Making Sense of Topographic Maps

by: Donna R. Sterling and Amy B. Mannikko

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"I'm confused!" "What are all those squiggly lines? "I don't get it!" These are some common reactions the first time students see a full-sized United States Geological Survey (USGS) topographic map. The study and interpretation of maps is, of course, an essential component of an Earth science curriculum. According to the National Science Education Standards, middle level students should participate in inquiry activities, make models and measurements, and study the features of Earth's crust. Students can study many of Earth's features on topographic maps. But first, they need to learn how to read them, which is discussed in this article.

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Type Journal ArticlePub Date 10/1/2005Stock # ss05_029_02_34Volume 029Issue 02

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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