Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Map Scaling

Katherine Sparks
Bay District Schools


Students learn to use a map scale and determine distances between cities within the state of Florida.


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.


-Map of Florida
-Computers with software program such as Tripmaker
-Rulers or straight edges


Provide an overview for the students on how to use the map scales and the computer program.


1. Students are given maps of Florida.

2. Using the scale given, students determine the distances from city to city using rulers or straight edges. Record data on a worksheet or in a chart.

3. Students convert the distances to miles or kilometers. Add this information to the worksheet or chart.

4. After students determine distances, they check to see if they are correct by using a computer program such as Tripmaker.


In order to determine students' abilities to "use maps...and other geographic tools including map keys and symbols to gather and interpret data..." use a rubric, teacher observation, or a teacher-made assessment that addresses the following criteria:

1. Students correctly determine the distance between two cities on a map using rulers or straight edges.

2. Students compare the above distance with the map scale and convert the distance to miles or kilometers.

3. Students correctly label the distance using miles or kilometers.

4. Students' final distances are within 10-15 miles of the distances determined by programs such as Tripmaker.

Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.
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