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Locating Virginia and its bordering states on maps of the United States.



  • Map of Virginia with five bordering states and bodies of water (Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay).


  • Identify the five bordering states on a map of the United States.

  • Review cardinal and intermediate directions by using a compass rose on a map. Suggested activity: Group the children by fours to locate the cardinal directions north, east, south, and west using a magnetized needle attached to Styrofoam placed in a small bowl of water. Label the walls of the classroom north, east, south, and west upon completion of the activity.

  • Ask the students the definition of relative. Write the student responses on chart paper or the chalkboard (e.g., “someone in your family,” “someone close to you”).

  • Review relative location words. Relative location words are used to describe spatial relationships between objects. Choose pairs of students to stand at their place. Ask the class where “David” is in relation to “Mary.” The students should respond, “I am next to, bordering, or near Mary.” Reinforce that these terms describe relative location.

  • Use a world map to locate the United States. Review the shape of the United States. Display a United States map, and tell the students to locate Virginia. Explain that Virginia is located in the eastern United States next to the Atlantic Ocean. Identify Virginia and label it. Have the students outline Virginia on their individual United States maps.

  • Explain to the students that certain states and bodies of water border Virginia. Use a United States wall map to identify the states that border Virginia. List student responses on the board and have them label the bordering states and bodies of water on their maps. Optional: Have the student tell what the relative location of each state is in relationship to Virginia. Example: West Virginia is west of Virginia.

  • Ask the students if Virginia is surrounded by land. Lead the students to recognize that on the eastern coastline there are two bodies of water that provide a border, which are the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. Have the students identify the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay and label them on their maps. Discuss the differences between an ocean and a bay.

  • Review: “What are the states that border Virginia?” and “What are the bodies of water that border Virginia?” Suggestions for review: Have partners tell and retell each other, use dry erase boards and markers for a quick quiz, or have students list the bordering states and bodies of water on notebook paper.



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Updated on August 11, 2008.