Lesson Plan: Creating Our Own Park

Grades 2-3

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Students will brainstorm the ways freshwater can be used for recreation in a community park during various seasons. They will examine a series of maps and determine the common attributes of the maps (there is no emphasis on scale).They will present their proposal to the class. The proposal should include a map or model.


Students will be asked to explore a variety of recreational freshwater options and create a model of a park for their community.

Standards Addressed:

Core 2-ESS2-2: Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.

Disciplinary Core Ideas ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions.

ELA/Literacy SL 2.5: Add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas.

Mathematics MP.2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

Mathematics MP.4: Model with mathematics.


  • Images of people using water for recreation
  • Construction paper or poster board
  • Assorted materials for models (clay, foil, any small objects, cardboard)
  • Markers/crayons
  • Easel paper
  • Sample maps
  • Science notebooks to record/draw observations (depending on the age and ability of your students, you may want to provide worksheets to help students collect information).

Activity Steps:

  1. Before the lesson starts, post the maps around the room—make sure they are in areas the students can access. Local maps would be the most beneficial since they will be closer in scope  to the ones the students will create.
  2. Introduce the term “freshwater resources.” Provide several local examples.
  3. Project/display the images of people using water for recreation. Keep a running chart with input from the students. You might want to start with the concrete examples (water sports, fishing) and then move to more abstract (the wildlife supported by water, bird watching).
  4. Ask the students for any ideas covered in the images and record them. Ask the students which activities would take place in another season. Are there any year-round events?
  5. Reorganize the chart into seasons.
  6. Mention the maps around the room. Ask the students to visit each map, looking for features. (One option would be to give them a sticky note and allow them to jot notes about what they see.)
  7. Collect the feedback (or sticky notes) and decide as a group the critical features of a map. List them on a separate sheet. (Sample responses might include map key, compass rose, labels, title, streets.)
  8. Divide the students into groups and let them select/or assign a season. Allow students to create either a map or a model.
  9. Provide art supplies as each group creates their project with water activities.


Students present their maps to the class.

Extension (optional):

Students could create a flier or brochure for their park. This could be done on paper or using digital options. Photograph their work and add audio to the images.