Middle school science TEKS 8.9C
I used a foldable to help my students organize the basic information about topography. I included a practice map where we calculated the elevation of various points and learned how to determine the contour interval of a map.
After the background knowledge was in place, I set my room up into four stations.
Watch it - students watched a video explaining the ins and outs of a topographic map.
Read it - students read a passage about the value of topographic maps and who really utilizes this tool.
Explore it - students used various maps to complete a set of task cards.
Research it - THIS was the most favorite station of the four. Students used this website: http://www.mytopo.com/maps/
Students put in their address and then had to determine the elevation of their house and the nearest landmark. Relevant? Yes! All of my students easily determined the elevation of their home and then went on to explore the whole town. They discovered they could toggle from a topographic map view to a satellite image. Cool beans!
It was so fun to watch my 8th graders work collaboratively as they applied their knowledge of topographic maps in a real world application. So, my advice try something new and listen to your students talk the talk of your content area.