Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11067

Did pirates have a GPS on board to help them find treasure? Of course not! They used maps! Understanding maps is important! You will learn how to make your own map and directions to buried treasure!



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

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Have you ever imagined yourself sailing on the salty ocean waves like a pirate? Can you see yourself digging up lost pirate treasure? Of course you can! In this lesson, you are going to learn about using maps and making maps just like the pirates once did!

Watch the video Maps - an intro for kids - Sanger Academy (below) to learn more about different types of maps.

While you are watching the video, write down on a lined piece of paper five different things maps can show you.

Maps - an intro for kids - Sanger Academy:


Read Why use Maps? at Ask about Ireland to learn more about the usefulness of maps and how we use them today.

The first and most important part of the map is the title. The title tells us what the map is showing. For example, look at the map below. What does the title tell you about the map?

1911 map of Oakland

Image by Key System, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1924 and 1977 without a copyright notice.

Another important part of a map is the scale. The scale tells you the relationship between the actual distance on earth compared to the distance on the map. The Map of Oakland and Vicinity above has a scale drawn right below the title in the upper right-hand corner of the map.

A key or map legend is another important part of a map. The key tells you about important landmarks on the map. The Map of Oakland and Vicinity above has a key in the lower left-hand corner, which shows the different railways in the city.

The last important part of a map is the compass rose. The compass rose tells the map reader the four directions: north, east, south, and west.

compass rose

Watch What Are the Parts of a Map? by Geolounge to review the different parts of a map:


Continue on to the Got It? section to make a map of a familiar place!

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