Map courtesy National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning

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  • Students in early elementary can begin to learn spatial concepts such as identity and location and relative distance and direction when given opportunities to practice with maps of familiar places like a classroom. Use the text and prompts below to explore the provided classroom map with students. Then use our Mapping the Classroom activity to map your own.

     

    Try This!

    Pretend you are floating over your classroom, or perched above it like a bird. When you look down, you see the room from above.

     

    A map shows a place from above. A map is a drawing of a real place. This map shows a classroom. Put your finger on the rug. What else do you see near the rug?

     

    A map has four main directions. They are north, south, east, and west. Directions tell where things are. They help you read maps. Find the north side of the classroom.

     

    Prompts:

    • Is the door near or far from the bookshelves?
    • Is the teacher’s desk near or far from the rug?
    • Is the sink on the left or right side of the room?
    • Put your finger on the south side of the room. What things do you see on the south side?
    • What is on the north, south, east, and west sides of your classroom?
    • Use directions to write two sentences about things you see on the classroom map.
  • Books

    • Sobel, David. Mapmaking With Children: Sense of Place Education for the Elementary Years. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998.
    • Sweeney, Joan. Me on the Map. Dragonfly Books: New York, 1998.