World Book Logo Building Blocks

Mapping My Classroom

This art-inspired activity will help students understand the skills needed to create purposeful maps. Students will construct a map of their classroom that can be used for a specific purpose, such as finding someone’s desk or locating a particular genre of book in the classroom library. Students will create a strong title and include a legend with at least three symbols to enhance their maps. Encourage creativity and fun while mapping out your classroom!


Students will be able to construct a map of their classroom that can be used for a specific purpose.

Students will be able to create a title and legend with at least three symbols for their map.


• Building Blocks of Geography series, specifically Maps

• Scratch paper

• Pencils

• Markers, colored pencils, and/or crayons

• Large construction paper (1 per student to make the map itself)

• Small and/or scrap construction paper (for students to cut and glue to their maps)

• Scissors (1 per student)

• Glue (1 per student)

• Optional: rulers

• Optional: additional art supplies students can use to make their maps


  1. Have students use scratch paper to complete a “brain dump.” During a brain dump, students are encouraged to write anything they think about or wonder related to a particular subject. The goal of this is to activate students’ prior knowledge. Provide students 2 minutes to brain dump everything they know and/or wonder about maps. Challenge students to write the entire time.
  2. Have students share what they brain dumped with a neighbor before calling on a few volunteers to share out. Consider picking specific students’ responses to address any misconceptions.
  3. Explain that today students will create a map of their classroom that can be used for a specific purpose. Remind students that maps are tools people use to help them spatially locate or visualize something. For example, maps may detail specific roads, temperatures, or populations. Each type of map serves a different purpose. As a class, brainstorm to generate a list of possible purposes for a classroom map. For example, one might need a classroom map to locate a particular student’s desk, find a certain genre of book, or locate their teacher’s coffee cup.
  4. Explain that students will use construction paper and a variety of art supplies to create a classroom map for a specific purpose. They can use any of the purposes brainstormed by the class or can create a new map purpose on their own. Explain to students that their map must include an informative title as well as a legend with at least three symbols related to the map’s purpose.
  5. Provide work time for students, helping them manage their time with 15-, 10-, and 5-minutes remaining warnings.
  6. If time allows, have students pair up with a partner of their choice to share their maps. Challenge students to see if they can determine the purpose of their partner’s map just by looking at it.
  7. Bring students back to the whole group setting to discuss their map making process. Use the following prompts or let your students guide the discussion themselves:

    a. What was challenging about making a map with a specific purpose?

    b. What was fun or exciting about making a map with a specific purpose?

    c. How did you determine what to include in your legend?

    d. Why did you choose the symbols you did to represent different locations on your map?