A Mapping We Will Go

3, 4, 5

The purpose of this lesson is to have the students create a map showing the route from their school to the soup kitchen that they visited.  They will share the map and describe their experiences at the soup kitchen with their caregivers and/or classmates.

PrintTwo 45 Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • create a map using the six components: Title, Orientation, Author, Date, Legend, and Scale.
  • create a map that shows the route from the school to the soup kitchen/food pantry to demonstrate their understanding of location.
  • share their maps and experiences with someone at home or other classmates.
  • examples of maps
  • 12" X 18" drawing paper
  • colored pencils
  • rulers
  • five or six miscellaneous objects to place on their desks (book, pencil holder, eraser,etc.)
  • student copies of a street map including the route from school to the soup kitchen
Home Connection 

Have the students take the map that they created in classhome and share it with their parents. Ask them to also share their experiences about their trip. Ask students to create a map of a room in their home remembering to use the map-making guidelines that they used in class. This will be brought back to school and shared with the class.

  • DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne.  Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen.  New York:  HarperTrophy, 1997.  ISBN:  0688152856
  • MapQuest - https://www.mapquest.com/ Accessed June 2005


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask for volunteers to attempt to describe the route they took from the school to the soup kitchen (in Lesson Two). The students may try to recall the route using street names, cardinal directions, and landmarks. Encourage students to come to an agreement about the accurate directions. This may be an enjoyable discussion with different opinions that help students recognize the importance of a map (as an easier tool than a narrative).

  2. Ask the students how people get accurate directions when they want to travel to an unfamiliar destination (street map, computer map, verbal directions). Tell the students that today they are going to create an accurate map of how they traveled to the soup kitchen/food pantry.

  3. Pose the question for discussion: "What is a map?" Encourage the students to discuss and agree on a definition. Guide them to recognize that a map is a pictoral representation of a location.

  4. Explain that to start, they are going to create a simple map (a pictoral representation from a bird's eye view) of a very familiar location: their desk tops. Teach your students that there are certain things that are on all maps. An acronym for these parts is TOADLS: T-title; O-orientation (compass rose); A-author; D-date map was created; L-legend; S-scale.This could be used as a simple assessment, or rubric, for map making.

  5. Demonstrate the map-making process by drawing a map of the classroom on the chalk/white board. Have the students help you create symbols and label the parts of the map. Talk about how it is drawn from a "bird's eye view". Explain how you would draw your map to scale using measurements (but for the purpose of demonstration, make a quick sketch). Include the six parts of the map (TOADLS) on your sketch.

  6. Tell the students to choose five or six miscellaneous items to place on the top of their desks in any arrangement.

  7. Give the students a sheet of 12" X 18" sheet of white drawing paper, rulers, and colored pencils.

  8. Have them create a map of the top of their desk making sure that they include all of the parts of the map (TOADLS). This activity may be done by individuals or they can work with partners.

  9. Allow time and provide guidance as they create their desk maps. Give them time to share their creations with the other students around them. Use the TOADLS as a rubric to assess their desk maps.

  10. Day Two:

  11. Review the parts of a map (TOADLS) and the process that the students used to create their maps of their desks in Day One.

  12. Pass out copies of a street map that includes the school and the soup kitchen. Discuss the route taken to the soup kitchen on the day of the field trip (Lesson Two). TEACHER NOTE: A good resource would be to use a map tool such as Map Quest. https://www.mapquest.com/

  13. Students use rulers, 12" x 18" paper, colored pencils, etc. to create a map showing the route from school to the soup kitchen. Students should label landmarks and use symbols. They should measure distances and make a scale for their maps. The maps should be neat, colorful, and accurate.

  14. Encourage the students to include other buildings on the map: houses, faith organizations, library, hospital, museum, stores, etc. Discuss which buildings are used for nonprofit organizations.

  15. Discuss the characteristics of place regarding the soup kitchen. Talk about the location, what is around it, building materials, and how it compares to the soup kitchen in Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen.

  16. Students will take their maps home and tell someone about their experiences at the soup kitchen. Model for the students what you want them to share at home (using the map).


Evaluate the students' maps using the TOADLS rubric. The maps should include all six elements, and be neat, colorful, and accurate in order to get full points. TOADLS: The map should include . . . Title (capitalized) Orientation (compass rose) Author's name Date map was created Legend that explains symbols used Scale that shows how to translate map measurements to actual

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Describe the "characteristics of place" related to the school and neighborhood.