Reading
Topographic Maps

**suggested
grade levels: 7-12 **

view Idaho
achievement standards for this lesson

Topographic maps are used to represent the three dimensional surface of the land on a two dimensional piece of paper. Contour lines are used to represent changes in elevation from one side of the line to the other. By doing this exercise, students should become more familiar with how to read a topographic map.

**Objectives:**

1. Students will learn how
to use the Digital Atlas of Idaho.

2. Students will become more familiar with reading a topographic map.

**Procedure:**

Have your students use
the Digital Atlas of Idaho. To get there: Click on Atlas Home, Historical Geography,
Basics, then on Topography.
Students should work in groups of 2-3. Have your students read through the material
on topography and then do the following activity. Click here to print out the
Sulphur-Boundary Creek
area map. Make enough copies so each group has a copy.

**Handouts/Activities:**

These are links to access
the handouts and printable materials.

geo20ho.pdf | geo20AK.pdf
| Topography | Sulphur-Boundary
Creek area map

**Handout
Sample:**

Answer the
questions below.

1.What is the highest elevation shown on this map? Where is the lowest elevation?

2.What is the contour interval of this map?

3.Imagine a straight line drawn from the peak labeled 7,260 to the peak labeled 6,847. If you were to hike from

peak 7,260 to 6,847 peak, would a straight line be the easiest way to get there? Why or why not?

**Related
Lesson Topics:**

Geology: Geology Topics

Lesson plan by James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001

Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity:

686.01