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Spring mapping activities to get your students outside

Spring is a perfect time to get out of the classroom to try something new with your students! Whether you are a history, geography, social studies, or science teacher – there’s an activity for you and your students! We have a list of fun and interesting mapping activities that will engage your students in their learning and add tools to your teaching toolkit.

It’s that time again! Spring is in the air (well almost) and if you’re looking to try something new with the students, you’ve come to the right place. Get them outside with the following ArcGIS lessons and tutorials. Well, if you haven’t tried ArcGIS Survey123, ArcGIS Dashboards or ArcGIS StoryMaps, it’s never too late to add more ArcGIS tools to your teaching toolkit!


Do I live in a Complete Community?
For Geography and Social Studies

The purpose of this lesson is to get students thinking about how your community has been designed with the environment in mind. Spring is around the corner, so students can take a walk around their community and consider how sustainable the surroundings are for the citizens who live there. They will return to the classroom to create a map that includes features that make up a complete community.

A web map showing a feature added to a community map.

Use this lesson to create a map in ArcGIS Online that includes features that make up a complete community.

Nature in my Community
For Geography, Social Studies, Environmental Science and Science

In the lesson, the teacher will create a survey using ArcGIS Survey123 for their students to collect data collaboratively about nature in their community. Students will be responsible for collecting data with the survey created by the teacher, using a web map to analyze the results of the survey, and creating a story map highlighting nature in their community. You may notice more wildlife and plant life as spring begins.

Exploring Climate Change in my Community
For Geography, Social Studies, Environmental Science and Science

Even though climate change is a global phenomenon, we can explore it at a local level by looking at how human actions can affect the environment. In this lesson, students will use a survey created by their teacher to collect data collaboratively on climate change contributors and reducers in their home neighbourhood block. Get outside and start exploring!

Healthy Communities
For Health and Physical Education

Using your ArcGIS Online account and ArcGIS Survey123, teachers tasked with creating a survey that students will use to gather data on healthy living in their community along with evidence of issues or factors that limit good health. Students will then create a story map based on your results to promote ways to be healthy in your community.


Fieldwork Learning Path
For Geography, Social Studies, Science

As spring’s coming, it’s time to consider getting outside for some fieldwork! Learn how to create a fieldwork project using ArcGIS tools available to K-12 schools across Canada.

ArcGIS Survey123 Web Designer
For Geography, Social Studies, Science, Math, English, Business, Civics, Health/Physical Education and History

Surveys are a great way for students to collaborate on a project with other students either in the classroom or outside.

In this tutorial, students will learn how to create a survey using the ArcGIS Survey123 Web designer, submit data, and create a Web map to share survey results.


Read these inspirational examples of outdoor ArcGIS projects done by a couple of Canadian teachers. Both projects engaged K-12 students and helped them foster new skills, like critical thinking and spatial awareness.

Collect and present data on a topic around your school with ArcGIS
Discover how a teacher from Quebec has used ArcGIS to engage his students in a data collection activity to explore a common topic around the world.

A group of kids collecting data on a mask location.

Louis put together a story map to present the findings of the student activity of collecting data on discarded masks around their school.

Teacher Tony Cushman taking field work to the next level with ArcGIS
Tony Cushman is an elementary teacher from Toronto, Ontario who completed a school-wide project with his grade three students using ArcGIS in 2019. Find out what the project was about and how he incorporated cross-curricular learning using some of the most popular ArcGIS tools available to K-12 schools in Canada.

New to ArcGIS Online?

If you are new to ArcGIS Online, educators can request an account for themselves and their students at

Check out the following beginner resources to get started with ArcGIS Online:

For Educators - Let’s get started with ArcGIS Online
For Students – Enroute with ArcGIS Online

Using ArcGIS Online and want to learn more?

Discover Story Maps
Creating ArcGIS Dashboards 

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Specialist in the Esri Canada Education and Research group. She has over 15 years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela focuses on producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum-specific resources, and conducting and creating custom workshops for educators. She manages the GIS Ambassador Program and is the Technical Chair for the annual Skills Ontario GIS competition. Angela also writes monthly posts for the Esri Canada Education and Research blog, highlighting K-12 educators and partners, new ArcGIS resources and GIS-related events.

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