As the poet, farmer, and environmental activist Wendell Berry once said, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”

Our first H.O.M.E.School activity asks students to make a list of the special places in their lives and draw their own “sense of place” maps. These maps do not need to be geographically accurate, but they do tell the story of a place from your kid’s point of view.

This lesson will help develop their spatial reasoning abilities, their mapping skills, and a greater “sense of place” – or connection to the Great Lakes.

Time/Materials

This activity will take between 30 minutes and an hour.

You’ll need:

  • Writing and/or drawing utensils
  • Paper
  • Online or paper maps

Ready? Head to the Classroom!

Watch the video below to learn about maps and get today’s activity.

Share the Learning

Ask your kids to show you the maps they’ve made. What places have they drawn? Why are these things important to them?

Extra Credit

Kids: Practice your mapmaking skills. Try to draw or trace an outline of the Great Lakes! 

Parents: Share your kid’s Great Lakes map on social media! And if you tag the Alliance for the Great Lakes, we might share it, too.

Deep Dive

Want to learn more? Check out these resources!

  • Great Lakes Fast Facts from Michigan Sea Grant. Click on your favorite lake to see fun facts and a map.
  • Surface Currents Map of the Great Lakes from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). This map-in-motion shows how streams of water are moving through the Great Lakes right now. 
  • How to Read a Map:
  • Great Lakes Basin Maps: A “basin” (or “watershed”) is all the land that drains into a body of water. These maps show the land that drains into the Great Lakes.

Find more Great Lakes lessons at H.O.M.E.School.