• Tips & Modifications


    Allow kinesthetic learners to physically delineate their territories in the classroom by walking around their personal space or using their arms to show the boundaries between their space and their classmates’ personal space.

    1. Introduce the concept of personal space.
    Sit or stand in a place that is unusually close to one of your students, without touching the student. After a minute of sitting or standing there while the class wonders what you are doing, ask the student how he or she feels about your location. Ask: Do you feel like the space around you is being “invaded,” or entered without your permission? Or, does it not matter to you? Explain to the class that everyone has personal territory, or space, in which they feel comfortable. Some people enjoy spreading out into larger territories, while others are comfortable in smaller spaces.

    2. Discuss students’ territories.
    Ask students to think about what their own territories might be and list them. Provide them with the following examples:

    • their desks in the classroom
    • their bedrooms at home
    • any other places where they go often and feel comfortable

    Ask students to describe the territories of their pets or other animals they know. Ask: Where do these animals go often? How do they defend their territories? How do they feel if other animals or people enter their territories? Have students describe their families’ territories. Ask: Where do your family members go often? Where are your adult caregivers allowed to go that you, as kids, are not allowed to go?

    3. Have students draw pictures of territories.
    Have students draw pictures or maps of the territories occupied by:

    • themselves
    • their pet or another animal
    • their family members

    Have students trade pictures with a partner and describe their drawings.

    Extending the Learning

    Draw a Venn diagram on the board and list the similarities and differences between students’ territories and those of their families. Ask: What territories do you share?

  • Subjects & Disciplines

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • define personal space and territory
    • describe and illustrate their territories and those of their pets and families

    Teaching Approach

    • Learning-for-use

    Teaching Methods

    • Discussions
    • Hands-on learning

    Skills Summary

    This activity targets the following skills:

    National Standards, Principles, and Practices

    National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

    • Theme 4:  Individual Development and Identity

    National Geography Standards

    • Standard 13:  How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
    • Standard 2:  How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
  • What You’ll Need

    Materials You Provide

    • Crayons
    • Drawing paper

    Physical Space

    • Classroom


    • Large-group instruction
  • Background Information

    Everyone has personal territory, or space, that he or she is comfortable in. Understanding personal territory helps you to understand the reasons for conflicts over territory.

    Prior Knowledge

    • None


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    territory Noun

    land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.

    For Further Exploration