Students become mapmakers
By: Judy Carnine, Franklin Township Middle School Indianapolis, IN
Lesson Plan for Website(s):
Purpose: Students become mapmakers
Grade Level(s): upper elementary/middle school
Geography Standards addressed:
The World in Spatial Terms: 1) How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective. 2) How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places and environments in a spatial context.
Materials Required: pencils, paper, rulers
Upon completion of this activity students will be able to:
1) accurately place latitude and longitude lines on a
2) determine the need for various map projections
3) demonstrate understanding of map scale
Students will need to be introduced to longitude and latitude, map projections and map scale in advance of the activity. This can be done by using the Website address listed above. This activity requires more than two class periods.
1. As a class, determine the map projection that should be used based on the desired outcomes. Explain to students that they will be making a map of the continent of Africa (or other continent of current study) that must include a map scale, latitude and longitude, major cities and physical features. (The teacher may add other map essentials to the map as needed.)
2. Using a large map of the world, determine what scale should be used.
3. Give students a list of major latitude/longitude lines such as: International Date Line, Prime Meridian, Equator, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Arctic Circle, Antarctic Circle.
4. Allow students to choose five major cities from a list provided by the teacher for use on their maps. The cities must be accurately placed according to latitude and longitude.
5. Monitor groups carefully.
Based on correct placement of major latitude/longitude lines, major cities and drawing map to scale.
Adaptations/Extensions: Have students draw a map of their school to scale. Have students determine similarities in vegetation and weather patterns north and south of the equator. Have students draw a map of their choice using a different map projection and explain why that map projection is important.