Materials List: variety of maps (street, city, state, etc.), drawing paper
Ask students what they would need to help them find their way around a place they have never been to before. Introduce the term maps. Explain to students that maps can show different places. Tell the students that a map can represent a small area like the classroom or a larger area like the community. Show students a variety of maps. (e.g., street maps, city maps, state maps, etc.) Have the students look at the maps to find things that are alike on each of the maps.
Ask students: When using a map, how can one tell which way to go? Locate the compass rose on a map. Tell students the compass rose shows where the directions north (N), south (S), east (E), or west (W) are located on the map. The compass rose helps people know which direction to go when looking at maps. Have students locate the compass rose on different maps.
Have the students find the map key on different maps. Tell the students that the map key contains symbols that represent places and things on the map. Discuss with students reasons why symbols are used on a map.
Have the students sketch a simple map of the classroom, then create a map key which contains symbols that represent different things in the classroom (e.g., the teacherís desk, the book shelf, studentsí desks, etc.). Using the cardinal directions, have students place the symbols from the map key on their map to represent where the different items (e.g., the teacherís desk, the bookshelf, the studentsí desks, etc.) are located in the classroom.
Next, put students with a partner to sketch a simple map of the school or community. Have students label things that would be found on their map, and create a map key. Have students create five questions for other students to answer about their map (e.g., What direction is the school from the library? What does the symbol ? stand for?). Allow students time to exchange maps and answer the questions provided.