After reading Mapping Sam by Joyce Hesselberth my students work on a STEM mapping activity. The story will appeal to students that wonder what cats are doing while their humans are asleep.

Have you ever wondered where your cat goes when you are sleeping? Every night after Sam’s family goes to bed, Sam explores her neighborhood. Through Sam’s escapades, the reader is introduced to 10 different types of maps including botanical diagrams, a cutaway map, and a map of the stars. We learn maps can show us directions, streets, and countries. In addition, they can show us what we can’t see with just our eyes such as things at the bottom of the pond or in space. 

Student Activity:

Now that you have read Mapping Sam it’s time to work on some mapping activities. 


  • First, ask your parents if you can watch the following 2 videos. They explain how a compass works and how to use a compass. 



  • Work on the compass rose page.
  • Work on the map of the United States page.
  • Take a look at the map key page. 
  • You are now ready to work on the Mapping Sam’s Route page. 


  • Ask your parents if you can take a walk. Bring your notebook, a pencil, and your compass with you. Read page 7 before you go.
  • Using your notes make a map of your neighborhood and make sure your map has a key.


A Compass Activity


This is a compass rose. A compass rose is a symbol that helps you read a map. The arrows on the compass rose point to the four main directions, North, South, East & West.


  1. N stands for  ______________________________


  1. E stands for  ______________________________


  1. S stands for  ______________________________


  1. W stands for  ______________________________


Your Neighborhood

Take a walk:

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood. 
  • Use the compass and determine which way is North. 
  • Write down details in your notebook that you want to add to your map. 


Compass Directions:


N – Never (North)

E – Eat (East)

S – Soggy (South)

W- Waffles (Waffles) 

Using your compass directions make a map of your neighborhood. Make sure and add important features like roads, your house, your school, and the park. 

Teacher information:

This activity is part of our take-home STEM kits that are based on children’s books. Students check these kits out of our library. Inside the bag are the book Mapping Sam, a small notebook, and a compass. When the student is done reading the book and doing the activity they send the book and the compass back to school but they keep the notebook.

Helpful Videos that can be shared with students.


These links are through Safelink, so they don’t show commercials. (How does a compass work?) (How to use a compass.)


Additional Information:

If you would like a PDF of this activity that includes compass worksheets please check out  my teacher-pay-teacher link



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