Map Directions
Part of the Florida Geographic Alliance's collection of lesson plans.



Grade Level: 2


The purpose of this lesson is to learn about directions, and to understand their importance in knowing how to read a map.




  1. Review the two charts, "What do we know about maps" and "What do we want to know about maps."
  2. Review vocabulary from previous days and introduce new words. Discuss the new words: direction, north, south, east, west, compass, compass rose.
  3. Display different maps and discuss how they could be best used. Point out similarities and differences. Discuss the importance of the key and center in on directions.
  4. Hand out directions and have students pin them to the appropriate walls. Discuss how they know they are correct and introduce the compass.
  5. Pass around the compasses and let students look at them. Read section on the history of the compass and find out what people used before they had a compass. Discuss how a compass works.
  6. Divide into working groups and assign each student a part: reader, equipment manager, recorder, and monitor. Read the questions with the students and ask for any questions. Let students construct the compass and work with it.
  7. Go over the paper with the class noting answers on the board. Collect equipment and papers.
  8. Pass out community maps. Point out the different buildings. Note the compass. Evaluate the students' understanding by asking questions such as: "If you walked from the hospital to the school, which direction would you go?", "What are the four directions on the map?" and several others.
  9. Divide the class in half. Have each side work together to draw a treasure map using at least six symbols in the key. Write at least five separate directions to the treasure. All directions must lead either north, south, east or west. The object will be for the other side to follow the directions and find the treasure (teacher has location).


Students will be evaluated in two ways: can they draw a simple map and give clear instructions, and, can they follow directions and interpret a map?

Additional Activity

We work closely with another second grade on the same units at the same time, so we often share activities. We go outside and hide a treasure (gold wrapped chocolate, Mardi Gras beads, etc.) and then make a map to the treasure complete with directions. We trade maps and go on a treasure hunt.


If you are going to use all of the activities it will take you more than one day. I use steps six and seven as a science follow-up.

Part of the Florida Geographic Alliance's collection of lesson plans.