Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Mapping Possible Solutions

Julie Thompson
Bay District Schools


Where is the heart of Florida now that we have entered the 21st century? Students propose possible sites for the heart of Florida state capital by mapping collected data onto a Florida state map and recording data in a Travel Log.


The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of fourth grade or higher level content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, journals to reflect upon ideas, reports to describe scientific observations).

The student solves real-world problems involving measurement of the following: length (for example, millimeter, quarter-inch, foot, yard, meter); weight (for example, pounds, ounces, kilograms, grams); capacity (for example, cup, milliliters); temperature (Farenheit and Celsius); angles (right and straight).

The student knows an appropriate unit of measure to determine the dimension(s) of a given object (for example, standard - student chooses feet or inches instead of yards to measure a classroom desk; nonstandard - student chooses a pencil or his or her hand to measure a classroom desk).

The student knows how to determine whether an accurate or estimated measurement is needed for a solution.

The student using real-world settings, objects, graph paper, or charts, solves problems involving estimated measurements, including the following: length to the nearest half-inch, centimeter; weight to nearest ounce, gram; time to the nearest five-minute interval; temperature to nearest five-degree interval; and money to the nearest $1.00 (combination of coin and currency).

The student uses maps, globes, charts, graphs and other geographic tools to gather and interpret data and draw conclusions about physical patterns (for example, in Florida).

The student knows how regions in Florida are constructed according to physical criteria and human criteria.


-Florida state map, Mapping Software, or teacher-made map of Florida
-Appropriate measuring tools
-Grid paper
-Drawing utensils
-Travel Log (see Associated File)
-Where's the Heart of Florida? Criteria Checklist
-Reference List


1. Make copies of a Florida state map (from the Internet or approved mapping software) or have students make their own. (This will take more time, and you will need to monitor closely the quality of the replication.)
2. Gather the necessary tools students will need, such as rulers, measuring tape, grid paper, and drawing utensils.
3. Download the Travel Log handout from the Associated File and make copies for each student. If you are conducting the entire unit, Where's the Heart of Florida? in your classroom, the students should add this page to their Research Portfolios.
4. Have on hand the Where's the Heart of Florida? Criteria Checklist for deskside conferencing with each student. It lists the criteria and performance levels of this activity as well as the other activities in the unit.
5. Have on hand maps of Florida that show major city locations.
6. Create one or more models of what you expect students to create as they chart their top three site proposals and create the accompanying map key.
7. Briefly review the standards addressed and assessed within this unit.


Session: 7 Where's the Heart of Florida? Problem-Based Learning Unit (see Preparations and Extensions)

1. Ask students to take out their Research Portfolios and locate the Site Proposals handout they completed yesterday.

2. Tell students that today they will translate the information about their top three site choices onto a map of the state of Florida. The data displayed and the map key should provide information regarding the established criteria for capital sites.

3. Distribute to each student a copy of a map of Florida or instruct students to draw one. You will probably need a model for the students to go by. A wall map or a map in the textbook should be sufficient. If you allow students to draw their own Florida maps be sure to allow more time for completion.

4. Tell students to locate and identify their top three choices from their Site Proposals handout on the map and to develop a map key that provides information regarding the established criteria (social, economic, political, geographic, and cultural features). At this point, you may choose to demonstrate examples of what this may look like.

5. Instruct the students to use any materials you have made available to complete this task. (markers, paper, crayons, measuring tape, rulers, etc.)

6. As students are completing their maps, tell them to be thinking about the next phase of this process which will be to decide individually where they think, based on their research and the activities they've participated in, the heart of Florida is. Guide them to be thinking of one site for their proposal and justification for their decision based upon the established criteria. Remind them that it is almost time to make their recommendation to the governor.

7. Once the maps and keys are completed, students should place them in their Research Portfolio.

8. Distribute a copy of the Travel Log (see Associated File) to each student.

9. Instruct students to use the maps or milage chart located in their Florida textbook to complete the Travel Log. Emphasize the importance of measuring with accuracy. You might even want to discuss briefly with the students circumstances in which an estimated measurement would be acceptable. Option: If you have a better map of Florida that charts the major cities, distribute copies to students for this activity. Instruct students to enter information for their top three site selections first. If time allows, they can document the information for additional major cities as well.

10. Upon completion, discuss any student insights concerning the comparison of distance from proposed sites to major cities to the distance from Tallahassee. Instruct students to place the Travel Logs in their Research Portfolios.

11. Allow students time to complete today's entry in the Reflections Log located in their Research Portfolios. Instruct students to address the following question in their responses: What units of measurement did you find appropriate for use during this activity in an attempt to ensure accuracy?

12. Also remind students to record any necessary or new information on their Reference Lists.
Embedded instruction: Lessons may include drawing a map to scale, measuring distances using tools, creating a map key with legible symbols, and figuring distance between sites and the capital in a travel log. You may choose to extend this instruction into your math lessons while engaged in this unit. This would be a great way to integrate curriculum.
-locating places and things on a map
-measuring to scale
-communicating information
-measurement systems
-What units of measurement did you find appropriate for use during this activity in an attempt to ensure accuracy?


Each student should have a completed map that shows proposed sites with a legend to represent criteria ( political, geographic, cultural, social and economic features) located in their Research Portfolio to be used as formative assessment. Use the Where's the Heart of Florida? Criteria Checklist as your assessment guide. At this point, you should already have a working copy of this checklist for each student. If not, a copy is available in the Associated File.

In addition, each student should have a completed Travel Log in their Research Portfolio, showing the distance between proposed capital sites and major cities compared to Tallahassee. Again, use the -Where's the Heart of Florida? Criteria Checklist as a guide for this formative assessment.

The final piece of formative assessment is the Research Portfolio Reflection Log entry. A written reflection of measuring to scale and using measurement systems and tools to accurately represent information should be included. Reteach as necessary to insure mastery upon completion of the unit.


This lesson is fifth in a series of lessons in a Problem-Based Learning unit called Where's the Heart of Florida? The lessons that precede are: MEMO from the Governor, Navigating Through Capital History, TOP SECRET: Culturally Sensitive Letters, and What's the Problem? respectively.

The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

Web supplement for Mapping Possible Solutions
HyperHistory ONLINE

Web supplement for Mapping Possible Solutions
Florida Kids

The ETC is your starting point for links to educational resources for Florida's teachers
Educational Technology Clearinghouse

Attached Files

The Travel Log and the Where's the Heart of Florida? Criteria Checklist.†††††File Extension: pdf

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