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 from card-sorting activities to define and then develop a 3-D model of the kinds of land and water on Earth
  • Plan and carry out an investigation into the differences between solid and liquid water
  • Obtain information from visual 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 and develop their own map legend
  • Develop a 2-D map model of their 3-D model of land and water using the map legend they created

Below are digital resources that support teaching of this module.

Module Overview

Library of Congress Geography and Maps Division
https://www.loc.gov/maps
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?

Treasure Map
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This file shows an example of a fictional treasure map.

Lesson 2: Kinds of Land

Land Flyover
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This video shows an aerial view of several different kinds of land.

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 an overturned plastic cup.

Water Balloon
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This video shows a liquid water balloon dropping onto an overturned plastic cup.

Lesson 5: Snow Globes

Ice and Snow
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This file shows examples of frozen water in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Earth from Space
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This file shows a satellite image of Earth’s surface during the month of March.

Earth from Space II
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This file shows a satellite image of Earth’s surface during summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

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.

Germany Map
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This file is a copy of the map of Germany 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.

Map Materials
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This file shows several examples of mapmaking materials.

Lesson 9: Mapping My Model Part 1

Map Activity Sheet
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This file is a digital copy of the Map Activity Sheet.

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.

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