Beacon Unit Plan Library

Where is Japan? Basic Map Skills

Sandi King
Beacon Learning Center (Bay District Schools)


The purpose of this integrated unit is for first graders to learn basic map skills and use these map skills to solve a problem. The unit presents the scenario of a Japanese first grader who is looking for an American pen pal. The students use maps and globes to locate America and Japan. Language arts and mathematics skills are reinforced using the social studies content. Hemispheres, directional words, distances, regions, and physical environments are all explored while trying to solve the question, "Where is Japan?"


How can map skills help me locate places?


The planned duration of this activity is 7 days.

Associated Files

Unit Plan Overview (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Diagnostic Assessment (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 1 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 2 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Summative Assessment 3 (PDF)     File Extension:  pdf

Lesson Plans

Where Is Japan? What Direction Is It?
Students use literature and manipulatives to understand that maps and globes represent real places, the cardinal directions, and the hemispheres. Selected countries will be located on a map and globe. This lesson plan is for three days of instruction.

Where Is Japan? How Are We Alike and Different?
Students use literature, maps, and globes to understand how physical environments in various parts of the world are similar to and different from one's own, and that certain areas have common characteristics and can be called regions.

Where Is Japan? How Far Is That?
Students use literature and hands-on activities with maps and globes to understand distances and tools used to measure distance.

Web Links

Students use the four cardinal directions to find real places on a map.
Where is Japan?
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