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"Trails, Rails, and Roads"
Lesson 2: Road Tripping

This activity is based on a lesson called "Using Road Maps: The North Dakota Ethnic Trip," by Mathew Misialek, Carrington High School, Carrington North Dakota. The activity was prepared using the American Automobile Associationís road map of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, 1995.


Guiding Principles

1. A Clear and Effective Communicator

  • Uses oral, written, visual, artistic, and technological modes of expression.
  • Reads, listens to and interprets messages from multiple sources.

    2. A Self-directed and Lifelong Learner

  • Finds and uses information from libraries, electronic databases, and other resources.

    SOCIAL STUDIES: Geography

    A. Skills and Tools

  • Students will know how to construct and interpret maps and use globes and other geographic tools to locate and derive information about people, places, regions, and environments. Students will be able to:

    Secondary Grades:
    Appraise the ways in which maps reflect economic, social, and political policy decision making.

  • Understand how cultural and technological features can link or divide regions.

    B. Human Interaction with Environments

  • Students will understand and analyze the relationships among people and their physical environment. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades: 5-8
    Analyze how technology shapes the physical and human characteristics of places and regions, including Maine.

    Secondary Grades
    Explain factors which shape places and regions over time (e.g. physical and cultural factors).

  • Students will:

    • Learn and practice map skills by completing the "Getting Acquainted with Your Map" worksheet.
    • Take a "road trip" through Maine by following a course on their road maps, and learning information about the history of transportation along the way.
    • Assess each other's knowledge by creating questions from the information they've learned, and playing a game to find out which group remembers the most information.
    • Take a final quiz on the information they've learned in the activity.

    Timing: 3 days


    1. Find out how much students know about road maps. Hand out the maps. Go over with students how to use the mileage log on the map. You might want to put a log up on the overhead, and demonstrate how to use it. Point out the various other features of the map: the legend, the coordinates (F-16, D-14, etc.), and any extra information printed on the map.

    2. Hand out the worksheets titled "Getting Acquainted with Your Map." Have students complete these worksheets, using their maps. They can work in pairs or on their own.

    3. When they have finished "Getting Acquainted," view the video Trails, Rails, and Roads together as a class.

    4. Discuss the video with students. What did they learn about transportation in Maine? What questions do they have? Tell students they will be taking a simulated road trip through Maine that reiterates some of the same information they learned in the video. They should pay close attention to the information on their road trips, because later their classmates will quiz them on this information.

    5. Hand out the "Transportation History on the Road" student worksheets. Either working in pairs or on their own, have students follow the routes outlined on the sheet using their maps. Emphasize that they should pay special attention to the information the worksheet gives them about each of the stops on the route. When students have completed their road trips, go over the answers together.

    6. Split students up into two groups. Tell them they will be creating quiz questions for the opposing team in the class. They may test their classmates on any of the information they have learned in this lesson. Some possible categories include map skills, information from the video, geography of Maine, or information they learned from their road trip. Have each group come up with at least 20 questions for the other group. In order to make sure that each student in a group participates, assign roles to the members of the groups. There can be a question-generating committee, a recorder, a facilitator or two, a team of quiz show hosts, a scorekeeper, etc.

    7. Conduct a quiz show in class. Have one group present the questions to the other group first, with someone keeping track of the score on the board. Then, have the other group present their questions.

    8. Give students the "Road Tripping Quiz" the next day in class. You may wish to modify this quiz, depending on what pieces of information class discussion focuses on.

    Evaluation: Grade students' performance on the completion of their worksheets and the quiz.

    Extension Activities:

    • Have students create their own road trip, using a road map. They can do research on various spots they wish to stop, and then give their road trip to a classmate to complete. Themed trips might include: "Origin of Maine Place Names," "Natural Resources Tour," or "The Maine Art Road Trip."
    • Have students draw their own map of Maine, write a key, and label important places.
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