In this unit students are introduced to using maps. They use maps to locate landmarks, identify views from different locations, and give directions using left and right turns and distances.

Achievement Objectives
GM2-6: Describe different views and pathways from locations on a map.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Use a map to identify views from a location.
  • Use compass directions to describe the direction of landmarks.
  • Describe pathways between map locations.
Description of Mathematics

Maps provide a two dimensional representation of the real world. By looking at a map students should be able to anticipate the landmarks they will see from a given location and in which direction (N, S, E, W) those landmarks will be seen. By using maps of their school or local area students will be able to check their thinking by matching the map with the real world.

Students begin to use the map to help them follow and give directions. They start to use directions involving left and right turns and use landmarks to clarify pathways. Students also begin to use distances in whole numbers of metres.

Opportunities for Adaptation and Differentiation

This unit can be differentiated by varying the scaffolding of the tasks or altering expectations to make the learning opportunities accessible to a range of learners. For example:

  • increase or reduce the amount of detail provided on the map template for session 1
  • specific teaching around compass directions and half and quarter turns, as required.

Some of the activities in this unit can be adapted to use contexts and materials that are familiar and engaging for students. In particular, the choice of maps to use will depend on the interests of your class. Some students may respond best to maps of familiar areas, while others may be more engaged by an imagined or fantasy context. You could work as a class to create maps of a class favourite story, or the location of a television series or movie.

Required Resource Materials

Session 1

In this session students are introduced to using a map to locate landmarks and identify views from different locations.

  1. Give the students copies of a school map with the outline of main buildings and features marked on it. Only label some of the buildings and features.
  2. Work with students to label their classroom and to orientate the map.
  3. Students are to label the buildings and features on the map.
  4. Students then take their map and walk around the school to check their labels and to add 2 or 3 new landmarks to the map.
  5. Back in the classroom ask the students to use the map to answer questions that require them to describe different views from locations on the map. For example:
    Which classroom has the best view of the playground?
    What building can you see from the field?
    What building can you see out the library windows?

Session 2

In this session students use the school map to describe pathways from locations.

  1. Show the students which direction to put the compass points N, S, E, W on their school map.
  2. Tell the students that in today’s session they will be marking pathways on their map.
  3. Ask the students to trace with their finger on their map a pathway you describe. For example, start in the school hall and walk south past Rooms 1 and 2, then walk west towards the sandpit, from the sandpit you can see the library so walk south over the lawn to the library.
  4. Students work in pairs to give each other directions. Encourage the students to use the compass directions, and to use the landmarks on the map to help give directions between locations.
  5. Discuss with class what they found useful when giving or following the directions.

Session 3

In this session students use a local map (or a fictional one) to describe different views they can see from different locations. They use compass directions to give the direction of landmarks from given locations. The map below is available as Copymaster 1).


  1. Pose questions based on the map, which require students to describe the views from different locations. For example:
    How many houses have a direct view of the playground?
    What can the children see from the Playcentre?
    What can the doctor see out the window?
    If you sat in the doctor’s carpark what could you see?
    Colour in a house that has a view of the Playcentre, the Dairy, and the Hall?
  2. Pose questions based on the map which require students to use the compass directions. For example:
    What building is East of the Café?
    What building is North of the Hall?
    What building is South of the Chemist?
    What direction is the Playcentre from the Church?
    What direction is the Playground from the Doctors?
    How many houses are South of the Hall?
    From which building can you look West to see the Church?

Session 4

In this session students give a set of directions between two locations using distances and quarter turns to the left and right.

  1. Using the local map work out an appropriate scale for example 1cm is 50m and help the students make scale rulers with strips of card. In this example the ruler graduations will be 0, 50, 100, 150 etc.
  2. On the example map the dots represent entry/exit points for buildings. Show the students how to turn the map around to orientate themselves as they follow directions and turn left and right.
  3. Give the students a set of directions to follow. Focus on left and right turns, use landmarks to help provide the distances. For example, leave the Playcentre and turn right, walk along and cross the road, turn right, walk past some houses and cross the road, where are you now?
  4. Students can work in pairs to give each other instructions.
  5. Using their scale rulers students will be able to give directions that include distances. Give the students a set of directions to follow. For example, leave the Café and turn left. Walk 40 metres, if you turn right what will you be able to see?
  6. Students can work in pairs to give each other instructions that include distances and left and right turns.

Session 5

In this session students learn about pathways and apply this to creating a fire escape plan for their house.

  1. Using the local map, or the school ask students to draw the path from one location to another. Add conditions to the route they can take, for example draw how a class could walk from the library to the hall without walking past the office block.
  2. Ask students to create a Fire Escape Plan. Before completing this activity they should draw a plan of their house and then mark the escape route out of each room. https://fireandemergency.nz/at-home/creating-an-escape-plan/
  3. This activity is likely to take more than one session and can be completed as a home task.
maps-1.pdf121.71 KB
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Level Two