a Topographic Map
suggested grade levels: 7-9
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson
1. Students will be exposed to the Topography section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will construct and know how to read a topographic map.
|Poster paper||Styrofoam (or any other substance, even a loaf of bread or cake) chunk shaped in the form of a mountain sliced horizontally every 1-inch so the "mountain" can be separated into layers.|
|Markers||A long straight stick that has a pointed tip|
This activity can help students as they learn about the topography section of the Digital Atlas.
To get there: Click on Atlas Home, Geography, Basics, then on Topography. Encourage your students to read through the topography section and encourage them to pay special attention to what contour lines are, vertical scales, and gradients. Then do the following demonstration.
1. Place the "mountain" in the center of the paper and insert the
rod through the mountain from the tip of the mountain to the bottom. Make sure
the rod leaves a mark on the paper. Make sure the rod does not penetrate Styrofoam
at an angle. This is done so there is a point of reference to be used as you
place each "slice" of the mountain.
2. Trace the bottom "slice" of the mountain on the poster paper using a marker, be sure to center the hole in the slice on the mark on the paper.
3. Repeat this process with every layer of the mountain, going from the bottom to the top. Make sure all layers are facing the same way before tracing.
4. Label each line in inches to represent elevation. Your bottom layer should be labeled zero inches, next layer 1 inch, and so on.
5. Discuss the topographic map just constructed with the class.
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
geog1ho.pdf | geog1AK.pdf | Topography
Use the following questions to stimulate a class discussion.
1. What is the vertical scale on the model just made?
2. What do the contour lines represent?
3. How could we calculate the gradient between two points?
Geography: Geography Topics