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K-12 Mapping Activities

Browse this collection of over 100 activities for use in K-12 classrooms that focus on creating and using maps. Have a map activity of your own? Submit it here to add it to the collection. Learn more about using maps in your class.


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Using NASA NEO and ImageJ to Explore the Role of Snow Cover in Shaping Climate part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Exploring Albedo with NASA NEO
DATA: NASA Satellite Images. TOOLS: ImageJ and Image Composite Explorer (ICE) of NASA Earth Observations (NEO). SUMMARY: Explore and animate satellite images of reflected short wave radiation, snow cover, and land surface temperature downloaded. Then observe, graph, and analyze the relationship between these three variables.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Mapping Local Data in a GIS part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:MyMap
DATA: Student-collected GPS data and site characterizations TOOLS: MyWorld GIS, spreadsheet program SUMMARY: Follow a study of Urban Heat Islands as an example of map-based science research projects.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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How Cities Affect Their Local Climate part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Are Our Cities Warming the Earth?
DATA: GLOBE Program Surface Temperature. TOOL: My World GIS. SUMMARY: Explore the urban heat island effect using student collected surface temperature data. Subset large datasets, buffer others, examine spatial relationships, and gather statistics to investigate temperature differences in urban and rural school sites.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Exploring NCAR Climate Change Data Using GIS part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:NCAR Climate Change Data with GIS
DATA: NCAR Climate Change Scenarios. TOOL: ArcGIS. SUMMARY: Calculate summer average temperatures during the growing season (June, July, and August) using simulated, present-day, climate-modeled output and compare these to temperatures calculated using projected, future, climate-modeled output. Create a temperature anomaly map to summarize the analysis.

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The 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
In this multi-part activity, students study seismograms from different seismic stations recording the Sumatra earthquake of December 26th, 2004 and then determine the epicenter of the quake and track the tsunami it ...

Lessons on River Ecosystems part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
These lessons immerse students in thinking about the big idea of an environmental system as a network of interrelationships and evaluating the goodness of policy options for the environment in the future.

Impacts of El Nino and La Nina part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Oceanography:Activities
In this exercise, students explore NOAA and the Climate Data Center websites that provide information about El Niño. The students are then asked interpret a series of maps to describe the key changes in climate ...

Lab 3: Normal Climate Patterns part of EarthLabs for Educators:Drought
The lab activity described here was created by Betsy Youngman of Phoenix Country Day School and LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives × Winter and summer ...

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Where's the volcanic threat? part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Students investigate Costa Rican volcanic hazards using (a) the amount of silica in volcanic rocks, (b) a highly-simplified geologic map and (c) a satellite image of Costa Rican night time illumination (i.e., human ...

Modeling the Effects of Dam Removal on the Elwha River part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Students are introduced to the social and scientific issues surrounding the removal of the Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River, and conduct a hands-on experiment with real-world application to observe the effects ...

Student-centered Experiments on Earthquake Occurrence Using the Seismic/Eruption Program part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Students select their own region of interest and interrogate the earthquake catalog to obtain quantitative data on the rate of occurrence of earthquakes of various magnitudes within their chosen region.

Exploring Air Quality in Aura NO2 Data part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Aura
DATA: NASA Aura nitrogen dioxide data. TOOL: Google Earth. SUMMARY: Learn about photochemical smog. Explore the relationships among human population density, nitrogen dioxide concentrations, and geography.

Water Availability part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Water Availability
DATA: North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR). TOOL: FieldScope GIS. SUMMARY: Use an online GIS from the National Geographic Society, to investigate the relationship between precipitation, evaporation, and surface runoff.

Protecting Wetlands from Exurban Development part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:WetlandDev
DATA: Land Use and Land Cover TOOL: My World GIS SUMMARY: Examine land-use changes around Macclenny, Florida. Propose locations for future development that minimize impacts on wetlands.

Plotting Earthquakes with Near Real-Time Data part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
Students access the United States Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ and plot the longitude latitude and depth of earthquakes on a physiographic ...

Lab 1: Where's the Water? part of EarthLabs for Educators:Drought
The lab activity described here was created by Betsy Youngman of Phoenix Country Day School and LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives × Photo courtesy of ...

Lab 4: When Precipitation Patterns Change part of EarthLabs for Educators:Drought
The lab activity described here was created by Betsy Youngman of Phoenix Country Day School and LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives × Precipitation ...

Lab 5: Droughts of the Past part of EarthLabs for Educators:Drought
The lab activity described here was created by Betsy Youngman of Phoenix Country Day School and LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives × A great ...

Lab 4: Putting Hurricanes on the Map part of EarthLabs for Educators:Hurricanes
The lab activity described here was created by LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives Students select a storm from the HURDAT database and create its track in the ...

Urban Planning 101: Map Appreciation part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
This is a synthesis activity, providing closure to river and/or map units. Students will begin by looking at a series of maps, including 3D maps. They will brainstorm ways the natural world may interact with humans ...

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