directions on a map

Level: High Beginning 

Age: 2nd grade through adult 


For this lesson plan, you need several maps (which are supplied).  One map should not have any of the states marked, one map should have all the states marked, and two maps should each be missing labels for eight different states.  (I’ve used a map of the United States here, but you can use a map of the world or a map of the country you are teaching in.  You choose what works best for you and your students!) 


Student Learning Outcomes: 

·  Students will be able to give location information for states on a map, using correct grammatical structures. 

·  Students will be able to give location information for states on a map, using the correct sentence stress.  

·  Students will be able to identify US states. 







Vocabulary: States/Directions 

You are trying to elicit information from the students.  Show students a blank map of the U.S. Ask students:  

·   Have you traveled in the U.S?  Which states have you visited?  (If a student knows a state, have them come up and write it on the map.) 

·   Do you know any other states? (Don’t let them get so many that they sabotage the later activity.  Stop after 4 or 5.)  This time you write in the states they know to save time.  

·   Go over “north,” “south,” “east,” “west” 




To give a location of a state, we can say where it is in relation to other states.  For example, if someone asks, “Where is Kansas?”, we can say:  

·      Kansas is south OF Nebraska.  

·      It is north OF Oklahoma.  

·      It is east OF Colorado.  

·      It is west OF Missouri.  

Practice two or three other states: “Let’s try another.  What can we say about Missouri?”   

“Where is California?”  (Introduce phrase “ON the west coast.”  Ask students for the name of a state on the east coast.) Make sure students note the use of prepositions “of” and “on.” 




Pronunciation practice:  

·   Sentence stress: The nouns (the direction and the state) are the stressed words.  The “be” verb and the preposition are unstressed. (KANSAS is SOUTH of NEBRASKA.)  Have students practice some sentences with you, using the correct stress.  Clapping on the stressed words is helpful.



Information Gap Activity  

·   Hold up a map, so students can see some of the names are missing. Tell students, “You will work with a partner.  You will need to help each other find the names of the missing states.”  

·   Group students in pairs, sitting back-to-back.  Distribute maps – Partner 1 has Map 1 with the names of 6 states missing; Partner 2 has Map 2 with the names of 6 other states missing.  

·   Give directions: Each partner will need to find the name of 6 states.  Partner 1 with Map 1 will ask ‘Where is Delaware?’  Partner 2 will answer by saying which state it is north of, south of, east of, and west of. Sts. should label states as they go.  

·   Reverse roles so that Partner 2 with Map 2 now asks for the locations of their missing states.   

·   At the end, show the map with ALL the states labeled, so that students can check their answers.  

During this activity, you will walk around, monitoring that students are using the correct structures