This week, students explored topography, a method of representing three-dimensional land forms on a two-dimensional map. We talked specifically about topographic maps of the Earth. After reviewing the concepts of elevation and slope we talked about how topographic maps can help us determine both of these things. We compared two different striped cones to see the differing contour lines.
Students brainstormed about different people who might use topographic maps in their jobs: architects would evaluate sites for buildings, marine biologists might look at the depth of the ocean where they discovered a new species, families would look for flat trails to hike suitable for young children or grandparents.
Students then had the opportunity to make a model mountain and slice it up to make a topographic map. After looking at some examples of topographic maps, the students broke into small groups. Each group constructed a model “mountain” out of clay, then divided the mountain into segments to create a topographic map of their “mountain.”