1. Write the names of cities, states, countries, and major physical features from the continent or United States map you are working with on separate index cards.
Create one index card for each student. Tape one of the index cards to each student’s back.

2. Select a player to go first and have him or her stand in front of the group.

Select a player to go first. The player cannot see the place written on their card, but the rest of the students can.

3. Have the rest of the students refer to a map to familiarize themselves with the place.

Have students consult one of the large maps from the MapMaker Kit you are working with to pinpoint the location of the item on the player’s index card. Make sure the map is available so students can answer the player’s questions correctly; however, the player should not be able to see the map.

4. Have the player guess the place on their card.
The player must guess what the place is by asking geographic questions with “yes” or “no” answers. For example: Am I in South America? (yes) Am I on the West coast? (yes) Am I a river? (no) Am I a country? (yes) Am I long and skinny? (yes) Correct answer: Chile.

5. If the student has not identified their place correctly after a predetermined time, allow the rest of the class to offer hints.
Provide a time limit; for example, three minutes. After that, allow the group to help the player by using the map to give hints until the player either guesses or cannot answer correctly.

6. Continue the guessing game.
Have each student take a turn as the player, if time allows.

Subjects & Disciplines

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • ask and answer “yes” or “no” questions about the characteristics of a place to help them identify an unknown city, state, country, or physical feature
  • refer to a large map to correctly answer questions about a city, state, country, or physical feature

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Hands-on learning
  • Simulations and games

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 4:  The physical and human characteristics of places

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Index cards
  • Markers
  • Transparent tape

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Optional
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Large-group instruction

Other Notes

This activity is for use with any of the continent MapMaker Kits, or the United States MapMaker Kit. Select your area of geographic study from the resources provided and go to the corresponding MapMaker Kit page to download your map.

Background Information

Geographers use maps to show information to others. You can display physical, political, or cultural information, or use maps to illustrate specific themes and topics.

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None



large settlement with a high population density.


one of the seven main land masses on Earth.


geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.

physical features

naturally occurring geographic characteristics.


political unit in a nation, such as the United States, Mexico, or Australia.