Let's Dream About a Different Place...

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SWBAT use measurement tools and map scale to determine actual distance.

Big Idea

students are asked to dream about visiting a location and calculate the actual distance from home using map scales and rulers

Do Now

10 minutes

Students enter silently according to the Daily Entrance Routine. A timer is set at the board with 6 minutes. Students must complete 3 problems in these 6 minutes and an additional direction is written on the board:

If you finish within 6 minutes, you’ve earned 2 achievement points. Raise your hand when you’ve finished.

It is around this time of year that it becomes more difficult to motivate students to continue working with urgency and focus. This is the most important time of year to make sure I am being positive as a teacher to continue working hard. This is why I try to reward the focus and urgency as much as possible.

The first two problems require students calculate the unit rate. Each can best be solved using a proportion. Some students decide to use a ratio table. If an appropriate, unique strategy is used for any of the Do Now problems, I will have that student come put the work up on the board.

The third problem incorporates a graph of a proportional relationship and asks students to draw a conclusion from the information in the graph. It also requires the use of MP6 and attending to precision in reading the data. The correct answer must either be calculated or identified using coordinates that are not directly showing in the graph. The first three multiple choices are incorrect and are distractors which use the information readily available if the student is rushing or does not know how to read the graph.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

Students are asked to pick up a red textbook from the back (Big Ideas Math: Common Core) and turn to page 214. While books are being picked up, two students will be distributing rulers. Students will first be asked to locate the scale on the map and point to it. Those who cannot locate the scale will be helped by other students. I will ask one student to interpret the scale using their own words; what does it mean? (every centimeter on the map represent 50 miles). Then, students will be asked to verify the distance on the map is actually 3.5 centimeters as stated by the textbook. (Note: I have attached an image file of this page from the online student edition. Map scales are tricky when making copies. Be sure to check the original to make sure lengths are accurate before making copies for students)

After verifying the length with the ruler, a student(s) will be called to explain the solution given on the page. Proportions are used along with the scale as the initial ratio to solve for the actual distance between the cities.

After discussing the solution and answering any student questions, students will be asked to work with partners to find the actual distance between Traverse City and Marquette. A timer with 5 minutes will be displayed on the board. Any group that finishes early will be asked to put their work on the board. 


20 minutes

After reviewing the answer written on the board for the actual distance between Traverse City and Marquette I will project the Google Maps website on the board. I will look up New York City and ask for a volunteer to name another city where they would like to go to college. I plot both cities into google maps and ask, “if I wanted to know how far these two cities were, in miles, what other piece of information or tools will I need?” By now, hopefully, students understand that I need to locate the map scale. The scale is located along the bottom right hand corner of the screen, barely visible.  Students should also be able to identify a ruler as a tool needed to solve this kind of problem (MP5).

At this point I will show them the copies of maps from our school’s neighborhood. I explain that we’re going to start small and then dream big. First we will need to locate our school and draw a star at its location. Then, working with partners, they must use the map scale along the bottom, left side of the page, to determine the actual distance to Yankee Stadium.

When partner pairs are done with that example, they must raise their hand for me to check their work and answers. Then, they will be given a choice to select a different map to calculate the actual distance from NYC to either another location in the US or another location in the world. Multiple copies of all three maps should be made. Each map includes a box in the upper right hand corner with the question and space along the bottom to show work and answers. While a google map is best to display on the SmartBoard, I found that it is not great when printing copies that include a map scale. The following video explains how a map can be created from different websites to print out for this lesson.

When selecting their maps I like to encourage students to dream about visiting different places, to visit colleges, for sports events. Motivating students to think about other places is a great way to find purpose within this lesson and to get students to continue persevering to understand how map scales can be used to plan trips (MP1).  


10 minutes

Having plated seeds of detailed locations for students to visit during the task, I will have a document camera set up for students to share their dream about visiting Paris, Pennsylvania, or even Houston, where Ms. Chavira grew up. While they share I will be asking them how they calculated the actual distance to these places as well as why they chose this place. It is a great opportunity to build relationships while exploring map scales. Homework will be distributed and students will be reminded that their Unit Test is coming up at the end of the week. Since the HW will require a ruler, I will have print outs of online rulers for students who do not own one. Again, it is important to ensure these rulers are printing out accurately in terms of measurements before giving them to students. I have attached the PDF with a ruler I printed out, but recommend visiting this website to create your own ruler and ensure accurate measurements.