April 5 is Read a Road Map Day! It’s a random “holiday,” to be sure, but even with today’s GPS technology, map reading is still an important skill to have. We all should take a moment though to give thanks that we rarely need to unfold a state road map anymore. (I never could refold those things properly.) Check out this map reading activity for your students! It’s important that they know how to get from here to there.
Reinforce map skills and explanatory writing skills with this simple idea. In advance, get a state map for each student. The student imagines she lives in one city on her map. She then selects a second city on her map in which a pretend friend lives. Next, the student writes a letter to her friend telling of fun things to do in and around her city, such as visiting a nearby lake or hiking in a local state park. In her letter, she also includes directions to get from her friend’s city to her city. If desired, encourage students to include cardinal and intermediate directions, interstate highway numbers, travel distances using the map scale, and the approximate travel time.