On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching Introductory Geoscience Courses in the 21st Century
Cutting Edge > Introductory Courses > Activities > Topographic Maps: Integrated Florida River project

Topographic Maps: Integrated Florida River project

Kim Hannula
,
Fort Lewis College
Author Profile

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.

This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Jul 8, 2008

Summary

This fairly traditional topographic maps lab uses local maps as examples. It is intended to prepare students for a group research project later in the semester.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

Context

Audience

Introductory earth systems science course (see course profile), introductory environmental geology course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

None - first lab of the semester.

How the activity is situated in the course

This lab is the first in a sequence of labs and exercises that culminates in the collection and interpretation of water quality data along the Florida River. (See the activity description for the Plotting Florida River Data Using Excel.) The students will visit one of the sites used as examples in this lab, and will analyze data from all of the sites.
See an overview of this project and find descriptions for each of the activities on the Florida River overview page.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Interpretation of topographic maps.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Unit conversions, working in groups.

Description of the activity/assignment

This lab has two purposes. First, it introduces students to topographic maps (including latitude/longitude, map scales, contour intervals, and relief). Second, it introduces students to a river system that they will be studying throughout the semester, and begins preparing students to collect and analyze data from the field. The topographic maps are used to look at topographic characteristics of the river, such as its gradient and its longitudinal profile.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Labs are graded based on whether the student answers fall within a reasonable range of values.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

See more Activities »