Even as maps have gone increasingly digital, they still play a large role in our lives. Whether you’re using it for transportation, planning a hike or trip, considering moving or renting or buying a house, or just want to learn about the geography of your country and the world, map skills are an important tool for students to develop. 

Our pre-made map skills lesson plans are fully customizable and include fun activities that will keep students engaged whether in an online or in-person environment to accommodate for blended learning models. These lessons and activities make up a small portion of the more than 1,500 standards-aligned lesson plans, classroom activities, and educational games

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Reading & Understanding Maps

It’s important that students are able to read and use maps at different scales so they get used to them. To do this, students should look to the map legend to see what symbols are used. They should also be familiar with reading a compass and the concept of cardinal directions.

This is also a good opportunity to discuss similarities between the globe and a map and cover the geography of the world as a whole. To help students better understand this concept, they can practice identifying continents and oceans. This opens up many new places for students to learn about – use this opportunity to get students excited about the diversity of the people and cultures around them!

Map Skills Activities

Maps are highly functional and the best way for students to get used to using them, is to practice! One of our most popular tools is our classroom floor planner, which features a handy selection of objects that can be used to recreate your classroom, or design a new one entirely. For a fun twist, try searching our image library (the rainbow asterisk) and set a custom background!

Another activity that adds context to map skills lessons is identifying US states on a map. To further practice this, play Snake featuring US states and state capitals! Finally, for a close-up view of places and monuments from around the world, our photo of the day activity includes 50 awe-inspiring images to choose from.

More Social Studies Lessons from Gynzy

Ultimately our hope is that students acquire and master all the skills they’ll need to be successful in their chosen studies and decisions. We hope these map skills lessons and activities help educators as they continue to develop their curriculum and work with students.

While you’re working on this subject, be sure to check out the rest of the social studies lessons on our Library.