Navigating Around Our Community – A Maths Lesson Plan on Geometry using Google Maps


Summary of Lesson Plan:

In this lesson plan, students use Google maps to research and investigate the best route for a new local bus service in the community. Students construct a map of the local area and provide directional instructions.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Year 5 Mathematics:
  • Use a grid reference system to describe locations. Describe routes using landmarks and directional language (ACMMG113)

Lesson Plan Sequence:

Mathematical Prior Learning:

Students should have experience creating and interpreting simple maps to identify locations and show position. They have been introduced to the compass directions North, East, South and West, and North-East, South-East, South-West and North-West as well as the simple map conventions of title, key legends, grid references etc. Students should also have visualisation skills and spatial understandings that enable them to transform 3D into 2D and enable them to perceive objects from different points of view and recreate the perspectives (linking the concrete – symbolic).


Maps provide a 2D representation of concrete objects and are a part of our everyday lives. Positioning, spatial awareness and orientation are all important skills to enable one to effectively use maps. This experience will provide a real world opportunity for students to explore these concepts in a contextually meaningful way, supporting them to understand position and mapping skills are concepts relevant to their everyday lives. Further, the meaningful, open ended nature of the problem solving experiences is also more likely to engage students in using a wider range of spatial and visualising skills while also allowing the task to be differentiated to suit varying learning needs. The use of Google Maps and its accompanying multivisual modes will also provide students with the opportunities to explore and interpret spatial information through various representations ie. Map/terrain view.


For students to:

  • Use spatial awareness to create a simple map of the community including a title, key and coordinates;
  • Use grid references and mathematical language to describe the location of landmarks;
  • Use mathematical directional language including compass directions and turns to the positions left and right, to describe the proposed bus route.


Students are told the local council will be introducing a free bus service into the community to transport residents and visitors around. They are given the task to research, design and draw a map showing landmarks in the community and the best route for the bus to take.

Students are encouraged to think about the locations residents and visitors may want to visit ie. Shops, post office, park and beach and the best position of pick up points.

Students use Google Maps to explore the local area and investigate the best route for the bus to take (both map, satellite, terrain and street views can be used). They construct a map of the community on grid paper, including landmarks and anything else they feel is of importance. They are supported to ensure they provide a title, labels, key, coordinates and arrow to represent North.

Students provide a legend and coordinates for each of the landmarks in the community ie. The post office is at E4 as well as instructions to describe the route for the bus to take which includes compass instructions (N, W, E, S and NE, SE, SW and NW) and directions to turn right and left. Students must be able to justify their decisions regarding choice of route and bus pick up points.

They share their maps during whole class reflection and discuss the comparisons between maps and suitability of routes.

Questioning to extend Working Mathematically focus:

  • Can you describe the location of the school in relation to Woolworths? (Communicating);
  • What coordinates can you use to describe the location of the park? (Communicating);
  • Can you determine the directions N, S, E and W on the map? How did you know? What could you use to check? (Communicating);
  • Which axis did you place the letter coordinates on? Why? (Communicating);
  • Can you tell me about your directions for the bus route? Why did you choose to go that way?;
  • What effect might using a larger/smaller grids have on your map? (Communicating);
  • What sort of audience may view this map? How could it suit their requirements? (Communicating).

Integration of Technology:

Students navigate an online mapping system Google Maps as a problem solving strategy in order to undertake the investigation. Google Maps provides an interactive interface supporting the development of visual reasoning and spatial awareness as the locations can be viewed from multiple perspectives. The interactive nature of the online tool may also support the motivation and
engagement of students.

Modifications for Stage 2:

Students use Google Maps to explore the local community. They then create and label a simple grid map of the community showing landmarks. Students use the compass directions of North, South, East and West to describe the position of various landmarks in relation to one another.


  • Through informal questioning (interview) and assessment of students language and justifications; viewing of work sample including mapping conventions and use of compass coordinates etc.


  • Computers/Ipads with internet access
  • Google Maps
  • Grid paper
  • Pencils & paper




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