1. Discussion of the different kinds of maps with which the students are familiar.

2. Teacher may ask the students to bring in maps.

3. Divide the class into groups and have students chart the similarities and differences of their maps.

4. Each group reports to the class.


Learning about and from maps
What can maps tell us about the continent of Asia and the individual countries India, China, and Japan?

Performance objective

By creating their own maps, as well as analyzing maps of Asia, students will identify key elements of a map (scale, kinds of features, symbols, orientation) and how those functions influence how it serves as a resource.


Photocopies of the map


Students’ verbal responses, student maps


1. Begin by discussing the different types of maps students have seen. Make a list or chart. Next discuss why maps can be useful. Teacher may need to bridge the discussion between maps used in daily life and those of countries and continents.

2. Discuss the ways that maps convey information. Teachers will discuss distance scale, use of different colors, and lines to show boundaries.

3. Using the map of Asia, teacher will lead a discussion: What kinds of information we can learn from this map? Discussion will focus on: neighboring countries and boundaries, surrounding bodies of water, internal topography—mountains and rivers, relation to the equator.

4. Divide the class into small groups. Each group will concentrate on one country to determine as much information as possible. Each group presents an oral report to the class.


Ask students to map out their own neighborhood, town or city. Students should incorporate as many mapping features (i.e. distance scale, colors) as they can.