Where Are We?

Identify where you are on the globe and on a local map. Identify a purpose for travel, where you want to go, and how you can use map skills to support you in achieving your goal.



1.1 Students interpret maps, including the use of map elements to organize information about places and environment. Locate cardinal directions (e.g., north, east, south, and west) and apply them to maps and globes. (e.g. Plan a safe walking route from home to school; Locate Washington, DC on a map)




Sweeney, Joan “Me On The Map” (New York, NY: Random House Children’s Books, 1996).

Fanelli, Sara “My Map Book” (New York, NY: Harper Festival, 1995).

Ritchie, Scott “Follow That Map” (Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press Limited, 2009).

Warm Up

-Ask students to remember a time they got lost. Have them share what helped them to find their way.

-Discuss how maps help us find our way to places and the importance of knowing how to use maps. Compare using a map to the time they played the game and had someone to tell them where to go. 

-Read: “Me On The Map” 

New Material

Analyze the March On Washington map of the mall and the 1963 program.


1. Show a map to the class and point out features of it: mountains, lakes, states, (if using a US map) cities, compass rose, anddirections.

2. Introduce the words: north, south, east, west and place them on the board. Ask the students to share where they have seen and used these words before. Take time to discuss these with the class. Explain that we need to know where these directions are in order to beable to use them.

3. Place direction signs in your room, according to where they exist.

4. Explain to your students that you are going to play a game that will help them learn north, south, east, and west.

5. Play 4 Corners using the directions north, south, east, west. Pick one student to be “it.” They go up to the front of the room, close their eyes, and count to 10. While they count, the other students move to one of the direction corners and stay there. With their eyesclosed, the person that is “it” picks a corner using the words north, south, east or west, and whoever is in it, is out. Continue playuntil only one student is left. Management tips – have them practice silent cheering and silent getting out.

6. Bring students back and have them share what helped them to remember which direction was which.


1. Give students an unfinished map of your classroom. Have them draw in the objects that are missing using clues such as “draw a desk east of the bookshelf” or other clues, according to how your classroom is set up.

2. Go on a walk outside. Align the students with north, east, south, and west. Ask them which direction the playground, school, mountains, etc are.

3. Take notes of their use of the directions and those students that may need more work.

Closure and Reflection

Review the map of the mall used by MLK during the March on Washington. Discuss why and how it was used by the participants during the Civil Rights Movement.