towel. Circulate and offer feedback. Ask students what the drawing represents in the room. When they are happy with their maps, they can draw the map on the poster paper using the crayons or markers. Tell the students to keep their maps on the overhead sheets to share with the class when everyone is finished.

13. Pass out crayons or markers.

14. Give students about thirty minutes to create their maps.

15. After thirty minutes, have students clean up.

16. Ask if any of the students want to share their maps with the class. The students can choose which map they would like to share with the class, whether it is the overhead sheet map or the poster map. Listen carefully as to what the student says concerning the drawings and to see if he indicates the map shows his desk placement.

17. Allow time for students to share.

18. Review the different types and uses of maps.


Note: This lesson only addresses maps.

Individual students will /draw/name the three main objects and his/her desk as he/she points to each on the map. Use rubric in the associated file to indicate mastery.


The whole class could create a map of the school and mark where they think their classroom is.
The whole class looks at a larger area on the Internet. (See WebLinks.)

Web Links

Web supplement for Bird's Eye View
ISTE NETS Standards

Attached Files

A Rubric for the lesson plan.     File Extension: pdf

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