Lesson Plans

Route Map Lesson Plan

Route Maps

Social Studies

3rd Grade



Students will be able to read and make a route map.

Students will be able to identify and make legends.


Materials Needed:

paper scissors crayons

pencils route map example



Anticipatory Set: Show picture of old map. Have students identify what it is and possible guesses for other markings on the map.


Explain to children that people have been drawing maps for thousands of years. Over 4,000 years ago, people in Babylon (modern-day Iraq) drew maps on clay. Ancient Egyptians made maps from papyrus, a type of paper, and also developed ways of surveying the land.

Over 500 years ago, people living in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean needed to be able to move between islands easily, for hunting and trading. They made maps out of sticks and shells. The sticks stood for the pattern of the ocean currents, and the shells marked the position of islands. The Inuit, native people of Greenland and Canada, carved accurate wooden maps of the coastline. They used these maps to navigate on fishing and hunting trips.

Religious pilgrims in the Middle Ages used strip maps with their routes across the country shown in straight lines. They read the maps from the bottom to the top of each column.


Practice: Explain to children that they will be making route maps. Show them the example. Show how the map is read from bottom to top. Have students follow step by step instruction. 1) Write a list of the different stages of a journey (making a not of interesting landmarks such as forests, towns, etc.). 2) Draw a road going down the middle of a large piece of paper. Make marks for every five minutes and clocks after every four marks (making half-hour increments). 3) Starting at the bottom of the paper, add cardboard symbols for the different stages of your journey. Don't worry about drawing things to scale. The main point is to get all the different stages in the right order.


When children want to take short cuts instead of drawing 20 trees introduce the idea of a legend. Show how to construct a legend.



Make sure that maps do not take up so much time that there is not enough time to introduce the legend. Explain clearly, and model everything possible.



I will determine that students can read and make a route map by observing the details of their own.

I will determine that students can identify and make legends by observing the legends on their route maps.




Discovering Utah Lesson Plan

3rd Grade

Social Studies



1. Students will be able to describe and locate the three main regions of Utah: the great Basin, Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau.

2. Students will be able to locate three main bodies of water in Utah: The Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake and Lake Powell.

3. Students will be introduced to and understand where they live in relation to land formations of Utah.


Materials Needed:

*Utah shaped sugar cookies *frosting (white and blue)

*Map of Utah *decorating sprinkles

*Jig Saw slips *plastic knives

*plastic baggies *Region map



Anticipatory Set:

Show students a sugar cook and explain that they will learn all they need to know to create a replica of the state of Utah of their own.


Show the students the classroom map of Utah and show them where they are located. Now show them The Great Salt Lake in relation to Millville. Show them where Utah Lake and Lake Powell are located on the map.


Explain to the students that they will now be discovering the three main regions of Utah on their own. Divide the students into their cooperative learning groups of three. Give each child a topic in which they will become "experts." Each "expert" group will meet in a different part of the room to discuss the most important things for their cooperative learning groups to know. When children feel they have learned their topics thoroughly, have them meet back with their original groups and teach the other two members what they have learned. Distribute the region map and the map of Utah. The groups will locate the regions on their own, and understand facts about them provided from their group members.


Students will now individually locate the regions on their own maps and transfer the location of the lakes from the classroom maps to their own maps. When their comprehension of the locations have been "spot-checked" the students will be allowed to get the cookie decorating materials from the back table.


Once the cookies have been decorated and checked, students will be allowed to eat the cookies!!!



The lesson should go over recess. Be sure to have decorating materials out before recess is over. Monitor the classroom to make sure that each team member is pulling his/her weight.



Students will show they understand the three main regions and bodies of water by locating them correctly on their individual maps and cookies.


Return to Homepage

Background Information
Children's Literature
Learning Goals
Lesson Plans
Culminating Activities