Atlas-Related Resources

On this page you will find some lesson plans and learning activities that use the California Atlas.  As California is a changing state, we know that teachers are continually updating these materials and developing their own strategies for using the atlas. We appreciate the feedback of educators and would be happy to share your lesson plans and learning activities (with attribution, of course!).  Please send feedback or materials to

California Atlas Lessons are in PDF format. You can access a free download of Adobe Acrobat Reader here. Click on a lesson title to view in a new browser page; or right-click to download to your computer.

Map Reading and Interpretation Guide (for teachers and students)

Online StoryMaps
> Our California is Yours to Explore
> California Missions: In Time and Space
> Capitals, Capitols, and County Seats
> Follow the Anza Expedition of 1775-76

Learning Activities and Lesson Plans
> Geographer’s Notebook worksheets are linked from the table of contents page.
> Atlas Exploration: Student Scavenger Hunt
> “I Have, Who Has?” Vocabulary Building Game
> Where are California’s Commodities Produced? (2-day lesson plan)
> Where I Live (1-hour lesson plan)
> California Atlas Literature Connections
> California Atlas Writing Activities

Atlas Inquiries
> Earthquake Hazards
> Temperature Extremes
> Explorers, Adventurers, and Settlers
> Farms and Cities Compete for Space
> Native Americans in California
> Water Resources
(use the map reading and interpretation guide for support with inquiries)

Professional Learning Materials
> Geography for Life, 2nd Edition
> Geography in California’s HSS Standards and Framework
> Feb. 6, 2024 Review Session SLIDES & VIDEO RECORDING