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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

Launch into Maps!

By: Megan Tolpa

Geo 485

27 April 2004

age time
  • Grade: 4-6
  • Duration: 1 ~50 minute class session
overall purpose
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.
  • 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
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

national geography standards
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.
  • paper for each group
  • Pencil
  • worksheet for each student
  • A city map and its corresponding state (one set for each pair)
previous knowledge
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.
  • 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
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)
procedure cont11
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.
  • 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
procedure cont13
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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

evaluation cont
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
  • 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