Lesson plan

Which Way Can We Go?

Look all around! In this lesson, students will use real-life examples and an interactive mapping activity to identify the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to use a map to identify and provide examples of the directions north, south, east, and west. Students will be able to write a sentence description using the cardinal directions.

(5 minutes)
Cardinal DirectionsCardinal Directions FlashcardsDirection FlashcardsState DirectionsPaper Doll 1Paper Doll 2Position and DirectionTown Map
  • Place the direction flashcards in a jar or container.
  • Pull out a card and read it to the students.
  • Ask the students to point and name something that is in that direction.
  • Continue with the remainder of the cards.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the Town Map worksheet.
  • Show the students north, south, east, and west on the map.
  • Using the sentences on the bottom of the map and a paper doll, demonstrate how the students can find the direction and name the directions of north, south, east, and west.
(10 minutes)
  • Invite a student to come up to the interactive white board or the enlarged Town Map worksheet.
  • Give the student a paper doll, and tell the student that he can start at any location on the map and move the paper doll somewhere else on the map.
  • Invite other students to name the direction of the paper doll’s movement.
  • Continue with the same procedure, inviting other students to come up and model the movement of a paper doll while the other students name the direction that the paper doll is moving.
(15 minutes)
  • Direct the students to use the map as a model and to create their own maps on a piece of white drawing paper or construction paper.
  • Ask the students to draw arrows on the map and then write sentences about movement and direction on the map. For example, students could write: The playground is north of the post office.
  • As needed, provide additional modeling and sentence examples.
  • Enrichment:Teach a mini-lesson on combining directions to be more specific. Challenge students to use more complex descriptions of direction, such as northeast, southwest, etc. Have students complete the State Directions worksheet.
  • Support:Use the Position and Direction worksheet to reteach concepts of cardinal directions. Provide illustrations of types of buildings and landmarks students could use in creating their maps. Label students’ papers with the cardinal directions.
  • Use an online map to help students explore more about the cardinal directions.
  • Guide students in locating your location, and help them explore places that are to the north, south, east, and west of that location.
(5 minutes)
  • Use the Cardinal Directions worksheet to assess students’ knowledge of directions.
  • Read the questions aloud to students, and ask them to write the answer beside each question.
(5 minutes)
  • Play an “I Spy” direction game.
  • Place the Cardinal Directions flashcards in the corresponding location around the classroom, taping them on the wall.
  • Using those directions, tell the students that you spy something on the north, south, east, or west side of the classroom.
  • When a student answers correctly, ask them to spy something in one of those directions.

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