Newsela 101: Body Maps

The first activity we’d like to share with everyone, body maps, is a hands-on activity that pairs easily with any Newsela biography article. The goal of the map is for students to display their understanding of the reading a creative manner. Body maps can be used with any grade level and are a fun alternative to a summary worksheet. The image below comes from my classroom (Tyler), which is a junior level American History course. For high school students, they are asked to read the article first and then find another supporting article to help complete the body map. To fit this activity into a shorter time period, or for students at lower reading levels, a single Newsela biography article has enough information to create a body map independently. Below is an overview and the process for implementing a body map in your classroom.


Students will research and create a visual representation showing their comprehension of a person they have researched on Newsela.


Newsela provides all sorts of articles about different people throughout history and the modern day. This activity works great if you create a text set of different people covering a certain topic. For example, you can create a text set of famous scientists or Civil Rights Activists. Once you have the text set complete, or let the students pick the person, you can then have students create a Body Map. A Body Map is an outline/drawing of the person they read about. The body map has specific directions that go along with different parts of the body outline of the person. Below are a set of directions for an example body map students could create. An additional extension could be to have students present their Body Maps to the class. Depending on what you want to get out of the activity the directions below could be changed or adapted easily. Sometimes, you may only want to do 3 or 4 of the directions and that works well too.

Example Body Map


Example directions:

  • Head/Brain: Dreams of goals in life.
  • Mouth/Dialogue Bubble: Famous quote from the person.
  • Shoulders: Why they are famous.
  • Hands: Changes or impact they made on the world.
  • Heart: Things the person felt strongly about or believed in.
  • Feet: A timeline of important events from their life.


If you have any questions or comments please let us know!


Newsela 101: Body Maps
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