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Lab 14 – Topographic Maps

(1 or 2-Day Lab) This topic introduces concepts, applications, and usage of topographic maps. Deliver this topic using “Day 1” as the introduction and “Day 2” as the group/team activity. For students who are already familiar with the basics and concepts of topographic maps, skip the “Day 1” introduction and deliver the “Day 2” group/team activity only.

Diagram adapted from Berkeley.edu


Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
  • Day 1 – Instructor Presentation
  • Day 1 – Student Handout
  • Lab 14 – Day 1 Instructions and Rubric
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Group/Team Lab Material

Materials needed: poster board, scissors, glue or glue sticks, pencil or pen.

  1. Divide class into small teams of 2-4 students/each.
  2. Provide one medium-to-large sized poster board to each team.
  3. Provide scissors, glue and pencils, if required.
  4. Print “Day 2” student handout – one for each team.

1:41 What Is Topography?

3:47 How to Read a Topo Map

3:59 How to Draw Contour Lines on a Map


Cross-Cutting Emphasis

  1. Develop and use models
  2. Scale, Proportion, & Quantity
  3. Systems & System Models