Grade 5

Map a Story

Creative Communicator


Students love to tell stories. They also like to visit new places. Putting these two things together can be fun and creative. Students will use the online tool Tour Builder to tell the story about one of the early European explorers by creating a voyage map of their exploration.

Students will:

  • Be able to research one of the early European explorers.
  • Create a map of locations the explorer visited.
  • Understand the significance of the explorer in our history.
  • Be able to share their creation with classmates through a Google link.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Explorer: An explorer is a person who explores an unfamiliar area. They are an adventurer.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • Introduce early European explorers to students.

  • Watch the tour builder video.

  • Check out the tour builder gallery for ideas. 

  • Create a sample tour to show students.

  • Prepare a list of explorers the students may choose from for their project.

  • Students will need a Google account.

  • Research by students should be completed in a separate lesson, prior to tour builder activity.

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

This activity may take more than one class period.

Part One:

  1. Introduce students to Early European Explorers.
  2. You may choose to have students work in pairs or trios to conduct the research and create their tour.
  3. Provide students with a list of required questions to answer about their explorer.  
  4. Students research their assigned explorer and collect facts, locations, and pictures.

Part Two:

  1. Share the sample tour you created in preparation for the lesson.
  2. Model for students how to create the tour based on an explorer that you are not allowing students to choose
  3. Students create their own tour using the information they collected.  
  4. When completed students should save their tour and share it using the link option.

Note: You could end the activity here and share the tours with the entire class.

Additional Activity: Students view two other tours using the links provided by their classmates and record three things they learned about each explorer they viewed.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • You may choose to collect the questions you had students research about their assigned explorer.
  • Create a rubric based on the number of locations presented in students tour, number and accuracy of facts, and the number of pictures incorporated.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Creative Communicator
6b. Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
6d. Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:

Tour Builder

Tour Builder Gallery

Tour Builder Video



Students can tell a story of their own travel or places they wish to visit someday, then create a tour based on their own real or imagined travel.

  • 5 – U1.2.2: Use case studies of individual explorers and stories of life in Europe to compare the goals, obstacles, motivations, and consequences for European exploration and colonization of the Americas (e.g., economic, political, cultural, and religious).

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.

  • Students can create a tour based on the revolutionary war battles.

    • 5 - U3.2.2: Describe the importance of Valley Forge, Battle of Saratoga, and Battle of Yorktown on the American Revolution.

    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

This task card was created by Jean Smith, Van Buren Public Schools, April 2018.