Geography    |    Native Americans    |    Explorers    |    Pioneers    |    Economy & Culture    |    Statehood & Government    |    20th Century    

Make A Map

When we think of early explorers, we think of Dominguez and Escalante trying to find a way to Monterrey, or mountain men hunting and trapping. But don’t forget one of their biggest contributions was mapping out the future state of Utah! This activity is a map making exercise for your students, which puts them in explorer’s shoes as they map out a way for their friends to get to a destination.

You can set the scene to whatever you’d like. It can be trappers leading their family to a cache full of furs, a map leading to an upcoming rendezvous, or Spanish missionaries leading others to a nearby mission… it’s up to you!

Students get a piece of blank paper, and are given a list of things to include on their maps (write these on the board). They can be anything from hazards to sources of water and food. Here are some examples you can start with:

  • Cliffs
  • Bear Den
  • Lakes
  • Desert
  • Streams
  • Rattle Snake Nests
  • Beaver Dams (must be by water source!)
  • Mountain Range
  • Canyons
  • Cougar country
  • Forest

Use land features and animals that are found in Utah. Their map must take up the front and back of the paper, and be drawn in as much detail as possible. A dashed line must be drawn from the start to the destination (cache, Spanish mission, etc…) going through and around these mandatory features. Students must also specify where food and water can be found on the map for those who will use the map, along with any hazards and notes they would like to make followers aware of. Empty spaces on the map can be filled in with trees or other features. Coloring also adds a nice touch!

Leave a Reply