Washington, D.C.

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Social Studies, United States History

Grade 3- 5


Students apply mapping skills to place a monument located in Washington, D.C., on a classroom map of the Mall area. They research the monument and provide a drawing and information to accompany the map.



  • The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Marine Corps War Memorial
  • The Roosevelt Memorial
  • The Washington Monument

Enlarge the map of the Mall on page 19 (label only the Capitol Building and Smithsonian Castle) onto a sheet of poster board. Display it along with the names of seven monuments (with numbers) located in Washington, D.C.: 1. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 2. Arlington National Cemetery, 3. The Jefferson Memorial, 4. The Lincoln Memorial, 5. The Marine Corps War Memorial, 6. The Roosevelt Memorial, and 7. The Washington Monument. Have them speculate about the purpose of each monument. Explain to the students that they will have an opportunity to research each monument and discover where it is located on the map of the D.C. area.
Teaching the Lesson:
  1. Divide the class into seven groups, one to research each monument. Assign the groups a monument to research by randomly distributing the cards to the groups.
  2. Distribute a copy of page 18 to each group. Allow the groups to access the Internet, gather their information, and mark the location of their monument by writing the number on the Mall map. (The Marine Corps War Memorial is located near Arlington National Cemetery, and the Roosevelt Memorial is in West Potomac Park on the Tidal Basin.)
  3. Students each transfer their sketches from the research guide onto a three-by-five-inch note card and cut it out around its outline. They secure it next to the location they marked on the map by folding the bottom edge of the picture back and gluing the tab to the poster board. Then they summarize the information they learned on an additional note card, including the name of the monument and the number. (Each monument on the map has a number next to it and a corresponding number on the card that gives details about it.)
  4. Secure all the cards to one sheet of construction paper.
  5. Display the completed three-dimensional Washington, D.C., map and cards in the library or on a table in the front office.
Students may elect to create a simple three-dimensional model of their monument instead of simply using a paper drawing. Supply the students with the materials they need to complete this task. Follow the steps above to complete the map.
Have the students reflect on their knowledge of American history to design and create a model of an original monument. They make a sketch or three-dimensional image of the monument and write a summary of its purpose, following the research guide on page 18. Students share their original monument with the class.


  • enlarge map of the Mall and surrounding area on poster board (See page 19.)
  • name of seven monuments written on, or affixed to, note cards (See below.)
  • seven copies of page 18, one for each group
  • seven 3" x 5" note cards
  • seven additional note cards
  • construction paper
  • 3598

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