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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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The Science of Puddles part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field investigation of puddles where students gather data and record their findings.

Learning About Bird Migration part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a classroom introduction to bird migration. Students will acquire new vocabulary, sharpen their map skills, and discover the scientific reasons some birds migrate.

Planets Made Real - Creating Size and Distance Scale of Planets in the Student's Community part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a classroom investigation where the students create, in size and distance, a solar system model in proportion to a selected sphere representing the earth.

Investigating how terrain and watersheds are connected part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
In this activity students will gain an understanding of how terrain affects a watershed. Students will use maps and Google Earth to "get a picture" of the terrain within their watershed. They will use this knowledge to create an investigation of their stream which will help answer student generated questions about the connection of terrain and water systems.

An Investigation into Geologic Mapping: Quarry Park part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field investigation where students geologically map a defunct granite quarry in Saint Cloud Minnesota'sr Quarry Park.

Investigating Lava Flows and Their Imapct on Shoreline Features part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
Short Description This activity is a field investigation where students construct a diagram of a lava flow from top to bottom based on observations made in the field and then attempting to make connections between the lava flow features and the resulting shape of the shoreline of Lake Superior.

Student Created Landform Maps with Glacial Emphasis part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
Students learn glacial landforms and create a landform map including a location grid (eg. position A2) and map key.

Minnesota's Natural Resources part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
In this lesson students will learn about Minnesota's natural resources, particularly iron ore.

Tracking the Sun: Observing the Path of the Sun Throughout the Year part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
As an on-going project, students note the position of the sun by mapping a shadow on the classroom floor. They learn about the earth's tilt and the effect of the sun's light on our seasons.

Investigating geologic features and processes: A field investigation for earth science students at Leif Erickson Park, Duluth, Minnesota. part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field investigation where students observe and interpret the rocks types, geologic features, and processes typical to the north shore of Lake Superior. Students use their data to develop questions that could be further investigated and to predict the sequence of events leading to the formation of these rocks and features.

Geologic Stories: retreating waterfalls and fossils part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field investigation where students gather data on fossiliferous limestone, develop an experimental question, and develop a mental model of local geologic history.

Investigating Processes of Sedimentation in Gravel Pits part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This is a field investigation where students will explore and observe sediments within a local gravel pit and from their observation create an investigation that will help to determine the nature of the sediments.

Phenology and Weatherguide Calendar part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field observation and also an in-class discussion/share. Students share observations made outside and are aware of changes in the natural world.

Using Benthic Marcoinvertebrates Captured by Rock Baskets to Determine Biodiversity in a River. part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
In this ecology investigation, students will build and place rock baskets to collect benthic macroinvertebrates in a local waterway. They will observe and identify their macroinvertebrates and use the data to determine the pollution tolerance index for various areas of a river.

Investigating Contour Maps: Creating Contour Maps By Surveying part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field investigation where student create a life-sized contour map and discuss why some contour lines are different from others.

Mapping the Glaciers part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This earth systems field lab begins with an in-class guided inquiry experience which uses Minnesota Geological Survey 3-D maps of the upper Midwest to determine where they believe glaciers may have had an influence. They will determine this by looking at landscapes and compiling their own evidence from the maps. They will also offer evidence for a hypothesis they generate which involves the direction that the glacier was traveling. The two-day lesson ends (after student presentations on their findings about glaciers) with a field investigation of one of our parking lot snow banks. Students will compare and contrast what they know about glaciers, with one of our parking lot snow banks, determining any similarities with how the landscape may have appeared during the Pleistocene.

A Rocking Walking Tour: Investigating Architectural Rocks in downtown St. Paul, MN part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This is a guided inquiry field investigation in an urban setting. This investigation focuses on making observations, recording information, asking questions, and identifying the types of rocks used on buildings in downtown St. Paul, MN.

Investigating local stream discharge part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
This activity is a field investigation where students calculate stream discharge, develop and complete an investigation involving the stream, interpret their findings, and report to their peers.

Examining topography and stream discharge at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
In this inquiry based geologic field lab students will be estimating and measuring stream flow. Students will also map out a full scale live topography map of a dry streambed to help them estimate flow discharge. Students will use their journals to record their hypothesis, lab report questions, graphed data and evidence to backs up their observations.

Geology of the Credit River at Hidden Valley Park part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
Short Description: This is an inquiry based field investigation where students gather data on the Credit River from the rocks in the river bed, water speed, and maps. Students interpret their findings and develop new questions.


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