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Cartography Teacher Resources
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Eighth graders examine how map making has changed over time. In this map skills lesson, students determine how technological advances have changed map making and provided more accurate maps. Students analyze several maps made in different historical time periods. Students also use GPS devices to create their own contour maps.
Students develop maps based on a virtual internet expedition of The Louisiana Purchase land area. They create the maps based on an actual outdoor expedition of their communities. Student create two maps, one based on the Louisiana Purchase and one based on their community.
Students research the history of cartography. In this cartography lesson, students discuss the origin of maps and view samples of early maps. Students use the Internet to research in groups and create a timeline of events in the history of cartography. Students create ancient Babylonian maps using sticks to etch a geographic area. Students present their timelines to the class and their clay maps.
Using GPS units, small groups participate in a scavenger hunt to find an object that you have hidden. They use coordinates for stopping points along a pre-planned path to get to the final cache. This is a terrific activity to include in a geography, mapping, or technology lesson plan. It can be simplified or added to for almost any age group and several suggestions are made to help you accommodate your class. If you have access to global positioning system units, this would be a challenging and memorable lesson plan.
Fourth graders explore geography by participating in a map activity. For this historical research lesson, 4th graders identify the route John Smith took when he reached the United States and the regions which he inhabited. Students complete a Venn Diagram comparing Virginia in 1607 and Virginia in modern time.
Students explore GPS mapping skills. In this surveying and map making lesson plan, students create a baseline and resulting area using string and stakes. Students measure and record angles created. Students use a GPS receiver to record the latitude, longitude, and other location data present in the physical space they are surveying.
Young scholars investigate map-making. In this map skills lesson, students participate in the shared reading of the book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. Young scholars view a map web site and create a map of the relative's trip using a key to explain symbols on their map.
Middle schoolers explore what "sense of place" means by thinking about their own place in the community in which they live. They draw a map of their town, and create a story that is a personal narrative of an experience they've had in the town. The map serves as a visual aid to support the details of the story. The fine teaching idea presented here will take a few class periods to complete. The first step is the making of the map, and the personal narrative comes next. A nice lesson.
Fifth graders investigate coral reefs and the dangers they face by labeling and drawing. In this oceanography lesson, 5th graders view a PowerPoint presentation of photographs of coral reefs in Belize. Students investigate and illustrate a possible solution to a coral reef threat.