Maps of Home

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10134

Maps are important -- not just for directions, but for understanding the world! You will play map reading games, make maps of your neighborhood, and create a collage art piece of a place of interest!


United States

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


If you could drive, would you know how to get to your favorite park? Do you know the different directions and roads it would take to get there? What about trying to get to the nearest beach; would you know how to get there? Unless you live next to one, you probably would need some help. What could you use to find the directions?

Perhaps you have heard a parent or other adult ask Siri for directions, or have seen them use a GPS device or GPS on the phone.

Ask an adult what the letters GPS stand for. Now, ask yourself how Siri and the GPS know the directions.

Before GPS, most people had an atlas, a book of maps, in the car. Ask your teacher if he or she had one in the car. Where would you get a map today?

Maps are wonderful for helping you find directions, but how else can maps be used?

Maps are useful for showing what a geographical region looks like. They can also show you physical traits, like city names, river names, and border lines.

Maps can also be more detailed and show you different patterns across an area, like patterns of precipitation, population, or dialects.

Even though there are many types of maps, there are a few characteristics common to all of them. Do you know what they are?

Maps have a legend or key, a compass showing north, and a scale.

To learn more about the parts of a map, watch Parts of the Map, by Elizabeth Contreras. Answer these questions after you have watched the video:

  1. What is the purpose of a legend or map key?
  2. Why is a map compass, or compass rose, helpful?
  3. Why is a map scale needed?


Now, take a moment to explore Google Earth. If you launch this site in Chrome, you can see any location on the planet. Search for where you live, or click on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" icon in the left-hand sidebar. (It looks like a square with five dots inside.) This will take you to random locations around the world. Zoom in and out to really experience this 3D map.

  • Did you enjoy exploring the Earth?
  • How do you think they made maps before satellites could see the Earth from above?

Travel on over to the Got It? section to create your own map!

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