Activity Overview

Spider maps are an excellent tool to help students organize facts in a systematic and visual manner. In this activity, students will research one state in the US and use the blank template provided to show what they have learned. Teachers may assign states, or give students the option to choose. This activity could be used as part of a Regions of the United States unit or as part of an informational research unit.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a 6 cell web that includes the state motto, major cities, a famous citizen, date of statehood, nickname, and an interesting tourist spot for the state of your choice.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click “Start Assignment”.
  2. Write the state name in the middle space.
  3. Create an illustration that represents each heading (Cities, State Motto, etc.) using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  4. Write a short summary of each heading in the space below the illustration.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/4/2] Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/4/7] Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/4/8] Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Conducting Research
Present information after conducting research.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Examples are accurate, complete, well organized, and easy to understand.
Examples are somewhat accurate, complete, well organized, and easy to understand.
Examples are inaccurate, incomplete, disorganized, and difficult to understand.
Illustrations depict the written description with clear visuals of appropriate scenes, characters, items, etc.
Illustrations depict the written description but are unclear or incomplete.
Illustrations do not make sense with the written description.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is difficult to understand.

How to Introduce and Use a Spider Map Template in Elementary Classrooms


Introduction to Spider Maps

Begin the class with a discussion about maps and their purpose in organizing information. Introduce the concept of a spider map as a tool for organizing facts, using a basic example drawn on the board. Explain each 'leg' as a category for information.


Exploring States

Discuss the United States and its states briefly. Assign or let students choose a state to research. Ensure each student has a state they are interested in and understands what kind of information they will be looking for.


Filling in the Spider Map

Distribute blank spider map templates to each student. Guide them in researching and filling in each section of the map with information about their state, such as the state name, capital, major cities, landmarks, and state symbols.


Presentation and Sharing

Once the spider maps are completed, have each student present their state to the class using their spider map. Encourage them to speak about each section of their map, sharing interesting facts and information they discovered. Promote an environment where classmates can ask questions and engage with each presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions about State Projects - Research

What are the best resources for students to use when researching their state?

For researching states in the State Research Project Spider Map, students have a variety of reliable resources at their disposal. Educational websites, particularly those dedicated to U.S. geography and history, are valuable for up-to-date and interactive information. State government websites offer authoritative data on geography, demographics, history, and culture. For more in-depth historical context, history books, encyclopedias, and academic journals can provide comprehensive insights. Encouraging students to use multimedia resources such as documentaries or interviews can also enrich their understanding. Additionally, primary sources like historical documents, newspapers, and interviews with residents or experts on the state can offer unique perspectives.

What are some effective ways for students to present their completed spider maps?

Students can present their completed spider maps in various engaging ways. A common method is an oral presentation, where students explain each segment of their map, discussing the research behind it. This approach enhances public speaking skills and allows for immediate feedback and interaction. Another effective method is creating a digital presentation, using tools like PowerPoint or Prezi, which can be particularly engaging for visual learners and can incorporate multimedia elements. For a more interactive and collaborative experience, a classroom gallery walk, where students display their maps around the room and others circulate to view and discuss them, can be effective. This method encourages peer-to-peer learning and fosters a more informal exchange of ideas.

How can students incorporate art and creativity into their spider maps?

Students can infuse art and creativity into their spider maps by using various artistic elements. Illustrations and drawings related to each state's landmarks, symbols, or historical events can make the maps visually appealing and aid in the learning process. Color-coding different sections of the map can help organize information and make the map more navigable. Students might also incorporate creative layouts, arranging the 'legs' of the spider map in unique patterns or incorporating symbols and icons that represent key aspects of the state. For a more interactive element, students could include flaps or pop-up features that reveal additional information or facts. These artistic elements not only make the project more engaging but also cater to different learning styles and encourage students to express their understanding creatively.

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