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1. Maps are tools that people use to identify locations.

2. There are many different kinds of maps.

3. Maps contain symbols that represent real places.



A vital part of the social studies curriculum is teaching students a basic understanding of maps and globes. Map skills are taught throughout the elementary grades. The skills range from directional mastery, understanding the difference between a map and a globe, to latitude, longitude, map symbols, kinds of maps, the scale on a map and the geographic terms that accompany the many different kinds of maps and globes.

The Utah Core Social Studies Standard that covers map skills for first grade states that the students will understand beginning geographic concepts. The objectives include that students will identify map symbols which represent real things, identify the meaning of symbols on simple picture maps, identify the directions of north and south in relation to the North and South Poles, and construct a simple map of the classroom. These basic skills help to create a foundation that will be added to in years to come throughout a student's education.

Once learning takes place in other areas of study, students will be able to use their map skills to better understand their studies. Connections can be made with economic conditions, drought, war, historic events, and political education. These connections will teach the students to understand the information at a higher level.



Possible Teacher Questions
1. Who makes maps?
2. What are political, relief, and topographical maps?
3. What is a geographic term?
4. How many continents are there?
5. What are scales and a legends?
6. What are the different kinds of maps?
7. What are the prime meridian and equator, and what are their purposes?
8. What are longitude and latitude?
9. Where on the map are North America, Antarctica and Australia?

Possible Student Questions
10. What is a map used for?
11. Why are there different colors on a map?
12. Why are maps flat if the earth is round?
13. Why do we use symbols on maps?
14. How do we know how far away something is using a map?
15. What are some different types of maps?
16. How are maps made?
17. How come the mountains are flat on a map?
18. How do we find something if the map is much smaller than
what we are looking for?
19. Can we make up our own map symbols?
20. How do we tell others what our map symbols mean?




YETC Resources 

Edith Bowen Library 

Logan City Library 

 Web Sites

Community Resources 


Related Music 



Buckley, Susan & Leacock, Elspeth. Hands on Geography
Scholastic: NY 1993. ISBN 0-590-49361-5

Weltels, Garriet & Greisman, Joan Ill. By Blonder, Ellen. A Bird's-Eye View
Scholastic: NY 1995. ISBN 0-590-46621-6

Haslam, Andrew. Maps
Scholastic: NY 1996. ISBN 0-439-13717-9

Stoltman, Jospeth P. Teaching Map & Globe Skills K-6 . . . a teacher's handbook
Rand McNally & Company: Ill. 1992. ISBN 528-17723-0

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RESOURCES FOUND IN THE YETC (Utah State University Campus)


My World: Stories in Time
Harcourt Brace & Co.: New York City. 1997. ISBN 0-15-302044-4

Grow and Change
Houghton Mifflin: Boston. 2000 ISBN 0-618-01004-1


The Complete School Atlas: Revised Edition
Holt, Rinehart & Winston: Austin, Texas. 1998 ISBN 0-03-050818-5


Map Unit: Grades 1-3
Smith, Pamela.
YETC&endash;LP 033141. 1220 Map Unit.

Maps: 1st Grade
Slaugh, Roxanne.
YETC 022957. 1220 Maps 1st Grade.

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Weiss, Harvey. Maps: Getting From Here to There.
Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston. 1991

Cartwright, Sally. What's in a Map?
Coward, McCann & Geoghegan Inc.: New York. 1976.

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Frisch, Carlinne. Destinations: How to Use All Kinds of Maps.
The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.: New York. 1993.

Smoothey, Marion. Let's Investigate Maps and Scale Drawings.
Marshall Cavendish Corporation: New York. 1995 ISBN 1-85435-778-6

Ganeri, Anita. Maps and Map Making.
Franklin Watts. New York. 1995. ISBN 0-85078-273-2

Sleep, Mark C. W. Maps and Map Making.
Wayland: East Sussex, England. 1983. ISBN 0-85078-273-2

Haslam, Andrew. Make it Work: Maps.
World Book: Chicago. 1996. ISBN 0-2166-1754-4


Maptastic Voyage

MacMillian Software.
JCD-Rom (212181K) 912 Map.

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OBJECTIVE(s): As a result of this activity, the students will:
1. Locate specific places in the school on a map.
2. Visit specific places in the school setting such as principal's office,
restrooms, lunch room and playground.
3. Learn rules and responsibilities associated with specific settings
including places within the school that are off limits.
OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:
1. Use a map to locate six specific landmarks in a given area.
2. Individually, and as a group, write a list of how maps and
landmarks can help us.
3. Write an explanation of how to get from point A to point B
to someone unfamiliar to the area.
A story about a girl who goes on a hot air balloon ride and sees the park in several different ways. Lesson plans are included for: view from the ground, view from a higher point, view from overhead, symbols and legends, learning directions on a map, map grids and map scales.
This address contains several social studies lesson plans including the following:
1. Better than Breadcrumbs: Maps and Symbols&endash;understanding maps through the story of "Hansel and Gretel".
2. Learning a New Environment at the beginning of the year and feeling comfortable at school.
3. Learning Physical Geography Through Making an Edible Map!
This address contains several map lesson plan ideas including:
Reading a Jolly Map
and more!

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A field trip to a farm or to Willow Park could compliment this unit. The students could follow a map of the farm or park or make one as they visit the animals. This is a good way to combine social studies, science, art, writing, and reading into one activity.


Travel Agent.
A travel agent could be invited to come speak to the class. They could show maps of different places and show an itinerary (this would show another way of mapping a trip). Other maps that they might encounter on a trip are airport, city, hotel, or campground maps. This could show the students that there are different kinds of maps.

Parents could be invited in the classroom to discuss such things as how to plan a trip, how to find an address, or how to write directions to another person's house. It is important to let the students know that everybody uses maps almost daily.

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This Land Is Your Land
My Aunt Came Back From Timbuktu
State or country songs

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Edith Bowen Library

Carlstrom, Nancy White (1992). Baby-o. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company.
As an Indonesian extended family prepares for a trip to the market. They travel on a bus to the market. The family goes to the market and then come home.

Hartman, Gail (1991). As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps. New York:Macmillan.
The eagle has its favorite place to go, just like the rabbit, crow, and other animals. All the animals have their own schedule, but they live in the same area.

Little Red Riding Hood: a pop-up book. (1988). New York : Derrydale Books.
Little Red Riding Hood goes to her grandmother's house. She must travel through the forest to get there. She encounters a wolf on the way. The wolf follows her to her grandmother's house.

Marshall, James. (1994). Hansel & Gretel. New York : Penguin.
A poor woodcutter's children are playing in the forest. They leave a trail of bread crumbs so that they can find their way home. They come upon a house made of cookies, cakes, and candy. The house is occupied by a wicked witch who likes to have children for dinner.


Merrill Library

Tresselt, Alvin. (1953). Follow the Road. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.,Inc..
The road travels through many settings and environments and goes in many directions. It travels over hills, through valleys, across train tracks, and around parks--all over the world! (Abstract provided by Laura Thamann) (It was not available in the library this week.)


Logan City Library

Rockwell, Anne F. (1994). The Way to Captain Yankee's. New York: Macmillian Publishing Company.
Miss Callico wants to visit her friend captain Yankee. She looks at her map and sets off. She gets lost and has to look at her map to see where she went wrong.

Field, Rachel. (1990). A Road Might Lead to Anywhere. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.
Roads can lead to anywhere, to a cave, to a witch's house, to Maine or Mexico.

Kirby, David. (1991). The Cows are Going to Paris.
The cows are tired of the country, so they hop on a train to Paris. They see many things as they travel to Paris and they stop at many sites as they travel through Paris.

Suggested by

Reiser, Lynn (1993). Tomorrow on Rocky Pond. New York: Greenwillow Books.
A child can't wait to go fishing on Rocky Pond so she can see animals
and have picnics. It's a day full of adventure and fun. (Abstract by Michelle Prosise)

Adoff, Arnold (1988). Flamboyan. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
A little girl is named Flamboyan after a tree that is the color of her hair. One day, she imagines she is flying over her city, and she tells of all that she would see. (Abstract by Jennifer Schenk)

Bang, Molly (1988). Delphine. New York: Morrow.
Delphine receives a present from her grandmother, but she must go to the post office (far away) to get it. Delphine encounters many exciting adventures on her way to pick up the present. (Abstract by Jennifer Schenk)



Children's maps:
Have students construct maps of environments they are familiar with such as classroom, home, bedroom, playground etc. Show students how to use symbols to represent items and then put them on a map key or a map legend.
Materials: Paper for each child or group, pencils, crayons.
Time: 30 min

Bird's Eye Views:
Have children put objects on their desks then draw what those items would look like when viewed from above.
Materials: Objects from the classroom (let students choose own) paper, pencil, crayons.
Time: 20-30 min

Highway maps:
Use old road maps and have students locate items that are found on the legend.
Materials: Old highway maps
Time: 15 min

Label the classroom:
Label the classroom with the cardinal directions and play Simon Says using the terms.
Materials: Labels for north, south, east, west placed appropriately in the classroom
Time: 15-30 min

Orienting Maps:
Have students orient their maps to the directions of the labels in the classroom. Have students turn their desks to face North. Then have students point to places on the map that are in the direction specified by teacher or other students.
Materials: maps for each child or group, labels for north, south, east, west placed appropriately in the classroom.
Time: 15-20 min

Mapping origins of toys:
When students bring toys to school for show and tell the teacher can place dots on the globe to show where the toy was made. Students will learn to recognize the names of foreign places and that not all things are made close to home.
Materials: Globe and sticker dots
Time: 5 min

Treasure Maps:
Give children maps and directions to lead them to a treasure somewhere in the classroom or school (depending on ability and age). Students can also make their own treasure maps.
Materials: treasure maps and directions to someplace in the school or classroom, treasure, if children make their own maps provide paper, pencils and crayons
Time: 30-45 min

Have students draw a map of the route a character takes in a book. (Little Red Riding Hood's trip to Grandmothers, Hansel and Gretel's journey through the woods, etc.)
Materials: Story book, paper, pencil, crayons
Time: 30-45 min

Bulletin Board:
Use the bulletin board to map the classroom. Later map the school. For older students you could continue on to neighborhood, city, state etc. Talk about how the areas change as the maps include more things and larger areas of the environment.
Materials: bulletin board, map of classroom, school, etc. this can be one that the students have created previously.
Time: 10-15 min

Pen Pal:
Find a class in the school, or another school nearby or in a distant city to be pen pals with. Help students locate where the other class is located (using map of school, city, state etc.) Either write a letter as a whole class, or allow students to write individual letters to individual students.
Materials: Paper, pencils, or for younger students, chart paper to make one letter, a pen pal class, map of appropriate area to locate other class
Time: 15-20 min (depending on the length of letter, how many times you write to pen pal class and if students write their own letter.)

Cookie Map:
Use a cookie (for young children just a square) and have them frost the cookie and add candies, sprinkles etc. to represent the objects in the classroom. ( M&M's =students' desks etc.) Students can also create a legend.
Materials: Cookies, (square to represent classroom), frosting, candy and/or sprinkles to represent objects in classroom.
Time: 15-20 min

Finding Maps:
Have students look through newspapers, magazines, and travel brochures to find maps. Have them identify what it is a map for and why it would be found in that particular place. They could also cut them out and make a bulletin board with their findings.
Materials: newspapers, magazines, and travel brochures, scissors, paper, pencils
Time: 15-25 minutes, depending on how many maps can be found in the resources.

School Tour:
Retrieve a copy of the school map. Have the students locate places that they know. After they have studied the map, use the map as a reference and find different places on the map. Finding places that they are not familiar with would be an excellent addition as they will have to use the map to find it.
Materials: A map of the school
Time: Up to an hour. Discovery maybe 15-30 minutes, touring the school could be done at a different time and may take 10-20 minutes.

Where have you been?:
Obtain a state, country, and world map. Have the students tell places that they have been. Place a paper with their name on it on the place that they have been.
Materials: Maps of the state, country, and world, paper, markers.
Time: 15 minutes. This could be done a little bit a day as with each paper placed there is a story attached.

Real Pictures vs. Map:
Show students pictures of different places. Good ones include bridges, buildings, rivers, or other prominent places. Then show the students a map of the same place. This activity lets the students see a "real" picture along with the map. They can also see how different pictures are used to represent things in the real world.
Materials: Pictures of "real" places and their corresponding maps.
Time: 10-20 minutes depending on how many pictures and maps are analyzed.

Hide and Seek:
Students make a map of the classroom. They then hide an item somewhere in the classroom and give clues to where it is. Using a map, the students can find the object.
Materials: Paper, writing utensils, item to hide
Time: 1 hour. It will take the students time to make the map and time to play the game.

To practice remembering right, left, forward, and backward, the game Hokey-Pokey could be played. North, South, East, and West could also be used.
Materials: None
Time: 10-15 minutes depending on the variation.

Right and Left:
Teach the students ways that they can remember which hand is right and which hand is left. Put a sticker on their right hand, as a visual way to remember. This could be extended to teaching of East and West. Stickers with and "E" or "W" could be placed on the hands. Be sure that students know that this only works if they are facing North.
Materials: Stickers
Time: 10 minutes.

Land and Water:
Have students discover the color of water and land (grass, dirt, etc.) Have them discover what the colors on the map represent.
Materials: Map with land and water.
Time: 10 minutes.

Globe or Map?:
Show the students globes and maps. Have them make a list of what a globe is and what a map is. Pull out other examples and have the students decide where they would fit.
Materials: Globes and maps.
Time: 10 minutes.

Culminating Activities

Zoo or Farm:
Take a trip to the zoo or a farm. The students could follow a map of the farm or zoo or make one as they visit the areas.

Mapping Routes:
Provide maps of the school and/or the neighborhood. Have children trace routes to various places. For first graders it may need to be as simple as a map of the classroom and trace a route from students desk to teachers desk, pencil sharpener etc.


Lesson Plans

Parts of a Map

Wendy Hales
Grade 1

Students will be able to identify specific parts of a map by placing the labels in the correct places.
Students will know how to use a key by identifying the symbols and circling the correct symbol.

Materials Needed:
Street map, map of amusement park, treasure map, map poster with key (labels: map title, map key, scale, symbol, compass rose) worksheet (see attached), book: The Way to Captain Yankee's.

1. Have you ever been lost? How were you able to find your way? I want to read you a story about someone who got lost and how she found her way. Read story: The Way to Captain Yankee's.
2. Talk about how Miss Calico used a map to find her way to her friend's house.
3. Show map poster and talk about different kinds of maps.
4. Show the three different maps and talk about what each would be used for.
5. Explain that all maps have certain parts.
6. Describe the parts of the map and label them on the map poster. Have students repeat the names of the maps. Show students the same parts on the other three maps.
7. Describe the map key and symbols last. Explain to the students that the map key "unlocks" the meaning of the symbols.
8. Show students how to find a place on the map by looking at the map key.
If I want to know where the movie theater is I can look at the key to see what the symbol for the movie theater is and find it on the map.
If I see a letter on the map and want to know what it means, I can look at the key and see that it is the post office.
9. Have students come up with some questions to help find places on the map.

1. Hand out map worksheet to the students.
2. Begin by asking them to circle the police station with a blue crayon.
3. Next ask them to circle the fire station with a red crayon.
4. Then have them circle the school with a green crayon.
5. Have students cut out the labels and paste them on the correct places on the map.



Map the Classroom

Wendy Hales and Camilla Webb
Grade 1

Students will be able to design their own map of the classroom and include a title, compass rose, and key with symbols.

US Map, paper (see attached), coloring supplies, Post-its

1. Anticipatory Set: Pass out Post-its and have students write their names on them. Show US map. Have students tell one place they have visited and have them put their post-it on the map in the location. (Help students find the location)
2. Point out the key, title, compass rose and symbols. Show rivers, lakes and mountain symbols.
3. Review directions: N, S, E, W. Ask questions such as: Which direction is the listening center?
4. Tell students that if a substitute came to the class they might have a hard time finding the supplies that we have. Ask students if they can think of something they could do to help the sub find the supplies. Help students decide that making a map of the classroom and the things in it would help the substitute.
5. Put up overhead of the attached paper. Have students tell where things in the class are that could be added to the map. Have them tell which direction (N, S, E, W) they are too.
6. Hand out the attached paper and have students add to their maps. Make sure they remember to include a title, compass rose, and a key (they should add their own symbols to the key)
7. Have students sit with their partner and share their maps by asking, "find _____ on my map."

Help students who may be having a hard time understanding cardinal directions and left, right by making sure that their paper is facing North.

Look at the students' maps that they have drawn and make sure they included a title, a compass rose with directions and a key.
Have students play a game where they hide an object and then point to a symbol on their map. The other student then has to find the object by looking at the key and determining what the symbol is. The hidden object will be found near the actual object that the symbol represents.