Exploring the World through Cartography

Cartographic Projections

In today’s lesson, students were introduced to cartography, the science of map-making.   They learned about the five basic elements that all good maps should possess (title, labels, compass rose or north arrow, scale bar, and legend/key) and about how different projections distort or enhance map attributes such as shape, area, distance, and angle.

For our activity, students were then given the opportunity to work with one of the more unusual projections, the Dymaxion. Invented by Buckminster Fuller, this map projects the Earth onto an icosahedron, a geometric shape consisting of 20 equilateral triangles. Students were given the “unfolded” version and through careful cutting, folding and taping were able to convert that two-dimensional map into a three-dimensional “globe.”   The students did a fantastic job cutting out and assembling their globes. 

We hope they share these with you! IMG_2501 IMG_2504

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