Students will study a map of their school and then create a map of their classroom.
Background for Teachers
Maps are all around us and we use them often throughout our lives.
Students should realize maps represent a much bigger picture, and that
they can make a map to represent many different things.
Intended Learning Outcomes
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Have students play "I Spy" in the classroom. Before they begin,
remind them to pick big objects in the room such as the teacher's
desk, student desks, chairs, etc. You want them to focus on objects
in the room that would be placed on a map of the classroom.
- Introduce the situation of someone else coming in the room
and wanting to find something. Ask students what you could
give the person to help him/her find, for example, where the
teacher's desk is, or where the reading table is.
- Discuss with students why we use maps and share with them a
brief history of maps and how they were and are made. Share
any books you may have about maps and how they are made.
- Give each of your students a map of your school and let them
investigate it in table groups and discuss what they see. In a
small group, let them play I Spy with the map and see if the
others can find what they are looking for. They can use the
vocabulary "I spy the office, can you?" The other students
should locate and point to the correct spot on their map. At
the end of the activity, gather students together and have them
share the things they noticed on the map.
- Have each student take their map and go on a walk around the
school with you. Point out different features on the map. Help
students to understand that although the classrooms are big in
real life, when placed on the map, they have been made much
- Bring your students back to the room and tell them they are
going to make a map of the classroom.
- Have them list items they will include on their map (desks,
chairs, books, tables, etc). Remind them when you look at a
map, it's as if you are standing on the ceiling looking down, so
objects on the walls won't show up as easily. You might want to
show a model of a room (cardboard box with doll furniture, or
building blocks made into a simple house layout, etc.) -- that the
students can look down on and see a map you have drawn to
represent the room as an example.
- Using a map of your classroom, similar to the My Classroom and
the Classroom Furniture demonstrate for them how you would
make a map of the classroom, making sure to discuss that many
items have to fit on the map and therefore the items placed in
the room have been made very small.
- After demonstrating, give students a map of the classroom and
have children glue cutout, paper objects in the room according
to how they really are. Let them wander around the room to be
sure they have placed them in the right place.
Reciprocal Treasure Hunting
- Have students bring a small treasure from home for a treasure
hunt that they are willing to give to someone else to keep. You
could supply small, simple items such as pencils, stickers, etc.
- Prior to the activity, hide five to six small containers filled with
simple treasures and a small notebook. Place the containers
throughout the school. Make maps leading to the small
- Explain to the students that they are going on a treasure hunt,
and that they are not only going to get treasure, but will also
be able to hide treasure for someone else. They will also have
the chance to write in the notebook that is included in the
container, about their adventure.
- Divide students into five or six different groups. Give the first
group a map of where a treasure that you have already hidden
is. Send them to find it, with their map, and the treasure they
brought with them. When they find the container, they take
a treasure inside and replace it with the treasure they brought
from home. Continue until all students have received a new
- This can also be extended to use as a whole class with other
classes. Together, you can write the directions of where you hid
the treasure, send them to another class to find the treasure,
and then hide something for you to find.
- Have students make a map of their bedroom or house and
return it to school and share. Discuss the differences between
the rooms and houses and how they still serve the same
- Send home a map of the school, and have students list
directions for getting from the classroom to another area in the
• Make a map of your classroom and place some objects in the
wrong place. Have students identify which items are in the
wrong place, and draw a line to where they should be placed.
• Given a blank map of the playground, have students draw in
where they would place the swings, slide, etc. to best serve the
• Collect maps they made and put in to students' portfolios to
Jitendra, A. (2002). Teaching students math problem-solving through graphic representations. Academic Research Premier. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
This author shares a study done on students with learning
disabilities in regards to their mathematical ability. They found that
students were much more successful using graphic representations
than doing math the traditional way.
Bowers, S. P. (2005). The portfolio process: questions for implementation and practice.
Academic Research Premier. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
In this article, we learn about the best practices the author found
in introducing and using portfolios in your classroom as a tool of
assessment. It also discusses some challenges that may occur while
creating portfolios and some ways to handle those challenges if they