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Launch into Maps! By: Megan Tolpa Geo 485 27 April 2004 Age/Time Grade: 4-6 Duration: 1 ~50 minute class session Overall Purpose To introduce students to maps and show that not all maps are the same but that they do exhibit similar characteristics.

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Launch into maps l.jpg

Launch into Maps!

By: Megan Tolpa

Geo 485

27 April 2004

Age time l.jpg

  • Grade: 4-6

  • Duration: 1 ~50 minute class session

Overall purpose l.jpg
Overall Purpose

  • To introduce students to maps and show that not all maps are the same but that they do exhibit similar characteristics.

  • Also, to demonstrate that a map of a place cannot carry all the information about that place.

Objectives l.jpg

  • 1) Students will use prior knowledge to construct a list of the different types of maps.

  • 2) Students will compare two different types of maps.

  • 3) Students will realize that not all information about a place can fit on one map.

Michigan geography standards l.jpg
Michigan Geography Standards:

  • II: Standard 1: all students will describe, compare, and explain the locations, and characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements. (People, Places and Cultures)

    Benchmark 3(le): Locate and describe the major places, cultures, and communities and compare their characteristics

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National Geography Standards:

  • Strand 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information.

  • Strand 4: The physical and human characteristics of places.

Materials l.jpg

  • paper for each group

  • Pencil

  • worksheet for each student

  • A city map and its corresponding state (one set for each pair)

Previous knowledge l.jpg
Previous Knowledge:

  • In order to start this lesson the teacher should ask the students, -“What is a map?”

  • After a little discussion on maps the teacher should share with the students a little background on maps.

    • A good source for this information can be found at This site gives some general information about maps.

Procedure l.jpg

  • 1) To begin the lesson, ask the students to work within their table to construct a list of all the different kinds of maps they have ever seen/used. (~5 min)

  • 2) Bring the class back together as a whole and have each group share their list.

    • As each group is sharing, the teacher will write a master list on a large piece of paper. The list may include:

      • A map showing a school campus

      • A map showing climate/weather

      • A political map

      • A topographic map

      • A map showing routes of explores, immigrants or trade

      • A map showing how different States voted in an election

      • A map featuring the agricultural products of an area

Procedure cont l.jpg
Procedure cont.

  • 3) Once the students are finished sharing their list, go back through the master list as a whole class and discuss what each type of map shows and how it may be useful to someone.

    • (~ 10-15 minutes, depending how long the list was)

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Procedure cont.

  • 4) Ask students some questions about the list to facilitate discussion (~5-10 min)

    - “Why do you think there are so many different kinds of maps”

    - “ What would happen if all the different items we talked about were displayed on the same map?”

  • This should help the students come to the realization that you can't display everything about a place on one map.

Activity l.jpg

  • To help clarify that maps exhibit similar/different elements. Have the students partner up (or the teacher can assign partners) and give each pair a map of a large city and a map of its state.

  • (~15-20 min)

  • -For example, students from Lansing or the surrounding area could have a map of Lansing and a map of Michigan.

  • Explain that they will compare the two maps looking for similarities and


  • Each student will be given a corresponding worksheet to fill in that will ask

    students to describe what they see.

  • *The teacher might want to address some items they could look at such as; lakes/rivers, cities, highways, streets, etc. to help get them started

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Procedure cont.

  • 5) Talk a little bit with students about what they have learned and inform them that the next lesson will teach them more about maps.

Extension l.jpg

  • As a follow-up to this lesson have students go home and watch the news, read a newspaper, etc.

  • Instruct them to write down (or cut of if they are looking at a newspaper) all the different types of maps they see.

  • Have the students bring them in the next day and their discussion can be used to recap on what was done in the previous lesson

  • They could also act as a lead into the next lesson.

Evaluation l.jpg

  • There will be three different times to assess the students.

  • -1) Assess the students on their participation during group and class discussions.

    -Was the student contributing to the discussion?

    -Did the student respect and listen to the thoughts of others?

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Evaluation cont.

  • 2) Assess the student’s worksheet from the activity.

    -Did the student compare/contrast the two maps?

    -Does it look like the student understands the differences between the two maps?

  • 3) Assess the students extension assignment.

    -Did the student do the assignment?

    -Did he/she have a list of maps they saw?

Sources acknowledgements l.jpg

  • Hardwich, Susan Wiley and Donald G. Holtgrieve. Geography for Education. NJ:Prentice-Hall,

    1996. 31-34.

  • Michigan Geographic Standards

  • National Geographic Standards

  • United States Geological Survey