Blazing the Trail

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In this math lesson, learners estimate distances between landmarks and use a map and scales to determine the actual distances. Learners will also use proportional reasoning to measure these distances as depicted on maps. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Laminated maps with sturdy backing (e.g., cardboard)
  • Markers and pencils
  • Cards marked with scale from map
  • String
  • Compasses (directional and drawing)
  • Protractors
  • Enlarged maps of orienteering course
  • Calculators
  • Rulers or marked cards


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Rate
    • Number and Operations
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, PBS, 2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education