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Mapping My Imagination

Lesson Objective:

In third grade, students are expected to understand the different features of a map and how to use them. Additionally, students are expected to understand the difference between countries, states, and towns.

This project's goal is to help students create their own map in which they can create their own country, state, and town. Additionally, students can add a map key and compass to their map.


  • One 12x18-inch sheet of paper

  • Crayons or Color Pencils

  • Eraser

  • Pencil


  • Decorating materials (such as stickers and glitter)


  1. Students should make up an imaginary country. Their country can be in space, in the sea, in a fictional world, or anywhere else. Students can create a name for their imaginary country.

  2. Students should then brainstorm what their country looks like: What shape is the country, is it big like the United States, etc.?

  3. When thinking of their imaginary country, students should verbally brainstorm what geographical features are in their country: Does their country have mountains, rivers, oceans, lakes, hillsides, deserts, etc.? Students should think about multiple geographical features to include in different areas in their country. (see brainstorming sample photo)

  4. Students should lay a 12x18-inch paper horizontally.

  5. Using their brainstorming ideas from steps 1-3, students can draw their country on their horizontal facing paper. Make sure that students include multiple geographical features in different areas in the drawing of their country. When coloring in their drawing, make sure students use crayons or color pencils to ensure that the color does not bleed through the paper. (see video example)

  6. Students can add a small box on the bottom righthand corner of their map. This will be their map key that will explain what the geographical drawings on their country's map stand for. (see photo example)

  7. On the bottom lefthand corner of their map, students can add a compass. (see photo example) A fun acronym to teach students to help them remembers the order of the compass's coordinates is Never Eat Soggy Waffles. The acronym corresponds with the compass's coordinate points in the following order: North East South West.

  8. Next, the student should flip over their paper to the blank backside; their paper should remain horizontal.

  9. Students should fold the paper horizontally in half and lightly press down on the fold they made to make a light crease line. When finished folding, the student should have two blank panels.

  10. Students should then brainstorm a state that would be in their country For example, New Jersey is a state in the United States. Students can create a name for this state.

  11. When brainstorming their state, parents can discuss with the student what region of their country this state will be in and how the geography of this region will affect the geography of the state. For instance, New Jersey is in the northeast region of the United States. The Northeast is bordered by the Atlantic ocean. Additionally, there are many mountains in the Northeast, like the Appalachian Mountains. So, since the state New Jersey is in the Northeast, there are beaches and mountains here. (see brainstorming sample photo)

  12. Students should then brainstorm what the shape of their state looks like: Is there state made up of many curves like New Jersey is, or is it made up of many straight lines like Colorado is? (see brainstorming sample photo)

  13. Once students have finished brainstorming their state, they can draw their state on one of the blank panels they created. Their drawing should include their state's geographical feature(s) discussed in step 11. Make sure that students use colored pencils or crayons when coloring in their states, so the color does not bleed through the paper.

  14. Then, students should imagine a town that would be in their state. For example, Warren is a town in New Jersey. Students can create a name for their town

  15. When thinking of the town, students can imagine what the town looks like. For example. Does the town have many houses? Are there any stores or restaurants in the town? Does the town have a school? Where do the people in the town spend their free time? (see brainstorming sample photo).

  16. Finally, students can draw their town on the final blank panel on their page. Make sure that students use colored pencils or crayons when coloring in their towns, so the color does not bleed through the paper.

Sample Discussion:

Parents can play a game with students in which they ask for directions to various places on the map. Students will be encouraged to answer the questions using coordinate directions with the help of the compass they included on their map.

Parent: I have just come Candy Country for the first time and I am lost. I need directions to travel from Gumdrop Forest to Candy Cane Cliffs. Could you help me?

Student: To get from Gumdrop Forest to Candy Cane Cliffs you have to walk north. Then when you past Sugar Plum Plains you have to walk east and you will get to Candy Cane Cliffs.

Parent: This is my first time in the state Chocolatelandia. Could you help me find Lindt Lake?

Student: To find Lindt Lake, you have to walk south along side the Chocolate River. Then you have to walk west past Hershey Hills. Then you will see Lindt Lake.

Parents: I just moved to the town Ginger, could you help me find my house.

Student: To find your house you have to walk east past Lollipop Bowling Lanes, Snickers School, and Razzles Restaurant. Then you should see your house.

Brainstorming Examples:

Sample Video:

Sample Photos:


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