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Roots and Shoots


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Civics, Geography

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Interactive Media
  • Worksheets
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus




Digital Mapping: Esri ArcGIS

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  • This detailed mapping activity will get your students involved in observing your community, reflecting, mapping, analyzing, refining, and planning for future action. 
  • It is meant to be a multi-day or week-long project and will provide students with a learning path that results in increased community awareness and mapping skills. 
Teaching Tips


  • This project includes several options for extension and will work with students at various levels.
  • This inquiry approach to learning is extremely engaging.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A free 60-day trial to arcgis.com is necessary to complete a map on the site.
  • Physical materials needed include: markers or crayons, large sheets of white paper, glue or tape, stickers, a community map, and a camera or photos of your community.


  • This resource would work equally well in a science or social studies class; a creative idea would to be to work together between science and social studies classrooms to complete this project and the ensuing environmental campaign together.
  • Cross-curricular connections could be made in art classes by adding more artistic components to the mapping project and creating art to get the community involved in future campaigns.
  • This project would work well as a whole group project for smaller classes or as a large group project for larger class sizes. Students will likely need to work together over several classes in order to complete the mapping activity.
Scientist Notes
Students will be equipped with fundamental mapping skills using Esri and the ArcGIS web-based mapping tool. It is ideal for them to create a project or activity, then use their mapping skills to proffer environmental solutions in their community. This is highly recommended for classroom use.
  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • SS.Geog1.a.m Use paper and digital maps to ask and answer geographic questions (e.g., Where are there patterns? Why there? So what?). Analyze how various map projections distort shape, area, distance, and direction (e.g., Mercator, Robinson, Peters).
      • SS.Geog1.b.m Interpret patterns in a variety of maps, charts, and graphs to display geographic information (contour, cartogram, population, natural resource, historical maps) and explain relationships among them.
      • SS.Geog3.b.m Analyze spatial patterns of social and economic development in a variety of regions in the world. Identify how people, products, and ideas move between places (e.g., internet commerce, outsourcing).
      • SS.Geog1.a.h Use printed and digital maps to ask and answer geographic questions (e.g., Where are there patterns? Why there? So what?) and evaluate the appropriateness of geographic data and representations to understand real-world problems. Explain how current geospatial technologies (e.g., Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), satellite images, remote sensing) are used for personal, business, and government purposes.
    • Political Science
      • SS.PS3.d.m Analyze how governments address and solve problems through the public policy process.
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