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Here students make topographic maps with stacked cardboard and tracing paper


Science, Social Studies  


5, 6  

Title – Topo-Time
By – Jason
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Science
Grade Level – 5-6


    Students will be able to read and create a topographic map.


  • textbook
  • scissors
  • glue
  • tracing paper
  • cardboard
  • black marker
  • pencil

Warm Up:

  • Show students a topographic map with pronounced contour lines.
  • Ask the student to write down five things they think the “squiggly lines” could represent.

Developmental Sequence:

  1. Read section in social studies/science book on maps and mapping.
  2. Discuss the different types of maps and what you need to know to understand them.
  3. Show the students an example of a topographic map and explain how to read it.
  4. Place students into groups of two.
  5. Give each group scissors, glue, black marker, cardboard, and tracing paper.
  6. Groups will cut the cardboard into shapes.
  7. Take black marker and trace the edges of each piece of cardboard.
  8. Stack and glue cardboard pieces together going from largest piece on the bottom to smallest piece on top.
  9. Once their landscape has been created, drape the piece of tracing paper over their 3-dimensional map.
  10. Using the black marker gently trace on the tracing paper where they can see the edges of each piece of cardboard to create their own topographic map.


    Students will be graded on the quality of the topographic map that they created.

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