1851 whale chart detail

Lesson 1
World Geography: Making a Replica Map

  • Time Required: 50 minutes
  • Curriculum Fits: History, Geography

Lesson Overview

Using a world map of today and a historical whale chart from 1851, students will increase their understanding of world geography and demonstrate improved observation skills as they compare and contrast two kinds of maps. They will learn about whaling and the types of whales hunted during the golden age of whaling and create their own replica of a historic map.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify and label continents and oceans on a world map.
  • Students will develop an understanding of historical maps and their purpose using a whale chart from 1851.
  • Students will be able to identify a right whale and sperm whale.
  • Students will state one reason why people went whaling in the 1800s.



  1. Show students a world map of today and have them brainstorm what they know about maps. Next, give them each their own copy of a world map and a list of continents and oceans. Have students cut out geographical locations and glue them onto their map (or copy).
  2. Give each student a copy of the 1851 Whale Chart. Working in pairs, have students answer key questions about the chart.

    Map Observation Questions

    • What do you notice about his map?
    • What is being depicted in this map?
    • Why would someone make this map?
    • Who might use this map?
    • Where do you think they got this information?

    Bring the class will together for a group discussion in order to share their observations. Direct their attention to the key on the Whale Chart.
  3. Have students brainstorm on a class chart what they know, what they wonder, and what they want to find out about whales. Read to the class the backgorund information, What Whalemen Hunted. Guide a discussion that revolves around right whales and sperm whales and why they were hunted. Give students photocopies of right whales and sperm whales and have them cut and glue whales onto their maps. When the maps are finished, set up a tub of brewed black tea. Have the students put their maps in tub and then set them out on newspaper to dry. Voila! Students have their own replica of a Whale Chart.


Martha Stackpole, Lauren Keaney-Serpa, Elaine Barnett, Kristy Fletcher