The Island Project

Ms. Dorman's Fifth Grade Class: December 1995

  • Gallery of the Maps

    The Assignment

    Imagine that you are swimming in the ocean and you are swept away by riptides. Or that you are on a trans-ocean flight--and your plane has to crash land. Or that you are on an ocean-liner that sinks in high seas. In each case, you survive--and you wash up on the shore of a mysterious island. You are the first outsider to visit there in a long time.

    Where is your island (longitude and latitude)? What kind of geopgrahy does your island have? What are the inhabitants like?

    Your assignment is to write an explorer's report about your island:

    Written Report

    1) You should submit a written report. It should tell the story of your arrival on the island and your first impressions. Then you should provide some factual information about your island, covering some of the various topics commonly found in such entries, drawing from the list provided.

    The land:
    Mountains, hills, plains? Rivers, lakes, swamps? Bays, beaches or cliffs? What is the soil like? What is the weather like? What kind of plants grow on the island? What kind of animals live there? Where do the people live--in villages, cities, farms?

    The People:
    What is the language?
    What is their religion, if any? What is/are their gods?
    How do they raise their children? Do they have schools?

    The Economy:
    How do the people make a living?
    What are the island's natural resources?
    What do the people trade?
    Do they use money or barter?

    How is the government organized?

    Cultural life:
    What kind of technology do the people have?
    What are their arts?
    What kind of music do the young people listen to?
    Do they have theater? Do they have writing?
    What do they do for fun?
    How to they give each other information--by newspapers, by radio, by television, by telephone, by mail?

    What happens in a typical day on your island?


    2) You should submit a map of your island, showing topography as well as place names and locations. Your island must include a river.

    Visit the islands:

    This web site was developed by the students in Ms. Kathy Dorman's 1995-96 fifth grade class. The stories and maps are entirely student work. Maps were drawn by hand then scanned; map titles were added by the students using Adobe Photoshop. Students wrote and edited their stories, by hand and on computer. Then they made final corrections suggested by a teacher. Many students did their own HTML coding.

    Tour director of the Island Project was Mr. Ed Ernst. You can reach him at