Using a Map to Locate Places
- Learn what a map is, and the geography it represents.
- Learn some of the basic map elements, including compass, scale, and borders.
- Use a map to locate states, capitals, and National Parks.
"Hunting for States, Capitals, and National Parks!" Reproducible 2 (PDF)
What You Will Do:
Begin with a discussion about maps. Ask: What is a map? What do you already know about maps? Make a list of students' responses on the board. Explain to students that maps show the locations of different places: countries, states, state capitals, and other places, too. Point to the map and show students the outline of the United States. Then show them the states (including the state where they live), capitals, and some of the National Parks. Tell students: Without this map, it would be really hard to know where all these places are.
Next, explain to students that every map has tools to help us read the map. Use the map to show students the following:
- - Explain that most maps have a compass that shows which way is north. Maps usually show north pointing straight up. Point to the compass on the map, showing which way is north.
- - Also, maps show where locations begin and end. Point to the map to show students the borders that divide each state.
- - Finally, explain to students that most maps show a scale, which allows us to calculate the distance between two places. Demonstrate how to use the scale to figure out the distance between places.
When students have become familiar with some of the basic elements of the map, explain that every state has a capital city where important decisions, such as laws, are made. Call out the names of states and capitals, and ask students to look at the map and respond with the corresponding capital or state names.
Make copies and distribute "Hunting for States, Capitals, and National Parks!" Reproducible 2. After students have answered the questions on the reproducible, review the answers as a class.
Answers: 1. Olympia, Mt. Rainier National Park; 2. Texas, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park; 3. Tallahassee, Everglades National Park; 4. South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial; 5. Albany, Statue of Liberty National Monument; 6. Maine, Acadia National Park.
Teaching with the Poster (U.S.A. Map)
Ask students to identify the different animals on the poster. Then have students describe the geography where each animal lives. Ask students to name an animal that lives in the mountains, in the desert, and near the ocean. Ask: What animal would you find at a National Park in or near your state?