Journey North Maps
As students look at ever-changing Journey North maps, they will be challenged
to think and act like scientists as they make predictions and puzzle out
the mysteries of migrations and other seasonal changes. In this "teacher's
lesson," you'll find guidance for helping students analyze what's
happening and interpret why it's happening as the season progresses.
From Journey North
In each update we include a series of open-ended questions to
accompany the current map. These are intended to help you build students'
observation and reasoning skills. For example:
- What patterns
do you notice?
- What do
you think might account for that sighting?
do you predict the migration will reach by next week?
we often provide observations and interpretations of maps. These are intended
to help guide your questioning. Rather than share these with
students, let students try to make sense of maps on their own.
provide a map from a previous year for comparison or link to a
or climate map. These are meant to prompt thinking and hypotheses about
how migration and plant growth patterns relate to other phenomena.
Map Questions and Activities
As as students try to make sense of the season's progression
of Journey North maps, have them write observations, questions, predictions,
and hypotheses in journals, and discuss their ideas with peers. Here are
some general prompts to spark their thinking:
- What do
you notice? Describe any patterns you see on the map.
a general statement to describe what's happening.
- Try to
explain underlying reasons for this pattern. Form a hypothesis and record
it your science journal.
- How does
the map relate to your earlier predictions?
how you think the map will change by next week (or month).
the current map to the previous map. What changes did you notice? How
would you explain those?
- How did
the "pace" of spring change from one week to the next? What
factors might have influenced this?
Analysis and Interpretation Activities
Use these, as appropriate to your study, focus, and age group:
- To show
how far a migration has progressed, have students look at the color-
key and notice how often the colors change (e.g., every 2 weeks). After
each update, draw a line to connect the dots of one color (e.g., the
current color indicating the furthest progression). Ask, What general
statement could you make about how the migration (or spring) is moving?
What do you think is influencing it? (You may want to follow up
by comparing the map to a national climate/temperature
or hardiness zone
- Ask, Are
sightings more frequent in some parts of the country than others? What
does that tell us?
- Ask, Are
dots clustered in particular areas? What could that mean? (In this
case, it could indicate peak migration in an area or simply reflect
the number of observers there!)
- Ask students
to hold a string at the bottom of a map and look at farthest south reports
for each date. As they move up for each color, they'll see the southern
range for first sightings. (They can do the same for first sightings
by moving a string down to identify the northern progression.) Ask,
What do you know about the spring migration of this species
(or progress of spring) from looking at this? What can you infer? How
could you test your inference?
Deeper: Related Map-Reading Lessons
Map Analysis Skills
Use data to conduct a reasonable explanation. (K-4)
Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
Think critically and logically to make relationship between evidence and
How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies
to acquire, process, and report information.