Map Your Neighborhood
This activity challenges students to think about how their neighborhood is put together from a map view. In neighborhood groups, they will create maps of their neighborhood solely from memory.
Download the entire Map Your Neighborhood Lesson Plan
How does the shape that we give to our city, in turn, shape us?
Supporting Question: What makes a community functional, healthy, and beautiful?
I can create a map of my neighborhood.
I can find connections between my house and my group member’s houses.
Map Creation: 20 min
Presentations: 20 min
County Map: 15 min
Closing: 5 min
Total time: 60 min
Group student’s by neighborhood
One piece of chart paper and markers per group
Student access to GPS system. This could be an online mapping system, or phone GPS.
Discussion questions ready for projection
Create a map of your neighborhood that shows the streets, buildings, parks, and anything else important. Draw connections between your house and your group member’s houses.
Grouping: Group students based on the neighborhood that they live in. If your students all live in the same neighborhood due to school zoning, then your grouping can be flexible. If your students are coming from different neighborhoods, here are some recommended methods for grouping them:
Have students find out which school they are zoned for, and create groups from there.
Have your students identify their location on a county map. This will take some teacher guidance along with use of mapping technology such as Google Maps or GPS systems. Once everyone is located on the map, group them based on proximity.
Have students walk around and have conversations with each other about where they live in an effort to find a group that lives close to them. Here are some guiding questions to make their conversations productive: What busy street is closest to you? What school are you zoned for? Which grocery store do you go to?
Brainstorm: Have each group brainstorm what they think should be on a neighborhood map.
Neighborhood Map: Using blank chart paper and markers, ask students to draw a map of their neighborhood. It’s important that they do this without looking at a map. If groups are struggling, encourage conversations about their proximity to landmarks they are all familiar with.
Presentations: Let each group present their map and tell the class about their neighborhood.
County Map: Allow students to use GPS technology to accurately locate their house on a county map. If your students aren’t comfortable with people knowing where they live, then have them locate their neighborhood. Let them compare their neighborhood map to the county map, and discuss the differences.
What were the challenges to drawing a map of your neighborhood?
What were the challenges of locating your house or neighborhood on a county map?
What did you notice after comparing your neighborhood map to the county map?