Vermilion Parish 8th Grade Social Studies Unit 1 Activity 2

"Raising the Bar"

Activity 2: Identifying Louisiana’s Geographic Features

Activity 2:  Identifying Louisiana’s Geographic Features (GLEs: 2, 3)

Materials List: map of southern half of the United States, Louisiana waterway map, Louisiana road map, atlas, Louisiana hurricane evacuation routes map


Throughout the year students should construct maps with topics such as parishes and parish seats, regions of Louisiana, major cities of Louisiana, major battle sites, major landforms, etc.


Provide students with a map of the southern half of the United States, and have them draw a compass rose and locate the following:

  • Louisiana

  • Gulf of Mexico

  • Sabine River, Pearl River, Mississippi River (and designated boundaries)

  • 33 degrees north latitude, 31 degrees north latitude, 94 degrees west longitude

  • Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi

A map of the southern half of the United States can be obtained from


Provide students with various maps of Louisiana for inclusion in a portfolio and have them identify the following:

·         Waterways: Mississippi River, Red River, Atchafalaya River, Sabine River, Pearl River, Calcasieu River, Ouachita River, Vermilion River, Lake Pontchartrain, Toledo Bend, Lake Maurepas, Lake Calcasieu, Bayou Teche, Bayou Lafourche, Intracoastal Waterway.


A Louisiana Waterways Map can be found at and

·         Land regions: Using a legend (e.g., color code), students should represent the major land regions of Louisiana (i.e., Mississippi Floodplain, Terraces, Marshes, Red River Valley, Hills region).


A Louisiana land regions map can be found at the following site:


Provide students (individuals or small groups) with a road map of Louisiana (e.g., atlas, foldable), which illustrates various major transportation routes (e.g., I-49, U.S. 190, LA Hwy. 1). Offer several scenarios (one per student or small group) involving a starting point (e.g., Lake Charles) and a destination (Monroe or Poverty Point [Epps]). Challenge students to find the most feasible route (i.e., time, distance) between the two locations. Students are to write the “best” directions in a narrative format denoting cardinal and intermediate directions, distance between relevant points (using scale), landmarks (communities, points of interest, highway numbers), but omit naming the final destination (students are not to share any information with other groups). After every individual or small group has completed its task, have them provide their directions to another group (include starting point, but omit destination). Allow students to trace the route via the directions given (written or oral) and conclude what the final destination may be.  These websites have maps of Louisiana highways: and


Make a list of problems encountered in the mass evacuations from Southern Louisiana during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Provide students with a hurricane evacuation scenario. Have them write a narrative for a safe evacuation route from their home to a safer city during a hurricane evacuation. Students will use city maps and a Louisiana map with evacuation routes to plan their evacuation route. The route will be drawn on a map. Students will write a narrative explaining the route and why it was chosen using highway numbers and cardinal directions. These websites have Louisiana hurricane evacuation maps:


Additional Map Resources:

A Louisiana outline map is available at:

A fully zoomable Louisiana road map is available at:


Louisiana Waterways

The official State of Louisiana website will contain a large amount of the information required to identify the above items.


The Louisiana Map web site will allow students to locate most of the information required. Though it will require the viewing of several different maps.


Louisiana Map: The official geospatial portal for Louisiana

Building Background

Lessons and Resources

Unit 1 Interactive Link (Includes online interactives, interactive MS Word and PPT Templates)


Looking for a specific topic? Search our Vermilion sites below!

Key Code for Documents   = Internet Source   = Acrobat Reader   = PowerPoint   =MS Word   = Excel    = Inspiration   = Kidspiration 3  Video


8th Grade Main Link      Vermilion Parish for Kids!      Hurricanes for Kids!    LA Indians for Kids!    Louisiana for Kids Site   eHomework Pad for Kids!   Testing Site for Kids!

Vermilion Parish Curriculum Site (Correlates with 2008 Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum)


Vermilion Parish Schools (Louisiana)

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Stacy Bodin

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