Lesson 2: Mapping Counties

Grades K–4

words to know

Strand: Map Literacy

Skills and Objectives

  • bullet Visualize census data on a map
  • bullet Use a map key to read a population
  • bullet Understand the concept of population

Materials: Mapping Counties Student Worksheet 2, American Samoa wall map, pencil/pen

Time Required: 45 minutes

    Getting Started

    Draw students’ attention to the American Samoa wall map. Demonstrate that the map includes the boundaries and names of each county in the three districts of American Samoa, as well as the population of each one based on Census 2000. Use the map key to explain how colors make it easier to understand how the population differs from one county to another.

    Using the Student Worksheets

  1. Before distributing Student Worksheet 2, discuss the concept of population density. Explain that although one county might have a similar population to another one, the density of its population will be different if people are spread out over a smaller or larger area.
  2. You can illustrate this by having students move from the classroom into a gym or cafeteria. What do they notice about their group as it moves to a larger area?
  3. Distribute Mapping Counties Student Worksheet 2. Help students color in the map key, using the colors that are shown on the American Samoa wall map for identifying population density. Then, using the map key, guide them in identifying and coloring the counties shown.
  4. Discuss the five counties that appear on the worksheet. How are Leasina County and Sa‘ole County similar? How are they different? Have them compare Lealataua and Ma‘oputasi counties on their own. What statement can they make about Tualauta County? (Leasina and Sa‘ole are similar because they have similar population figures. They are different because Leasina is much larger in land area than Sa‘ole. Lealataua has a larger land area than Ma‘oputasi, but Ma‘oputasi has many more people than Lealataua. Tualauta County is the most densely populated of the counties.)


Explain that a census is a way to find out how many people live in a place. Discuss how Census 2000 gave mapmakers the information needed for the American Samoa wall map, and that the 2010 Census American Samoa will help to make a new, updated map.

Teaching Options

Younger or less skilled students can focus on how the map depicts the island on which the students live. Point out the approximate location of the school. Draw students’ attention to the map key (or legend). Explain that the key unlocks the meaning of the map. Have students discuss what each symbol means. Another option is to ask students to create a symbol for their homes on a printable outline map of American Samoa and include it in a map key. Help them choose a color for that symbol. Then help them to place the colored symbol for their homes on their maps.

Older or more skilled students can create a map of their school at different times of the day to show the differences in population density at key times (e.g., lunch, gym, recess, during class changes).


Student Worksheet 2: a) Leasina County; b) Sa‘ole County; c) Lealataua County; d) Tualauta County; e) Ma‘oputasi County

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