Map skills is a unit that is not in my standards and I’m not required to teach; however, I do think that it’s important to refresh my students’ memories as to what they learned in previous years. Sure, they most likely know the cardinal directions, how to use a grid to identify a specific location, and what a scale on a map is for. What I found was that my students knew certain terms, but were not able to apply them when actually working with maps. I created this map skills unit to help my students take their understanding up a notch and dig deeper into various map activities.

Perhaps one of the first things students learn in a unit on maps are cardinal and intermediate directions. On this page of the unit, I describe what a compass rose is, where the directions are, and students need to demonstrate their understanding of the passage by cutting out the directions and placing it on the correct space on the compass rose.

Map grids are another skill that students typically understand, but are sometimes confused as to what comes first – the letter or the number. I always tell my students to think of a grid on a map (or a coordinate grid in math) like an elevator. You have to get in the elevator before you can go up. I have my students imagine that they walk over to the elevator, then the elevator goes up to the floor they want to stop in. With this activity, students are engaged because they are given 10 different pirate symbols and are asked to cut them out and glue them onto the grid within the island. Then, students can either write down the location of each item, or they can switch papers and have a friend solve it.

Another way for students to show their understanding of a legend and a compass rose is to create their own map. Students can draw their own map, complete with symbols that they identify in the key. I always try to tell my students that the symbols do not need to be very detailed, but must somehow represent the object they are referring to.

**Map Skills Unit**. You can click on that link to see a full product description in my TpT store. In addition to the pages above, you will receive 19 posters with pictures and definitions, 4 activities for latitude/longitude, 5 activities for using a scale, 4 activities for using a key, 4 activities for using a compass rose, and 4 activities for using a grid. What’s nice about having multiple pages for each skill is that you can use one as a whole class activity, 2 for the students to practice on, and another to use as a quiz and take for a grade.

Suzy Q says

Using the scale is sometimes a tricky skill to master…glad to see plenty of practice in your packet!

Kristi Smith says

My kidlettes over the years have had the most difficulty with intermediate directions…even with all of the fancy schmancy rhymes =D). This looks like an absolutely wonderful resource, Melissa <3.

Sabrina de Sousa says

My kids would gain so much knowledge from this resource! Some seem to constantly struggle with map skills. Thanks for this chance. =)

breedesousa@yahoo.com

Sabrina de Sousa says

I had to be more specific. My kids struggle with using map scales and determining the distance from point A to point B.

Melanie Arizmendi says

My students have a hard time finding out how to correctly use grids. They tend to forget what comes first! =(

Ariane Huddleston says

I just love your new look! Congrats on a fab design. 🙂

-Ari

Stephanie Billings says

LOVE what you created for map skills! My students would love this!

Fishing for Education Blog

Melissa says

Thanks Ari! <3