Field Trips

Mapping a Neighborhood

Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Math,Science,Social Studies
State Standards:
Creative Expression and Communication.

Recognizing, identifying, and drawing significant landmarks on maps.


Students will be able to recognize, identify, and draw significant landmarks on a map.

Visual Art Standard: Creative Expression and Communication
Benchmark: Create two- and three-dimensional original artwork that demonstrates personal visual expression and communication. 


Materials in this plan include pencils, sketch paper, clipboards, drawing paper, crayons, markers, color pencils.


Before taking a walk through the neighborhoods surrounding the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, identify six significant landmarks in the area (for example, the bicycle shop, Ed Sines' house, Lorin Wright's house, the family landsite, the site of the original Mike Sells home and factory, etc).

Familiarize the group with the four directions of the compass, and point out which directions are north, south, east, and west as they are standing on the plaza.
Challenge the group to create a map of the six sites you have identified, and begin the neighborhood tour.

It might also help to show the group a few examples of some basic maps, which show significant objects in relation to one another, but are not cluttered with too much detail. Depending on their skill level, the group could also work through some basic map-drawing skills prior to taking the walk.

The instructor will ask the group to point out which direction they are taking at each turning (Are we going north now?). Allow students to make quick sketches along the walk. If compasses are available, they might be fun. If only one or two are available, a student can be appointed to act as direction finder.

At each of the significant sites, identify the location and provide some background information about its importance.

When the tour is over, allow students to use the sketch they made to create a new map. Ask them to show all six sites on their map, and to try to place them in relation to one another.


The success of this project can be ascertained through the quality of the artwork (authentic assessment). The instructor can also ask a series of questions regarding the objectives of the lesson to determine how well students have comprehended the material.

Alternatively, the rubric below can be used to rate each child's performance during the working period. 

Art Rubric  
Category  Possible Points  Earned Points 
Craftsmanship  20   
Time on Task  20   
Following Assignment Guidelines  20   
Use of Materials  20   
Clean Up  20   

Park Connections

History – Students will be learning the historical significance of individual landmarks. This can be expanded into a research project, where students are encouraged to explore the history of the people associated with the landmarks, or to find other historically significant landmarks.
Students could explore the history of mapmaking, and discover how maps have been used throughout time.

Math – Students can enhance their maps using a grid and attempting to use spatial relationships and scale to create a more accurate map.


Students can work as a team to help increase success. Alternatively, a basic map of the neighborhood, leaving the areas of the six sites blank, could be drawn out, copied, and passed out to the group. The starting point of the tour can be identified on this map, and the basic route sketched out. Students would then only need to identify the stops made along the route.

Additional Resources

Maps and Mazes: A First Guide to Mapmaking, by Gillian Chapman and Pam Robson

Maps in History, by Walter Oleksy

Walk Around the Block, by Ginny Graves, Karen Dell Schauber, Punky Beasley, and Dean W. Graves

What's in a Map?, by Sally Cartwright, illustrated by Dick Gackenbach 


Compass – a tool used to identify which directions are north, south, east, and west, using a magnetic needle.
Landmark – a significant object or building in an environment.
Map Legend – a collection of symbols used to read a map.



Last updated: March 25, 2020