Map your school!

Resource Info

Basic Information

Maps are magical! Holding a map is like holding a whole world in your hand. Imagine the thrill of creating your own map! Here is an activity that will encourage your students to take a better look at their school and will help them put to use what they learn about maps from their texts.

(All day)

By drawing a map of their school, students will not only understand what goes into making a map (symbols, notation, scale, etc.) but will also take a better look at their school!



Thinking spatially
Rough estimation of sizes, directions
Understanding colour codes and using them
Imagining an aerial view of a place
Understanding maps
Learning to read maps and understand the information/symbols on them
Working in groups

Activity Steps: 
  1. This activity is best done following or during the chapter on maps.
  2. Precede the activity with a lot of map reading excercises. Ask for information like:
     What lies to the east of …?
    What is the largest state?
    How do you know the directions?
    What is scale? How can we represent huge distances?
  3. Divide children into groups (ideally 3-4 per group).
  4. They can go out and make observations. Each group can be assigned 1 floor of the school building. Common spaces like playgrounds etc can be present on all the maps.
  5. First, ask them to make the map on rough sheets showing details of what room comes where (larger details only). Check their rough maps for errors – they will need guidance to first understand the placement of rooms etc, when seen from the top. They might need some handholding and probing questions to get them there.

6. Once the larger details are in place, they can go into each room for details like windows, doors, cupboards etc. They can also put in details like people's desks and chairs  (headmaster, teachers in staffroom, visitor chairs etc). Showing the people on the map can be a really exciting activity!

7. The amount of detail that they want to represent on the map is upto them.

Note: It is important that they understand that maps are essentially abstractions and are meant to contain relevant information. Details are omitted to allow for easy readability.

8. Check for corrections with respect to scale, position/direction and perspective.

Is the chair as big as the wall?
Is the board nearer to the window or the door?
Is there a door on this wall? etc

9. Once corrections, clarifications etc are made and the map is finalised, give them fair sheets (A3 sized 140-200 gsm cartridge papers if possible) to draw neat depictions. Encourage use of ruler to make straight lines.

10. Once the map is done in pencil, ask the students to draw the lines using a black pen.

11. Write in all details – students can use symbols etc to represent details like chair, table, teacher, student, pipes, etc. Help them create neat, simple icons.

12. Add colour. Tell them how colours can represent information like green for a playground, brown for indoor rooms, blue for water sources etc.

It might give a neat finish to use limited colour – for example shaded strokes along the outlines alone than solid colour filling the entire space.

13. Ask the students to draw a key (list of notations/symbols/colours used with explanation) at the bottom of the map.

14. Finally each group has to present their map to the rest of the class.


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