Mighty Map Skills

Lesson Plan Title: Mighty Map Skills
Developed by: Michele Vance, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota

email: bvance@drtel.net

Subject Area:  Geography
Topic: Map Skills
Grade Level:  Grade 2
Time Frame: 1 day
Lesson Summary: This lesson is intended to introduce students to the following concepts of a map:  birds-eye view, grid, coordinates, scale, map keys, symbols, and the compass rose.  The students will use maps of locations that they are familiar with to discover these new concepts.
Prerequisites: The students will have a basic understanding of maps and their general purpose.

Social Studies Standard 2.G.1.2. Students are able to use simple map reading skills to identify the map title, label four directions on a compass rose, and interpret the symbols of a map key/legend.

Lesson Objectives:

The Students will learn: The students will be able to successfully use the compass rose, map key, and the grid.


      Birds-eye view




      Map key


      Compass rose

      Map title



Worksheet to determine if each student can identify and use the map grid, compass rose and legend.

Technology to be Used:


Other Materials: Materials required maps of Storybook Land and Aberdeen, the book The Secret Birthday Message, The book Maps and Symbols by Angela Royston
Procedural Activities:

Task analysis explaining birds-eye view

      I will place a chair on a desk and ask the students to describe what they see.

      Then I will have them stand up beside their own chair and look down.

      I will have the children describe how and why it looks different.

      I will tell the children that maps are made from a birds-eye view and ask if they know why?

      I will ask If we were birds flying through the air, what would we see when we looked down?

 Anticipatory Set

      if you have ever been to Storybook Land.  Do you think Storybook Land is very big?  Do you think that people could get lost there?  If someone asked you how to get to the balloon ride, how would you tell him or her to get there? (I will choose one child to give me directions)  Do you think that the person you told would understand and be able to arrive there without getting lost? What do you think would help them so they would not get lost? (When the children have come up with the solution of a map, I will continue) 

Lesson Body

      I will read The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle.  When we reach the end, I will ask a student if they can retrace the directions that Tim received to find his birthday present.  I will allow other children to help the child if they have difficulty recalling Tims steps.  (It is rather complicated and probably will not be able to remember all of the steps.)  I will use this to point out the necessity of maps.  We will review the route Tim took with the map provided on the final page of the book. 

      We will use the Maps and Symbols book to discuss what a map is.  We will do the task analysis and discuss birds-eye view.  Using the book again, we will discuss direction, grids and coordinates.   I will pair up the students and give each pair of students a map of Storybook land.

      I will ask each group to use the grid to find certain locations on the map.  I will have the students use the coordinates to find the object on the map. They will record what object they found and a color description of the object.  By giving the color of the object, I will know that they used the grid and found the actual location. 

Modification:  For those children who have a difficult time understanding directions, we will do the first location together to be certain all of the children understand the task.

Modification:  I will pair up students who I think will have trouble with this activity with the more advanced students.  I will inform the students that they will have 10 minutes to work on this activity and that more time will be provided later for groups that have not finished this task.

      I will ask the students if they know of anything that is missing from the Storybook land map.  If they are having difficulty, I will prompt: how they will know what direction they are going and how they will know where the bathrooms are located. I will ask the students to move their maps and papers to the floor.  I will then display a large map of Aberdeen and we will discuss the following vocabulary terms:  compass rose, map key and symbols.  We will refer back to the symbols used in the book and decide whether the students understood the symbols in the beginning of the book.  


      I will ask questions and then read a story called The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle.  (verbal-linguistic)

      I will give each student their own map of Storybook land when discussing the terms.  (visual-spatial)

      I will have the students work in groups of two or three to locate items on their map.  (Interpersonal)

      I will have the students pretend their bodies are a map and they have to find locations according to the directions found on a compass rose.  (bodily-kinesthetic)

      I will have each student work alone to complete a worksheet to assess their learning. (intrapersonal)


Attachments: Map Skills Final Assessment