1. Have students brainstorm descriptions of your classroom.
As a class, brainstorm a list of descriptions about your classroom. Write students’ ideas on the board. Make sure the descriptions include the following information:

  • the location of the classroom, such as its floor, its end of the hall, and what other rooms it is near
  • information about the classroom itself, such as what it looks like, who uses it, and what happens there


2. Categorize the descriptions by location and place.
Ask students if their responses are about the location of the classroom or the place. Place an “L” next to descriptions of the location. Place a “P” next to those that describe place.

3. Discuss the location and place of your classroom using the 5 Ws and a geographic perspective.

Continue to model a geographic perspective by asking students to think about how the location and place of their classroom affects them. Discuss the following questions:

  • Where: Where is our classroom located in the school? Is it close to the cafeteria? Or gym? Or exit doors? Does that make it noisy? Does it mean our class gets to lunch, gym, or recess first? Is the classroom on the ground floor or second floor?
  • What: What is our classroom like? What goes on in our classroom? What subjects are taught? What events happen? What do you personally like best about our classroom? Why?
  • Who: Who belongs to this class? Why is each person (student, teacher, aide) important?
  • When: When does our class leave for the day? When do other classrooms leave for the day? Is ours the first or last class to get dismissed because of its location?
  • How: How is our classroom arranged? Is it large enough for the entire class? How are desks and learning centers arranged? How do we use the different spaces within the classroom? How is it decorated? Why? Does everything work well in it? How do things like the condition of the heating or air conditioning or having computers in the classrooms affect you and your learning?
  • Why: Why is our classroom special? What makes it different from other classrooms?

Informal Assessment

Ask students to imagine that a new student will be coming to the class. Have students draw a picture of their favorite part of the classroom and, orally or in writing, describe for the new student where it is located (location) and what it is like (place).

Extending the Learning

Ask students to imagine that a new student will be coming to their class. They need to make the new student feel comfortable by sharing information about their class. As a class, develop a simple map or picture of the classroom. Have students take turns identifying where their own desks or specific learning areas are located.

Subjects & Disciplines

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • describe the location and place of their classroom
  • explain how the location and place characteristics of the classroom affect them

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Discussions

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

  • Paper
  • Pencils

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Large-group instruction

Background Information

A geographic perspective is a way of looking at the world. Location helps you answer where. Place helps you answer what or who. You can use a geographic perspective to learn more about your classroom.

Prior Knowledge

  • meanings of terms location and place


geographic perspective

a way to understand a topic or area using spatial features and relationships.


position of a particular point on the surface of the Earth.


area having unique physical and human characteristics.