This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the compelling question, “How do maps talk to us?” Students create symbols, use directional words and a compass rose, develop map keys, and discover relationships among items on a map as they learn to use the language of maps. They are able to distinguish between physical and human characteristics and understand that the purpose of the map dictates what information is on the map. By investigating the compelling question, “How do maps talk to us?” students evaluate the variety of information that maps provide and what information is necessary depending on the purpose of the map. The formative performance tasks build on knowledge and skills through the course of the inquiry and help students gain proficiency in the rudiments of geography. Students create an evidence-based argument explaining ways in which maps speak to us, and why maps represent different things.