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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.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.10.6-8 Explain the relevance of personal interests and perspectives, civic virtues, and democratic principles when people address issues and problems in government and civil society.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.1.6-8 Construct maps to represent and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.2.6-8 Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.3.6-8 Use paper-based and electronic mapping and graphing techniques to represent and analyze spatial patterns of different environmental and cultural characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.1.9-12 Use geospatial and related technologies to create maps to display and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.
      • D2.Geo.10.9-12 Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
      • D2.Geo.4.9-12 Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
    • Dimension 3: Gathering and Evaluating Sources
      • D3.1.9-12 Gather relevant information from multiple sources representing a wide range of views while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.6-8 Draw on multiple disciplinary lenses to analyze how a specific problem can manifest itself at local, regional, and global levels over time, identifying its characteristics and causes, and the challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem.
      • D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.
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