Teaching with Maps
This page was created in support of AGIs "Map Our World Week", October 13-19, 2013.
Bring mapping activities into your classroom!
Browse our map activities collection with over 100 classroom activities for teaching with maps.
The three examples below show how maps can enhance your instruction.
What does this map show?
Related student activity: Putting Hurricanes on the Map. Students select a storm and create its track in Google Maps.
Image credit: NASA
Where is this?
Would you live here?
Related student activity: The Geography of Land Planning
Students use simplified maps to plan towns and learn how their town fits into the larger watershed. Image credit: USGS
The three examples above provide a glimpse of the kinds of activities that educators can use in the classroom. Using maps provides context and relevance to topics covered in class as students can more easily visualize complex ideas and situations. Students can also form a much better understanding of the scale involved when maps are used. Below, find several collections of lessons that provide a multitude of ways for students to interact with maps.
Map Activity Collection. Visit this collection to find over 100 activities that involve mapping or using maps in K-12 classrooms.
Earth Exploration Toolbook - The Earth Exploration Toolbook is a collection of computer-based Earth science activities. Each activity, or chapter, introduces one or more data sets and an analysis tool that enables users to explore some aspect of the Earth system. These chapters give step-by-step instructions to enable teachers to introduce real data sets and tools into the classroom.
EarthLabs: A National Model for Earth Science Lab Courses - This project has developed online units for a high school Earth science lab course that is scientifically rigorous and quantitative in order to address the perception of high school Earth science as being "not a real science" compared to biology, chemistry, and physics. The units cover Corals, Cryosphere, Drought, Earth Systems, Fisheries, and Hurricanes and consist of online and laboratory experiments, reading appropriate primary literature, and conducting web research.
Teaching with Google Earth- This resource offers information about how to incorporate Google Earth into your class. The resource presents a collection of materials that use Google Earth along with specific examples of how you might use Google Earth in your class.
Teaching with GIS - This resource provides descriptions of work that can be accomplished through the use of analysis of printed and electronic maps to teach about GIS concepts without requiring students to use software that is not accessible to most high school students.
GeoMapApp activities provide a way for educators to use geoscience data and imagery in the classroom. The site contains data-driven geoscience learning modules aimed at the K-12, Community College and Introductory university levels.
Mars for Earthlings seeks to expose undergraduate students to planetary study through Mars remote sensing data and Earth-based analogs.
The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) works to foster improvement in the teaching of the Earth sciences at all levels of formal and informal instruction, to emphasize the cultural significance of the Earth sciences and to disseminate knowledge in this field to the general public. For more information about NAGT visit our web site. We encourage membership from all those who are engaged in the teaching of Earth science, click here to join NAGT today.
NAGT Awards and Grant Opportunities
Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) awards are given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level." Any teacher or other K-12 educator who covers a significant amount of earth science content with their students is eligible. For more information about the award and to submit a nomination visit OEST Awards
Dorothy Stout Professional Development Grants
Dottie Stout was the first female president of NAGT and was active as a strong supporter of earth science education at all levels. In honor of Dottie's outstanding work and lifelong dedication to Earth Science Education, NAGT awards grants to faculty and students at 2 year colleges and K-12 teachers in support of the following:
- Participation in Earth science classes or workshops
- Attendance at professional scientific or science education meetings
- Participation in Earth science field trips
- Purchase of Earth science materials for classroom use