1. Have students draw Europe's borders and physical and cultural features.

Give each student a copy of the blank map: Europe Without Borders. Ask them to think about what they’ve learned over the course of this unit, and draw what they now know about the physical features, cultural features, and borders. If students have difficulty, write the following list on the board:

  • compass rose
  • the border between Europe and Asia
  • the prime meridian (0º longitude), which runs through England
  • oceans
  • borders of countries in Europe
  • country names
  • rivers, mountains, and other physical features
  • areas where different languages are spoken and where particular religions are found
  • historical country borders in Europe and how those have changed


2. Have students compare today's map to the same map from Lesson 2, Activity 2.

Ask each student to revisit the comparable map they drew for Lesson 2, Activity 2 of the Beyond Borders unit. Have them compare it to their map from Step 1 of this activity. Ask students to identify new physical or cultural features on their maps that they did not know before, by highlighting them or making a list on the back of today’s map. Ask: What have you learned?


3. Have students compare ideas about Europe from Lesson 2, Activity 2 to today's ideas.

Ask students to revisit the lists of ideas they had about Europe from Lesson 2, Activity 2. As a whole class, review the ideas from Lesson 2 and ask students to describe how some of their ideas have changed. Encourage students to use the vocabulary they learned throughout this unit in their descriptions. Also encourage students to focus on concepts learned rather than discrete facts; for example, students should know that there is much language diversity in Europe versus the names of specific countries.

Informal Assessment

Ask students to write a summary of the similarities and differences in their maps from Lesson 2 and Lesson 10, including how well they can see changes in their own understanding. Evaluate students' Lesson 10 maps and summaries.

Extending the Learning

Have students make connections to current events in other parts of the world.

Subjects & Disciplines

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • draw country borders and physical and cultural features of Europe on a blank map
  • compare what they now know about Europe to what they knew at the beginning of the unit

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Discussions
  • Hands-on learning
  • Reflection

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

  • Theme 3:  People, Places, and Environments

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 1:  How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Lesson 2, Activity 2 completed Europe map
  • Lesson 2, Activity 2 list of ideas about Europe
  • Pencils
  • Pens

Required Technology

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

Physical Space

  • Classroom


  • Large-group instruction

Background Information

During this unit on using maps to understand European physical and cultural landscapes, students used maps to think about how borders intersect physical and human geographical features, and how those intersections can lead to cooperation and/or conflict. Students developed skills in map analysis and mapping that analysis to specific situations. They explored case studies in Europe and in their own communities with the goal of seeing maps as tools for understanding our world. Recognizing what they have learned and reflecting on that learning is critical to students' success in this unit. Gathering information about how students perceive Europe, its land, and its people at the beginning of the unit of instruction can be useful as a guide to help shape the lessons that follow. Comparing initial and final maps, questioning, and ideas is an instructional tool that will help you to identify future areas of study, how students' understandings have changed, and how to critically analyze and reflect on students' participation in the unit.

Prior Knowledge

  • None

Recommended Prior Activities

  • None



natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.


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


sixth-largest continent and the western part of the Eurasian landmass, usually defined as stretching westward from the Ural mountains.


set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.


symbolic representation of selected characteristics of a place, usually drawn on a flat surface.


landmass that forms as tectonic plates interact with each other.


large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.

physical features

naturally occurring geographic characteristics.


imaginary line around the Earth running north-south, 0 degrees longitude.


a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.


large stream of flowing fresh water.

Articles & Profiles