Mapping Eagle Island

Procedure: Day 3 Island Mapping Lesson

Guiding Question: When analyzing physical and political maps of a region, how can we design an original map incorporating features of both in order to learn more about characteristics of place?

Explain to the class that they will be reading from the graphic novel and examining both a physical and political map of Maine.They will be applying the information that they already have learned about map symbols and compass orientation to a map of their own creation. This map will be used in other lessons, so they should take care to do a good job.

Physical and political maps from any state can be used for this activity as long as students do examine a Maine map to know where Eagle Island is located.

Write 'Map' on the board or overhead. Have students brainstorm all the things that they already know about maps. This will give you a wide range of prior knowledge. They will easily come up with the symbols and elements covered in the warm up activities, but they most likely will include other categories such as uses for maps, purposes, different types of maps etc. After brainstorming and recording all the responses, come up with category headings such as Political Maps, Physical Maps, Purposes of Maps, features of maps etc. thus organizing the student responses. If there is online access and an overhead projector, this is a perfect time to show the class examples of satellite images of the US and examples of physical and political maps. A good resource is the National Geographic Map Machine.

  • Guide the students by asking such questions as;
  • Describe major differences between physical and political maps
  • When do you think these maps were developed?
  • Can you find your state's borders? Is there any connection between the boundaries and the physical features of the land?
  • Can you locate the cities?

If you can overlay the physical and political maps, students will be able to draw conclusions about the two. If you have the population maps available or the information, have students make connections between the physical features, political information and population growth.

Use the Maine Map on an overhead or projector to show where the islands are located and conduct a discussion on features of Maine islands. A physical map of one of the islands will help students understand the landforms and give them information as they connect physical and political information.

Explain to the students that they will remain in the same groups to read together the beginning section of The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli Volume 1. Have a political and a physical map of Maine (or maps of your own state) available for each group. Students locate their own town in relation to the Maine coastline. The task for each group is to design their own interpretation of Eagle Rock Island. First they will decide how to orient their island and determine which map symbols will be included. Students should also have the freedom to design their own additional symbols. From the graphic novel, the teams will choose specific characteristics such as the lighthouse, the home, the dock etc. to create symbols on the map. This map will be a starting point for students as they use their navigational skills of longitude and latitude to locate the key places Eli must travel on his adventures. (As per my overarching question in my email - perhaps more of an emphasis on things found within the graphic novel to be used within the lesson.

Pass out Handout #1 to each group establishing the scenario and criteria for the map activity.

For middle level have students collaborate on the hand drawn design and when completed, each can use Google Sketch Up to create the digital version. After completion, they can decide which map will be used for future lessons. There are other design programs that could also be considered. This map of the island will be created in 3D. Link to tutorial for basic use of Google Sketch Up
Students will connect their island design to Google Earth. Features for the design can be imported directly into Sketch Up.
Note to teacher: You may want to allow a portion of a class period, or assign as homework time to experiment with Sketch-Up. It is very user friendly and students have no problem with the grasping of the features. Having them map out their home, or their bedroom space serves as a good practice activity.

Have students reflect in an individual learning journal. You can either have a writing prompt for them or ask them to reflect on the activity in general.


Educational Materials authored by Laura Richter

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