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Off to See the World!

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 2nd Grade
Standard 3


Utah LessonPlans


This activity includes several games that use the atlas and the globe.


Background for Teachers

Before doing these activities, it will be necessary for students to have completed their personal atlas from the Welcome to My World activity. Playing games in a cooperative group is a fun way to learn to use the atlas and the globe to locate information. As students look through their atlas to answer game questions, they will be able to use the tools of the compass rose and map key to help them come up with the correct answers.

By using cooperative groups to help answer the questions, students will be able to learn with their peers how to use their atlas and how to find answers. It will make all students feel that they are contributors and to be able to use their particular skills to help the group. Many second-grade students will not have the life experiences to help them with understanding geography, being in small groups will give the students a chance to learn from some diverse life experiences of those in their group.

Keeping the cooperative groups small and structured will enable the teacher to observe and assess the individual contributions to the group. It is also necessary to use small groups to help second grade students who are just learning to manage themselves and get along with others in a working situation.

This activity contains two games played in cooperative groups that will give them an opportunity to use the information collected in their personal atlases.

Intended Learning Outcomes

5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn

Take the class on a ride. Have them place their chairs as if they are riding in a car. Tell them you are going on a journey. The teacher is the driver. As you drive along, point out different sites you see. At some point, pull the car over and tell them that you are lost and don't know which way to go. Ask the students what you could do to help you reach your destination, leading the discussion to the importance of knowing how to use maps to help you get to where you want to go.

Suggested Car Riding Sequence
  • Get in the car and explain you need to find a particular amusement park.
  • Buckle seat belts.
  • Roll down your window so you can get a good view.
  • Start the car.
  • Drive.
  • Spot a grocery store.
  • Spot a post office.
  • Make a left turn.
  • Spot a zoo.
  • Spot a fire station.
  • Make a right turn.
  • Make another right turn.
  • Make another right turn.
  • It should be right here but it is not.
  • Try the dirt road.
  • Hit lots of bumps.
  • Hit a skunk.
  • This is probably not the way to the amusement park.
  • Try a steep hill.
  • Go down the steep hill.
  • Drive on the winding road.
  • I give up. I don't think we can find the amusement park this way.
  • I wonder what we could do to find the amusement park.

Instructional Procedures

Where's The Tourist?

  1. Each student needs their My Atlas made from the Welcome to My World activity.
  2. Place a map of the world, a globe, a set of clues and a tourist marker on each group table.
  3. Divide the class into six cooperative groups of four students each. Double up students on jobs within the group if you have too many students.
  4. Give each member of the group a
  5. If needed, discuss the duties of each job.
  6. Hand out the clues to the reader of each group.
  7. Give the students time to work together to read the clues and look through their atlases or on their globes to discover where to put their tourist marker, indicating they have found the tourist.
  8. When they have placed their tourist marker, the group raises their hands and the teacher checks for the accuracy of the placement of their marker.
  9. Students put a sticker on the appropriate continent or ocean on their world map page of their atlas indicating where they found the tourist. You can stamp or mark the map in some way if stickers are not available.
  10. When all groups have had their world maps checked, the teacher switches clues and the group starts over with new clues.
  11. Play the game until each group has had each set of clues.

Atlas Academy

  1. Students need their My Atlas made in the Welcome to My World activity.
  2. Divide the students into groups of three.
  3. Give each group a response stick.
  4. Post the Pocket Chart with the game cards inserted at the front of the room.
  5. Explain the point values of the cards. The higher the point value that is positioned in the front of each pocket, the more difficult the question.
  6. Call on a student to choose a topic and a question card.
  7. Read the question and the entire class must find the answer in their atlas.
  8. Each member of the group must know where the spot in the atlas is before the team can raise their response stick.
  9. The teacher recognizes the first group to raise their stick and calls on anyone within that team to show where the answer is found and orally answer the question.
  10. The points will be tallied on the board.
  11. The team with the correct answer gets to pick the next topic and question.
  12. Choose an appropriate award for the team with the most points at the end of the game.


Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration

  • Students could make their own, Where's the Tourist books and give to other students to find the tourist.
  • When grouping students for cooperative games, place students with special needs with those students who would be most helpful, kind, and a good model for the special needs student.
  • When playing the game, Atlas Academy, add questions that would require students to find things and places using coordinates.
  • Independent Learning Center Activities can be used to help students with special needs or those students who need enrichment. These activities will also help students who need reinforcement of map concepts taught in kindergarten and first grade. These are included in this lesson and instructions are written on each activity.

Family Connections

  • Students can play a different version of the Where's the Tourist game at home with their family by having the student decide on a place for their tourist to be and letting a family member ask questions until they find where the tourist is.
  • Students can take copies of the game cards from Atlas Academy home and ask parents or family members to find the answers by using the student's atlas.

Assessment Plan

  • Assessment can be made by observing students as they play the games. Watch for the ease or difficulty in locating the information as well as arriving at the correct answers. Also watch for individual participation within the cooperative group.
  • Journal entry: If you were in North America and you wanted to go to Antarctica, tell how you would dress, which direction you would travel and what you might see on your way.
  • Make a copy of the world map from the Welcome to My World activity and have students cut out and glue the labels on the map from memory.
  • Have Students use Continent/Ocean Riddle Match-up Cards and Continent/Ocean Cards to match up clues with the correct continent.


Research Basis

Lindauer, P., Petrie, G., (1997). A review of cooperative learning: an alternative to everyday instructional strategies. Journal of Instructional Psychology. Volume 24.3, p 183.

This article focuses on cooperative learning as an instructional strategy. It discusses the flexibility teachers can have in choosing how and what goals need to be accomplished. It also gives examples of effective cooperative learning strategies.

Castle, S., & Arends, R.I., The practice of teaching: cooperative learning. ERIC Source (ED350277). Retrieved November 21, 2005, from ERIC website

This is an analysis of the input of teachers who belong to a cooperative learning network. The data collected indicates that: (1) use of cooperative learning in schools has increased; (2) instruction has moved toward a more active, student-centered activity; and (3) teachers' knowledge about cooperative learning has increased.

Created: 06/26/2006
Updated: 02/05/2018