Why Make A Map?
Submitted by: Christine McCoid
Lesson Overview
Concept In this lesson, students will discover the reasons Native Americans mapped the land, and will relate those reasons to modern mapping.
Performance Objectives

Students will be able to:
1.  Discuss the origins of mapping.
2.  Recognize the importance of mapping.
3.  Use cooperative learning skills.


Start with chart paper and markers


1.  Ask the class, "Why do we use maps?"  Have a short discussion about the reasons people today would use maps.

2.  Tell the class that mapping began with Native Americans.  Discuss reasons Native Americans may have wanted to map the land.  (It has been found that they mapped primarily to chart seasonal movements, hunting, trade, and warfare.  Try to elicit these answers from students.)  List reasons on chart paper.

3.  Divide the class into small groups, and assign each group one reason from the list.  For example, assign one group HUNTING and one group WARFARE.  Have groups work together to brainstorm reasons a map would be beneficial to their assigned areas.  Why would one need a map for hunting?  For warfare?  For trade?

4.  Student groups should record their brainstorm sessions on chart paper.  When all groups have had time to discuss their assigned areas, post the chart papers around the classroom.  As a whole class, discuss why Native Americans created maps.  Refer to student groups' notes on display.

5.  Using the class's notes and discussion, have each group write a definition of the word "map."  Share the definitions as a class.  Point out words or phrases that may be used in every definition, such as "knowledge of the land" or "tool for remembering locations of important resources."

6.  Refer to the short discussion in the beginning of the lesson.  Ask the class if their definitions could also apply to the use of maps today.  Help students to find similarities in the use of maps today and uses Native Americans had. 

7.  Wrap up by having students again answer the question, "Why do we use maps?" Ask students to now refer to the day's lesson in their answers.
Teacher Notes Refer to content found in "The Mapping of the West" article.
Student Assessment Tools Visual presentation and Other

Students can be assessed on:
1.  Group work and class participation; and
2.  Notes from group brainstorm, showing factual relevancy.

Related Web Sites Lewis and Clark Expedition Map:  Library of Congress map from the expedition. Has zoom capability.

The Lewis and Clark Trail:  Links and resources about the expedition.

The History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition:  A detailed history of the expedition.

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