A CIESE Collaborative Project

Partners Around the World

Students will use a map to find the location of other schools that are articipating in the project. Activities will include reading, writing and geography.


The students will be able to:

  • Find their own school location on a world map
  • Identify major parts of a world map (land, oceans, rivers, etc.)
  • Mark selected countries on the same map


  • Children's book (see suggestions below)
  • List of project participants
  • 3x5 Cards
  • String
  • Tape
  • Medium sized container
  • Wall map of the world
  • Globe
  • Push pins and post-it notes
  • A folder for each student
  • Student copies of a world map or student atlases

Time: Approximately four hours spread over a one week period.

Teacher Preparation

  • Obtain a list of the participating schools; this can be found in the Project Data section off of the main project web site.
  • On 3x5 cards write the school name, country, state/providence, city/town and address for each participating school. On the back of the card write a number or a letter.
  • Fold cards and place into medium size container.
  • On large wall map locate each school and tape a long piece of string on the location. At the other end of the string, staple an new index card with the corresponding letter or number you previous record on the 3x5 card for that school. If you need assistance finding the location of some of the schools try using http://www.mapquest.com (click on the "Online Map" link and enter in as much information as you have for the school's location).
  • Assemble student folders and place a student world map or atlas in each folder.

Activity #1: Project Introduction
For this activity, do the following:

  1. Introduce this lesson by reading aloud one or more of the books listed below (or choose a similar book). The goal is to engage the students' interest and curiosity and to get them excited about working with students from all over the world.
  2. For older students you can stop occasionally and point out where some of the places they are reading about are located on a world map.
  3. After reading and discussing the book(s) explain that students from all over the country and the world will be investigating squares where they live.

Activity #2: Using a Map
For this activity, do the following:

  1. Have the students take out their student maps or atlases. Give them a few minutes to explore the maps and discuss them with their neighbor. As a class, discuss what they found on the map and see what they already know about using them.
  2. Take out the globe and large wall world map. Start by reviewing some basic map concepts with the students. Explain what a map is and some of the basic symbols that are found on it (e.g. What is land, what is water, political boundaries, etc.).
  3. Discuss with the students where their school is located. On the board write down the different ways that they describe their location. Ask them to tell you the street, city/town, state/providence, and country that you are located in. If they lack this information help them determine it by showing them letters with addresses on them or taking them outside to look at the road signs.
  4. Go over to the wall map and starting with the country, work your way down to the state and city until you can approximate the location of the school. Please a piece of string on the location and tape it in place. Hold out the string and have the students visually note where they are located on the world map.
  5. Have the students take out their students maps from their folders. Using the wall map and the string marker have them locate their school on their own maps. Have them place a mark on the location.

Activity #3: Locating Other Participating Schools
For this activity, do the following:

  1. Have students sit in a circle. Remind them of the project and the other schools with whom they will be working with over the next few weeks.
  2. Take out the container with the 3x5 cards and tell them that you have written down the names and locations of each partner school on the cards. Explain that one at a time you are going to let them pick a card from the container and find where it is located on the wall map.
  3. Show them an example card and demonstrate how they can use the number or letter your wrote on them to find the corresponding card that is attached to the string and wall map.
  4. Go around the circle and allow one student at a time to select a card at random. Once that student has selected the card have them go to the front of the room and locate the corresponding card and string. Have them follow the string until they can see where that school is located on the map. Before returning to their seat ask the students to point out the location of their own school and the location of the selected school to the rest of the class. Once the student returns to his seat move onto the next student until all of the students have found a school.
  5. Have students attach their 3x5 card to their folder for future reference.
  6. Either during this activity or at "free" point during the week have students use the wall map and strings to locate school once again.

Activity #4: Journey Around the World
For this activity, do the following:

  1. Using their maps have the students write a short story about what it would be like to travel from their own school to wherever their partner school is located. Have them draw pictures of their trip to illustrate some of the most interesting aspect of it.
  2. For young students, have them just draw pictures of the trip and then pair up and discuss the trip with another student. If needed, you can have them dictate the story to you and you can record it.
  3. Ask the students to include the following in their story:
    • Location of their school
    • Some of the landmarks or sites in their community (parks, malls, playgrounds, etc.) and where they are located relative to the school or home (e.g. there is a park around the corner from my school)
    • On their map they should draw the route they would take to get to their partner school
    • Some of the types of geographic areas they would need to travel through to get to their partner school (rivers, lakes, oceans, mountains, etc.)
    • Some pictures to illustrate the items above
  1. All of their work from this lesson should be placed in their folders for future reference. This folder can also act as a student portfolio for future assessment.

Suggested Read-Aloud List

Kindersley, Barnabas & Anabel. Children Just Like Me. DK Publishing Inc., 1995. Over the past two years, a photographer and a teacher have traveled to more than 30 countries, meeting and interviewing children. Each child's story is recorded in this remarkable book, published to coincide with the 50 th anniversary of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Extraordinary photographs bring to life the children's families and homes, their clothes and food, their friends and favorite games, and other aspects of their daily lives. CLICK to purchase from Amazon.com

Brisson, Pat. Magic Carpet. Bradbury, 1991 . Aunt Agatha and her niece Elizabeth invent a story describing how Agatha's Chinese carpet might have traveled from Beijing to the United States. Trace the route along with them. CLICK to purchase at Amazon.com

Bursick, Rose. Amelia's Fantastic Flight. Henry Holt, 1992. Amelia builds an air plane and flies it around the world. Use a wall map to follow her travels. CLICK to purchase at Amazon.com (under $5.00)

Lobel, Anita. Away From Home. Greenwillow, 1994. Each of 26 boys visits a different major city of the world that starts with the first letter of his name. Find the cities on a map. Encourage students to find cities or countries that begin with their first initial. CLICK to purchase at Amazon.com

Priceman, Marjorie. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. Knopf, 1994. Follow a girl who travels to, among other countries, France, England, Jamaica, and the United States to gather the best ingredients for her apple pie. CLICK to purchase at Amazon.com

Singer, Marilyn. Nine O' Clock Lullaby. HarperCollins, 1991. If it's 10:00A.M. in Moscow, what time is it in Brooklyn, San Juan, or Guangzhou? The illustrations show what's going on in the world as we travel the time zones. Use the globe as you read this book. CLICK to purchase at Amazon.com (under $5.00)