Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries
The Portuguese Empire in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
July 16-24, 2007
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I. Lesson Title:                                               Discovering a Map of Portugal   
II. Author/County:                                         Larry Watson

Washington, DC

III. Grade Level/Subject Area(s):                 Pre-K and Kindergarten
Abstract:  During this lesson, students will work singly, in pairs and as a large group to “discover” the pieces of a puzzle map of Portugal hidden around the classroom and assemble the map within our Circle of Friends. 

1. Standards for the Day

Language Arts

K.LD-D.1        Follow agreed-upon rules for discussion, including raising one’s hand, listening politely to the ideas of others, waiting one’s turn, and speaking one at a time.

K.LD-Q.5        Follow directions that involve one- or two-step related sequences of action

K.LD-Q.4        Use appropriate tone and inflection to express ideas, feelings, and needs.

K.BR-PC.5      Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.

K.BR-PC.8      Demonstrate the one-to-one correlation between a spoken word and a printed word.



K.NSO-N.1    Count by ones to at least 20.

K.NSO-N.5    Identify positions of objects in sequences (e.g. first, second) up to fifth.

K.G.4              Identify positions of objects in space and use appropriate language (e.g., beside, inside, next to, close to, above, below, apart) to describe and compare their relative positions.


Social Studies

PK.6                Children begin to understand basic geographic concepts.


2. Introduction to Lesson

A. Warm up discussion and activities

  • The map created in a previous lesson (see “Creating a Map of Portugal” below) will have been cut into 20-22 pieces and “hidden” around the classroom prior to assembling the children in our Circle of Friends.  The children will be told their map of Portugal has been made into a puzzle and hidden around the room.  We will pause and look around the room while sitting (dramatic body language on the part of the teacher is suggested) to see if any of the “hidden” pieces can be seen.  The children will be asked to keep it “a secret” if any pieces are seen.
  • Each child will have a partner.  One of the pair will be blindfolded and will be lead around the room by his partner.  The blindfolded student will use their hands to feel for the “hidden” puzzle pieces.  The 3D textures of the decorated puzzle pieces will help in finding them.  When a piece is discovered, the team returns to the circle, and the blindfold is exchanged.  The “discovery” process is repeated.  When all pieces have been “discovered,” we will sit in our Circle and begin to assemble the puzzle. 
  • With verbal cues (open and closed ended questions) from the teacher and observations by the students, the pieces will be assembled in order to complete the puzzle map.
  • As a group, read the letters on the map that spell “P O R T U G A L.”  Say the word “Portugal.”  Ask individual students to name the letters and say the word.  Students that are unsure can ask an adjacent student to whisper the answer to them before they respond.
  • After a round of applause for our accomplishment, the children will be asked if they want to repeat the activity.  Which they undoubtedly will.
  • Variation:  Number the back of each puzzle piece, distribute at random to children sitting in the Circle.  Ask “Who has number 1?”, “Who has number 2?”, repeat through the sequence of numbers until the puzzle is assembled.  Repeat, except count backwards.  Count in unison upon the completion of each cycle of assembly.

B. Review homework or previous assignments  

  • Previous lessons would have involved making maps of our classroom, our school gardens, the park across the street, their bedroom, house/yard (for homework), etc. 

C. Discuss prior knowledge

  • Previous lesson would have established what is meant by a “map” and what maps are used for.  The Portuguese discoveries of the 15th and 16th centuries would be included in those discussions. 
  • The children would also be familiar with our classroom puzzle maps of the world and the United States.  Similar activities would have been completed using those maps.
  • An understanding of the word “discovery” would have been established by previously reading stories, discussing how the concept relates to us and using “discover” and “discovery” in sentences in talking about things they have done in and out of school.

3. Goals and Expectations for the Day

A.       The children will have experienced working together in a trusting and beneficial way in order to accomplish a task which would be very difficult if attempted alone.

They will cooperate with each other and take turns contributing to the desired outcome of the activity. 

They will learn that they can make and assemble a puzzle map (i.e. puzzle maps are not only things that are bought already made).

They will have a variety of counting skills reinforced by the activity (counting, sequencing, creating a set, etc).

B.         Assessment would be made through observing the children’s participation for follow up activities.

4. Guided Instruction & Independent Practice/Study

A.        Whole group and small group instruction is utilized during this activity.

B.         Students needing extra support to accomplish the desired goals could repeat the activity as a Choice Time activity.  An accomplished student could supervise the activity.  Repeat as need or interest dictates.

5. Closure of Lesson
The lesson would close with a discussion characterized by guiding the children through a sequenced recollection of the activity.  We would discuss in very fine detail about how we created partners of friends to accomplish the task, utilized blindfolds, helped each other, assembled our puzzle map, continued with additional activities, etc.  This discussion would end with a segment discussing what they liked about the activity and what aspects they would like to change when we do something similar in the future. 
We would then make a list of possible things we could map at home.  They would need to choose one of these things and make a map of it for homework.


Lesson plan describing how the map used in the previous lesson would be created:

Lesson Title:                                      Creating a Map of Portugal

Abstract:  During this activity the children will decorate a large (18” to 24” x 48” to 60”), plain Xerox of an outline map of Portugal.  We will have looked at a variety of 15th, 16th, and 17th century maps produced during the Age of Discovery.  We will use a variety of materials and techniques to create our own decorated map.  A few days after its creation, the map will be cut apart to make the puzzle map used during the “Discovering a Map of Portugal” lesson.

1. Standards of the Day

Social Studies

PK.6                Children begin to understand basic geographic concepts.  

Visual Arts

PK.1.2             Name and describe objects seen in the real world and in artwork.

PK.1.2             Identify and name two-dimensional shapes and three dimensional forms of different sizes.

PK.2.1             Create two-dimensional patterns and three-dimensional arrangements.

PK.2.2             Create works of art using a variety of media and materials.

PK.2.4             Use materials and tools safely.

PK.4.1             Ask questions and state opinions, about what is seen in art reproductions and student work displayed in the school.

PK.5.2             Name colors and draws an object using colors. 


K.PRA.2          Sort and classify objects by attributes such as color, shape, size, number, and other properties and explain; identify objects

K.G.2              Describe attributes of two- dimensional shapes (e.g., number of sides, number of corners, size, roundness)

K.G.4              Identify positions of objects in space and use appropriate language (e.g., beside, inside, next to, close to, above, below, apart) to describe and compare their relative positions.

Language Arts

K.LD-D.1        Follow agreed-upon rules for discussion, including raising one’s hand, listening politely to the ideas of others, waiting one’s turn, and speaking one at a time.

K.LD-Q.5        Follow directions that involve one- or two-step related sequences of action.

K.LD-Q.2        Share information, opinions, and questions, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.

K.LD-Q.3        Describe people, places, things, location, size, color, shape, and action.

K.LD-Q.4        Use appropriate tone and inflection to express ideas, feelings, and needs.

K.LD-V.11      Use language to express spatial (up, down) and temporal (before, after) relationships.

2. Introduction to Lesson

A. Warm up discussion and activities

  • We will have read stories which contained pictures of maps showing land and ocean.  We will have looked at pictures of historical maps from the Age of Discovery.  In addition to discussions regarding what a map is, and how they are used, we will have listed decorative features of the maps.  These features will have been listed on our Chart.  These features will include such things as people, animals, houses, buildings, ships, trees, geographical and topographical features, etc.  We will also list the colors used. 
  • With this list and examples of historical maps displayed, we will examine our plain black/white Xerox copy of a map of Portugal.  We will compare and contrast it with the historical maps we examined. 
  • We should now have the vocabulary of the features that will be desirable to add to our “plain” map in order to make it a “beautiful map.”
  • Working with groups of 2-4 students at a time, they will work on specific features which they choose.  A discussion of which materials to use in order to obtain the decoration they describe to me will precede work on the map. 
  • Due to the variety of materials used (2D and 3D materials), those students most adept with 2D techniques (drawing/coloring) will work first.  Students that can not contribute in this way will apply three dimensional materials later.  In this way, different developmental levels contribute to the final appearance of the map.
  • Creating the finished map will probably require 12-15 small group sessions over a period of days in order to create the desired map. 

B. Prior knowledge

  • See above regarding the aspects of maps that will be covered. 
  • A certain minimum skill level in using the materials listed below will also be essential.  Some students will be asked to use specific materials.  Other students will have to choose and explain how a material is used prior to applying it to the map.

C. Materials.  Not all materials are necessary, although this list would be typical to what we have available and would anticipate using.

  • Large Xerox of a “simple” map of Portugal.
  • Crayons, colored pencils, black fine point felt tipped pens.
  • Different colored beads in different diameters.
  • Yarn, different colors.
  • Pipe cleaners, different colors.
  • Flexible glue for paper.
  • Glitter, different colors.
  • Small twigs, shells, feathers.
  • Cloth, variety of colors and patterns.
  • Foam core board or other sturdy support material to mount the Xerox map onto,   prior to decoration.

3. Goals/Expectations for the Day

  1. The children should recall prior discussions regarding maps and their use.  They should contribute specific attributes during the compare/contrast phase of our examination of our plain map and historical maps. Descriptions of how our art/craft materials will be used should precede work on the map.  Students that are adept at particular skills will be expected to volunteer for tasks consistent with their skill level (i.e. those that draw should know this and volunteer for those tasks, and those that are good with creating appealing 3D arrangements should understand that will be their contribution).  This self knowledge will be based on their experience with prior art projects. 
  1. Assessments will be made by observing the students participation in the project.

4. Guided Instruction & Independent Practice/Study

  1. All phases of this project will involve both small group and large group participation.
  1. Working with small groups, individualized instruction and guidance will be on going and constant through the process.
  1. Some students may create additional small scale decorative objects (perhaps enlargements of small features on the map ie animals, boats, houses, etc) to be displayed along with the map.
  1. Understanding will be assessed through observing the work of the children and discussing it with them.
  1. By engaging the students in open and closed ended questions about the projects, I will obtain evidence of higher and lower order thinking (Bloom’s Taxonomy).

5. Closure and Follow Up

  • At some point during each day of the creation of the project, we will gather in our Circle of Friends and reflect on the day’s progress.  Questions, comments and observations will be solicited from the children.  They will be able to comment not only the progress and appearance of the map, but also their feelings about their personal contributions and how they felt about working with the craft materials.
  • We will also discuss what other types of projects they suggest we could do, which would use similar materials and similar skills.  These could be personal, small group of large group projects. 
  • During the creation of the map, a photo record will be kept of the children working on the map.  Upon completion the photos will be printed and shown to the entire class.  Sitting in our Circle each student will have an opportunity to comment on a picture which shows them working on the map.  Sentences or captions will be matched to each picture.  These will be typed, printed and displayed with the photos and finished map.  These materials will be installed in a public area within the school after the “Discovering a Map of Portugal” lesson is completed.
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Sponsored by
the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies
and the Maryland State Department of Education