Introduction: A Lesson on Maps

This lesson plan is designed as an intoduction to map skills, aimed at Years 6-7 UK ( Ages 11-13), but can be tweaked to make it more age appropriate for younger/older learners. Of course this would be most useful in a geography lesson, but may also be useful to Scout leaders or walking groups to introduce children to different aspects of map reading.

This lesson plan is split into a Starter, a Main Task and a Plenary, to revise and cement the information learned, as outlined below:

Starter - Atlas-based quiz

Main Task - Map Battleships

Plenary - Map Bingo

Over the course of the lesson, the students will become familiar with a number of symbols used on maps, learn to use a coordinate grid system and be able to use this to talk about map locations with others. This skills learnt in this lesson can be build on in future weeks, by designing maps of the local area, using maps to naviate around real-world places or creating their own fantasy world maps.

Step 1: Starter - Atlas Quiz

This should take the first 10 mins or so of the lesson and can be set out as the students enter, so there is something to occupy their attention and minimise distractions from the beginning.

The individual questions will depend on the resources your school/group has access to. Here's a few questions to start you off:

- Find and draw the symbol for a View Point

- What does this symbol represent? (Insert map symbol of your choice)

- To what scale is the map on Page x drawn to?

- What signifies the steepness of a hill on a map?

If your school/group doesn't have access to many/any atlases, small sections of maps could be prinited off, or facts posted around the classroom for the students to find to help answer the questions.

Step 2: Main Task - Map Battleships

Of course the main chunk of the lesson should involve some direct teaching, to help the students become familiar with the symbols on a map and what they mean. The following task should allow them to practice using these symbols themselves, which should help them retain the knowledge. They will also practice using the grid system to identify areas of a map, and learn to communicate with others using it. In the teaching preceding the game, it may be useful to give the students a way of remembering which axis is called first in a grid reference. My teacher's taught me to use "Along the corridor and up the stairs", to remember the X axis was the first half of the grid reference and the Y axis the second.

To play the game, you will need 2 printed off grids per student, a key of symbols they can use, and something to put between 2 students to they other can't see their grid (a backpack would work fine). The game works the same as battleships, but with map symbols instead of boat types. It is important to tell the students beforehand the size the symbols should be; for example 'a forest must be three adjacent squares' or 'a lake must be a 2x2 square'. These instructions may be projected, written on a white board or printed off along with the grids. It's wise not to include 1x1 symbols, these make the game much harder to finish!

The students each set out their own map using the symbols provided, then take it in turns to guess the locations of their partner's symbols using gird references.

If you are planning to use this task with many classes, it may be beneficial to laminate the sheets, so they can be reused.

Step 3: Plenary - Map Bingo

They say repetition is the key to learning, so in the name of repetition, this plenary is designed to recap the symbols learnt during the lesson.

To begin, ask the students to draw a 3x3 grid on some paper, and add a symbol learned during the lesson to the grid. It would help to put a list of possible symboles (~15) on the board. They should draw the picture, rather than writing the word to enourage links between the two. When everyone is ready, the teacher should read a list of symbols, and the students cross them off as they match. The game can be extended by having a winner for the first 3 in a row, and for the first full house.

Maps Challenge

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Maps Challenge