Mapman’s journey took him to this rainbow-colored hot spring. At 370 feet across, it’s bigger than a football field.



Common Core: RH.6-8.7, RH.6-8.10, WHST.6-8.4, WHST.6-8.7, RI.6-8.7, RI.6-8.10, W.6-8.4, W.6-8.7, SL.6-8.1

NCSS: Culture • Time, Continuity, and Change • People, Places, and Environments


Political Map

Can YOU Find Mapman?

Where did our cartographer go? Draw a map of the mystery location to enter the contest.

Helen McMahon

Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon, aka Mapman®, is Junior Scholastic's cartographer (mapmaker). This past summer, he went on a road trip to our country’s first national park, which is famous for its unique geographic features. Each year, millions of visitors flock to this park to see its rainbow-hued hot springs and geysers—a type of hot spring that shoots steam and water as high as 180 feet into the air. The park also features mud pots, pools of highly acidic muddy water that smell like rotten eggs.

Mapman traveled to the national park, established in 1872, to experience these geological wonders in person. To get there, he had to drive through a few states in the Northern Great Plains. Situated in the center of the United States, the area includes North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, as well as the eastern halves of Montana and Wyoming.

Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This year’s mystery location is known for its bison (pictured here) and geysers (above).

One of the largest grasslands in the world, the Northern Great Plains was for centuries home to millions of bison (commonly called American buffalo). But by the 1880s, settlers expanding west had hunted the bison to near extinction. Today, Native Americans and other local residents are working with environmental groups to protect the region’s wildlife, including bison and elk.

Want to learn more about our nation’s oldest national park? Enter this year’s Can You Find Mapman? contest! If you correctly answer the five questions at right, figure out Mapman’s final destination, and draw a map of the national park in which it’s located, you could be chosen as one of the winners.

The grand-prize  winner will receive $250. (Your teacher will also win $250.) Twenty-five runners-up will each get a Mapman T-shirt. 

All entries must be postmarked by February 15, 2022. Good luck!

Click here to download the entry form and rules.

Skills Sheets (2)
Skills Sheets (2)