Curriculum

What Can Maps Tell Us About Land and Water on Earth?

What Can Maps Tell Us About Land and Water on Earth?

What Can Maps Tell Us about Land and Water on Earth? is part of Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, a new curriculum series by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. It is aligned to a group of grade 2 standards. It has a focus on earth and space science with a secondary focus on physical science. In this module, students:

  • Obtain information about and develop models of the kinds of land and water on Earth
  • Plan and carry out an investigation into the properties of solid and liquid water
  • Obtain information from models and informational text about the patterns of land, solid water, and liquid water on Earth
  • Obtain information from historical maps to determine patterns of how maps represent land and water 
  • Develop symbols for land and water and create their own legend
  • Develop and use a two-dimensional map of their three-dimensional model of land and water 

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.

Module Overview

Blackline masters for the module
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This file contains the blackline masters for the module, including notebook sheets and activity sheets.

Library of Congress Geography and Maps Division
Maps Catalog
The Library of Congress has a digital catalog of over 35,000 maps. They can be sorted by date range, location, and subject.

Lesson 1: What Is a Map?

Ada Asks Introduction
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This video introduces students to the module. 

Discussion Rules
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This file lists several rules for productive discussions between students. 

Lesson 3: Kinds of Water

Glider Guide
This simulation allows students to virtually visit and explore land and water in the United States. It is available as a website for computers. Download the application for use on tablets and mobile devices.

Land and Water at the Smithsonian
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This file contains artworks from the Smithsonian Institution that show land and water. 

Lesson 4: Solids and Liquids

Kinds of Water
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This file shows the same lake during the summer (unfrozen) and winter (frozen over).

Frozen Water Balloon
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This video shows a frozen water balloon dropping onto another object. 

Water Balloon
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This video shows a liquid water balloon dropping onto another object. 

Lesson 5: Snow Globes

Snow and Ice
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This file shows examples of solid water on Earth. 

Mountain
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This file shows a snow-capped mountain surrounded by snow-free terrain. 

Lesson 7: Maps Around the World

Symbols
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This file shows several examples of symbols, including phone icons and emojis.

Mediterranean Map
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This file is a copy of the map of the Mediterranean from Mapping Earth, part of the Smithsonian Science Stories Literacy Series. 

Lesson 8: Making a Legend

Map Legend
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This file shows the map from Lesson 1 with its accompanying legend.

Lesson 9: Mapping My Model Part 1

Ada Asks Science Challenge
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This video introduces students to the Science Challenge.  

Map Monsters
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This file contains images of monsters represented in historical maps. 

Lesson 10: Mapping My Model Part 2

Types of World Maps
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This file shows several projections (or views) of Earth’s surface from NASA’s collection. 

Kit Tips & Tricks