A Place of My Own:
A Study of Maps


This unit incoperates the importance of map skills with an integrated approach to writing and mathematics. In this unit we tale a trip through the city, county, and state of the stutdents. This is appropriate for the fourth grade.

The unit is kicked off by exploring lots of different maps of about Utah. The student will investigate the maps and comp up with questions they have about maps. These questions are written down and stored in the Geography Folder. The Geography Folder is where all the work through out the unit is stored. At the end of the unit the papers will be bound and made in to a brochure of the state.

The students will study a map of their city and located a color important place in their city such as their homes, school, etc... The students make a map key of the colors they used and what they stand for. The will write a paragraph about what they have learned and store it in the Geography Folder.

We next move to studying the county in which the students live. We look at a map that has the various resources avaible in our county. The students answer question about the map. This teaches them the importance to looking at the whole map and studing it. The students write a paragraph about what they learned about their county and store it in the Geography Folder.

Next, we move on to studing about their state. This is the main portion of the unit. The students study maps displaying the regions of their states, i.e. mountains, basins, and plateaus. They study the elevation and make salt dough maps of Utah, their state. This lesson plan goes as follows:


My State:Salt Dough Relief Map



Students will demonstrate their knowledge about maps and place landforms in the proper place as they create salt dough maps.

Students will locate the placement of lakes and one river in the state of Utah and also place this on their salt dough maps.


  • 9 cups of Flour
  • 3 cups of Salt
  • 3 cups of water
  • Food coloring
  • Card board cut out of state (1 per cooperating group)
  • 10 tooth picks per group
  • 10 labels
  • All the maps they have made throughout the unit
  • A variety of maps of Utah
  • Map Key telling what color belongs to what
  • Pen and pencil


  • Divide students into cooperating groups.
  • Hand out map key.
  • Explain that each group will be given a variety of colors of dough. The map key tells us exactly which color goes where. Each group will use this dough to make one relief map of Utah. They will need to place each of the landforms listed on the map key in the proper place. Remind them about elevations. Tell them they can use any of the maps they have made in class and any of the maps in the classroom.
  • Pass out supplies.
  • Once they have the landforms on, give each group 10 toothpicks and labels. Explain that with these they will write on the label the name of the landforms. They will then put the labels on the toothpicks and gently stick them into the landforms.


Bring the class back together. Discuss how they went about doing this project. Discuss what worked, what didn't. Let the maps dry and display them in the room.


Have the students write a paragrah about what they learned about their state.

The main writing part of this unit can either be done as the unit is progressing or after the Salt Dough Map activity. The teacher will read Roxaboxen by Alice McLearren.

The students will make a mpa of their own imaginary place ot a place they would like to live or have played in the past. The students will write a story about thier place. Take the students through Writer's Workshop. Illustrate and publish the stories.

For More Information:
Aprel Mendenhall
2138 E. Powerhouse Rd.
Spanish Fork, UT 84660

Return to Top of Page or Table of Contents for Dr. Monson's Class Units