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Map My Way

Software: Google Maps , Thinglink
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In this lesson, 2nd-grade students will learn about maps and develop essential map reading skills to make outdoor adventures fun and build their confidence. Using and reading maps also helps children develop spatial skills. This means they can analyze and understand their experiences with the places and spaces around them, from their local neighborhood to the world. With this lesson educators can use tech-based activities to teach map skills that are developmentally appropriate and enhance spatial thinking abilities in young children.


Lesson Overview

Overview Activity Objectives
Opening Activity Learners design a route map of  their neighborhood.
  • Understand maps. 
  • Identify places around their neighborhood with the help of maps. 
Main Activity Learners will discover various American states with the aid of ThingLink, and subsequently organize a trip to the state that piques their interest or excitement the most.
  • Discover various states of America and organize a trip afterwards.
Closing Activity Learners will present their trip plan and reflect on the outcomes with their peers.
  • Assess their trip plan to a state, and develop ways to improve it.


Prior Knowledge:

Learners should be able to:

  • Understand a map of their school neighborhood/classroom.


Lesson Objectives:

Learners will:

  • Identify and build an understanding of maps.
  • Explore different states of the United States.
  • Plan a trip around one of the states of the United States.
  • Share their trip planning with peers.


Learning Outcomes:

Learners will be able to: 

  • Use a map to describe the route from their home to school.
  • Explain learners about different states of the United States.
  • Apply this knowledge to plan a trip to a selected state.
  • Displaying their trip planning with peers inspired by the state fair.




Pre-lesson Prep

  • Like all lessons on Eddy, this lesson follows a certain approach. If this is your first time implementing an Eddy lesson, check out our lesson approach for more information.
  • Prepare necessary logistics in advance.
  • Prepare necessary technology/hardware in advance
    • Devices (tablets/laptops/Chromebooks/computers) - one per team
    • A stable wifi connection.
    • Access to Google maps and Thinglink on each device.
What can I do if I allocate more than three students per group?
In the event of more than three students per group, guide students on ways to be equal, making time within the group to ensure everyone gets their share of hands-on learning. You can also assign the responsibility of monitoring equal making time and an opportunity to voice opinions to one team member.
How does creating maps lead to durable learning?
Engaging students in stories develops learners' imagination skills. However, learning maps is a life skill; one can understand better through hands-on activities. Through hands-on, learners can utilize the map skill learned, connect it to the real world and apply the knowledge when required.
How will a virtual walk with Google maps help learners retain and enhance spatial thinking abilities?
Google Maps can help children improve their spatial understanding through virtual exploration. It provides a safe and controlled way for them to observe the placement of objects and landmarks and engage in problem-solving. This can enhance their spatial thinking skills and encourage curiosity.



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Slide 3, 5

Introduce the ground rules, lesson norms, and team roles to students. You can check out our lesson approach if it’s your first time conducting an Eddy lesson.

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Slide 6

Introduce learners with the opening activity by asking: “Are you familiar with the places around your school?” 

Provide some time for responses and then share, “Well, how about we find out today?”

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Slide 7

Then apprise them of the task for this section by sharing that they would be designing a map of the route from home to school first by observing on Google Maps and then by creating it on paper.

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Slide 8, 9

Introduce learners with the basic definition of maps.

Give some examples to the learners to introduce maps such as:

  • Educators can use a zoo map to show the kids where they can find their favorite animals and teach them about the different animal habitats.
  • Use a park map to teach the kids about the park's features and plan a fun outing.
  • Draw a simple classroom map, labeling the different areas, such as the reading corner, art area, and play area. This helps the kids become familiar with the classroom layout and helps them learn about maps and symbols. 
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Slide 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Introduction to Google Maps 

  • Get students to navigate on their devices to this Google Maps link.
  • Guide your learners by creating a map and looking around for the places near their neighborhoods.  
  • Guide your learners that their job would be to identify the various objects near the street and to draw different shapes as directed by the maps worksheet.
  • As this activity is about exploring the school neighborhood, educators can modify it according to their school location on Google Maps.
  • Here are some simple steps to help educators accommodate the changes.


To demonstrate how to use Google Maps and Thinglink for the activity, use this video tutorial

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Slide 15

Consolidate learning and invite students to share reflection questions.

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Slide 16

Introduce learners to the main activity, where they will discover various American states and subsequently organize a trip to the state that piques their interest or excitement.

NOTE: As a less logistics-intensive alternative to Google Maps, teachers may check out these alternative activities.

What if students need to be more forthcoming with responses?
Ensure that you maintain a safe space in the classroom for students to be confident in case of wrong answers. Time and again, declare that it is a judgment-free zone and that every response is valuable. For simple “yes” and “no” responses, encourage learners to use a simple “Thumbs up, thumbs down” response style.
How does the Map designing activity help the learner acquire map skills?
Following a familiar route from their school to home will help students to place landmarks/shops/hotels on the side of the street, and this will, in turn, allow them to acquire basic spatial skills.
How can I adjust the activity for learners who require more support?
Simplify the activity by providing them with pre-made maps or templates with various symbols. This will help them focus on the process of recognizing the places around their neighborhood with the help of various symbols developing their fine motor skills and spatial concepts.
How can I adjust the activity for my more advanced learners?
Provide them with more open-ended tasks that require them to use critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. For example, you could ask them to design and build a map of a particular famous street. You could also encourage them to explore the concept of various symbols.





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Slide 16

Share that in this lesson section, we would begin by learning about the different states of the United States. This means we know about the locations of other states on a United States map and explore some fun facts about the state in the meantime.

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Slide 17

Next, walk learners through the different tags they will be discovered of a state based on the first alphabet of their team name:

  1. Name of the state
  2. Fun facts about the state
  3. How will you get there?
  4. What food should you try?
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Slide 18, 19, 20, 21

Introduce learners to Thinglink:

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Slide 22

Begin by stating, “Which state was most exciting to read about? If you could close your eyes and teleport to one state, which one would it be?”

Now pause for learner response or questions, if any. 

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Slide 23, 24

Introduce the trip planning activity to the learners

Let's embark on an exciting journey of planning a trip today! Each group of learners will focus on their state and explore Thinglink to create an unforgettable trip. The students' handout will provide learners helpful questions to guide their planning process. Let's get started!

Assist the learners with valuable suggestions on how to plan a trip productively. As someone keen on exploring new places and cultures, a well-planned trip can make all the difference in ensuring a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Therefore, guide learners with the help of some guiding questions on how to plan a trip effectively:

  1. Which state do you want to visit, and why?
  2. What are the things you want to see and do in that state?
  3. Who will be traveling with you, and how will you get there?
  4. What is the weather like in that state? So what kind of clothes do you need to bring?"
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Slide 25

Play the timer on the screen for learners to be mindful of completing the task on time. 

What if students face problems navigating the platform?
Slides 19-28 in the teaching deck are to provide learners with guided practice on navigating the platform. If learners need more support in navigating the platform, you can direct them to this video.
What if my students find planning a trip to a state challenging?
When planning a trip with a beginner, use simple language and visual aids. Focus on one or two aspects of the trip and involve the child in the planning. Make it fun by turning it into a game, and be flexible with transportation and accommodations.
For advanced learners
Plan a detailed itinerary: Encourage the child to plan a detailed itinerary for the trip. This could include information about transportation, accommodations, and activities. You can also have the child practice writing out a schedule for each day of the trip. Encourage budgeting: Introduce the concept of budgeting to the child and have them plan the trip within a budget. This could involve researching transportation, accommodations, and activity prices and finding ways to save money. Encourage creativity: Encourage the child to be creative with their trip planning. This could involve creating fun activities and unique places to visit that are not typically found in guidebooks.



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Slide 26

Introduce learners to the concept of state fairs. Begin by sharing, “We would now organize a state fair of the work we’ve created and go around in circles, observing our classmate’s trip planning sheet and sharing feedback on post-it notes.” Open the floor for queries, if any. 

Apprise learners of the following rules of the state fair:

  • We will rotate around the room observing the trip planning sheet.
  • Only one team per station. 
  • The teacher will notify you when to rotate to the next station.
  • Appreciate the work you like by saying phrases like “I like… the state you choose ” and “Good job on planning an effective road trip!
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Slide 27, 28

Congratulate learners on planning a trip to a state. You can ask a series of reflective question shared below with the sample answers to help learners reflect on their work:

How could you relate the shape of the map of a particular state to something amusing?


  • Animal shapes: You could point out how the shape of a state on the map looks like an animal. For example, Florida looks like a long-necked bird, and Michigan resembles a mitten. You could ask the child what animal they think the state looks like and have them draw a picture of it.
  • Food shapes: You could relate the shape of the state to something delicious. For example, Texas could be a taco, and Louisiana could be a croissant. You could ask the child what food they think the state looks like and have them draw a picture of it.
  • Cartoon characters: You could relate the shape of the state to a cartoon character. For example, Utah could be SpongeBob SquarePants, and California could be Mickey Mouse. You could ask the child what character they think the state looks like and have them draw a picture of it.
What advice can I give to teams whose trip planning needs to be more efficient and productive? How can they improve their trip planning?
When planning a trip for the kids, advise them to choose a simple destination and age-appropriate activities like scavenger hunts or hands-on learning. Assign roles to engage everyone and use visuals to help understand and connect to the trip.
How do I explain the concept of peer feedback to first-graders?
Start by explaining feedback and why it’s crucial to the students. Feedback is like a helper that tells you what you did well and what you can do better. Show the students an example of a peer's work and demonstrate how to give positive and constructive feedback. For example, "I see that you tried hard on the letters, but next time you could make the lines straighter."
How would State fair facilitate reflection and feedback in the classroom?
State fair has the added benefit of encouraging cooperation, listening skills, team building, and addressing several cognitive abilities involving analysis, assessment, and synthesis.




Designing a Map route from home to school



Learners cannot identify the route from home to school and the places around the street.


Learners can determine the route from their home to school and the places around the street.


Learners can identify the route from their way to school and pin the various locations around the street.

Implement their knowledge of different states in planning a trip to a state



More support from the teacher is required to plan a trip.


Some support from the teacher is required to plan a trip.


No support from the teacher is required to plan a trip. Learners can work independently.

Trip planning experience sharing and feedback.



The learner struggles while planning the trip and requires improvement in receiving feedback and communication.


The learner is able to plan a trip and some areas still need improvement in receiving feedback and communication.


The learner can accurately plan a trip with no need of improvement in receiving feedback and communication, and propose ways to improve the trip planning.





Comments (2)

Rehana Mohamed
13 Apr 2023
Taught the entire lesson in K-5 Social Studies class for an entire week. The format was easy to follow. The children loved it. The thinglink had important information for future use but was not relevant for this lesson. Overall the lesson was awesome and can be adapted for all of Elementary.
Runkai Tao
25 Feb 2023
Design a shorter lesson plan as alternative.