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Map Trap

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 1st Grade
Standard 3 Objective 2

Group Size

Small Groups


Calbert Beck
Kristen Cottrell
Stephanie Seely


Students will correctly map the locations of landmarks found around their school, correctly identify physical and man made features on a map, and locate a compass rose on a map and/or globe.


  • Outline of school grounds
  • Me on the map, by Joan Sweeney
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Student Prior Knowledge

Maps are used to find things.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to map the features on the school grounds, and identify continents, oceans, rivers, the North/South poles, and the equator on a map/globe.

Instructional Procedures

Session #1
Anticipatory set:
Read the story Me on the Map, by Joan Sweeney.

Practice and Application:
Draw an outline of your classroom on the board. Tell the students that you would like their help in mapping the classroom on the board. Ask the students to give you items that they believe should be mapped. Write the list on the board.

Once the list is complete, have the students help you map the items listed by using cardinal directions.

Have the students copy the map of the classroom onto paper, and color.

Session #2
Anticipatory set:
Hand out the school grounds outline, and the mapping chips. Have the students cut apart the mapping chips. Help the students draw an outline of the school on their school grounds map by modeling on the board.

Practice and Application:
At this point, it would be beneficial to take a walk around the grounds, looking for landmarks that they could put on their map. Point out the playgrounds, parking lot, flagpole, fire hydrants, crosswalk, recycle bin, trees, etc.

Once back in the classroom, tell them to look at the mapping chips they cut out. Ask them if they can identify the landmarks that they need to "trap onto their map". They will want to color these chips.

Through modeling, or guided practice, you can assist them in correctly placing one, some, or all the correct landmarks onto their map. While discussing the possible locations, try to prompt the use of the cardinal directions.

You can initiate group work by using a jigsaw format. Break the students into 4 groups. Each group will work on placing a different individual landmark on their map. Once they have correctly placed their item, regroup the students so that each group has one member from each previous landmark group. Each student can assist their second group in correctly placing the item they initially placed on their map with their first group. Through teamwork, they can complete their maps, and finish by coloring.

Place the landmarks on your map, or on the board, so they can check their maps for correct placements.

Session #3
Anticipatory set:
Hand out the U.S. and world map handout from the "I can compass" attachment. Tell them to color all the oceans blue.

Practice and Application:
State "We are going to trap more landmarks onto our maps today, but we will do it by drawing them in". Proceed to draw major landmarks on the U.S. map, modeling where to place the Great Salt Lake, the Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Great Lakes, etc.

Then tell them to look at the world map (display one to the class as well if you have one). Ask them to label the North and South Poles. Then tell them that there is one more important man-made feature we need to trap.

Hand out the pieces of string, have them repeat this chant with you several times: "There is a big alligator, who hates to be cold, so she stays in the middle, that is what I am told! She is the equator alligator, and she can be found swimming in the middle, around and around!"

Discuss how the North and South poles are always cold, hence why they are white on the maps. Discuss with the students that the poles are always cold. Ask the question, "Where would the warmest place be?" The answer you should prompt, or give if necessary, is somewhere in the middle. Show them the equator line on your map and explain that although this is not an actual landmark that you can physically see, it is something that is represented on all maps. Have them glue the string on their maps while repeating the song/chant.

Finish the world maps by modeling how to create, or have them create, a compass rose for their maps.


Extension for Session #3: Have them draw a picture of the equator gator on the back of their paper, and write down the chant.

Created: 06/18/2010
Updated: 02/04/2018