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6. Introduction to Mapping - Part I


To learn about map elements and use them to find map locations
Understand the idea of map scale
Students learn how to pace

Materials Needed:

  • Compass - take lesson 1 & 2
  • Pencils, rulers
  • Graph paper, tape measures
  • Maps of the local area, state, and world
  • Treasure map (pdf)
  • Map Puzzle (pdf)

Teacher’s Guide:

  1. Put a map of the area, state, and world up for reference during the discussion
  2. Decide if you will be navigating the school grounds or working indoors
  3. Place small flags to delineate boundaries or use easy to identify boundary markers, such as trees, buildings, etc.
  4. Make 2-3 sets of 4-6 lines 2.3 feet apart on the ground with chalk or tape (should be a fairly easy step for your students to take while walking).
  5. Practice pacing yourself along the lines.
  6. Following the Master Map, tape a different coin (e.g., penny, nickel, dime, etc.) in areas within the boundaries where they won't see it during discussion time. It can be hidden under a rock, next to a tree, etc.
  7. Discuss the points of the compass. Ask students: Point towards Canada? Mexico? Where does the sun come up? Go down? Point North, South, East, West. Mark the points of the compass on the classroom walls.
  8. Divide the students into groups of 3-5.
  9. Students will practice pacing, walking and stepping on the lines to learn how to take the same size steps.
  10. Discuss the 2.3' measurement is the scale at which the students will use to find their treasure.
  11. Students will select the "treasure hunter" in their group.
  12. Treasure hunters will move to the side of the room away from their teams.
  13. Give a map to each group showing the location of their treasure (coin) and the type of coin.
  14. Direct the treasure hunters and their group to the start location on their maps or write it on their maps.
  15. Each student in the group will take turns giving one set of directions (2 paces to the north, etc.) to the treasure hunter pacing out the steps as they did in practice.
  16. Return to the classroom and start a discussion of maps. Do a brainstorm and write ideas on the board. Ask students if they have ever used a map? What for? What do they usually see on maps? (List things they mention.) Can a map tell you distances? How? Are distances the same on all maps?
  17. Using the Treasure maps, have the students draw them to scale (1" = 2.3') on the graph paper.


Student Guide »

Introduction to Mapping - Part 2


Compass - navigational instrument for finding directions

Map - a diagrammatic representation of the earth's surface (or part of it)

NatureMapping Activities

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