Showing posts with label USGS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USGS. Show all posts

Monday, August 3, 2020

Lessons on Map Projections

The maps pages and education pages of the USGS should be bookmarked by anyone who teaches geography. One of my go-to pages within the USGS education site is this collection of 27 ideas for teaching with topographic maps. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections. The USGS offers a free map projections poster that you can use in conjunction with the lesson on map projections.

You can download hundreds of USGS maps for free from the USGS store. You can also visit the USGS topoView site to download historic maps. One of the ways that I like to use these maps is to overlay them on Google Earth imagery. This can be a good way to compare map projections and map content. This video shows you how to do that.



Projection Wizard is an interesting tool developed by Bojan Šavrič at Oregon State University. The purpose of Projection Wizard is to help cartographers select the best map projections for their projects. Projection Wizard is a more advanced tool than most high school geography courses would need. That said, I would use the Projection Wizard to have students discuss the flaws of  various map projections. We'd also talk about why a particular type of projection is better than another for different types of projects.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

USGS Find a Feature Challenges - Outdoor Learning Opportunities

Last week I wrote about the Learning from Home resources available from the USGS. While it's not specifically a part of the Learning from Home resources, USGS offers another selection of activities that can be used for "at home" learning. Those activities are called Find a Feature.

The USGS Find a Feature challenge is a series of photo challenges. Each challenge asks participants to photograph a type of geological or ecological feature in their neighborhoods. When they've found the feature and taken a picture participants can post it on social media and tag @USGS_YES

Applications for Education
Find a Feature includes supporting documentation for teachers, parents, and students. For example, the current challenge about water clarity includes explanations of what water clarity is and how it is measured.

You could easily create your own Find a Feature challenge that is more specific to your area than the general challenges offered by the USGS. You could create a private "find a feature" challenge by posting an assignment in Google Classroom and having students reply with a photograph.

Friday, April 24, 2020

USGS Offers Online and Hands-on Learning from Home Resources

Since I was in elementary school I have enjoyed looking at maps and day dreaming about the places those maps depict. I like maps so much I have a couple of USGS topographical maps on the wall in my office. So whenever the USGS emails me with something new, I immediately investigate it. The latest email that I got from the USGS featured collections of "learning from home" resources.

Learning From Home With USGS offers eight weeks of lesson ideas and activities that students can complete online and or offline in their homes. For example, this week's resources include step-by-step directions and templates for building six different sand dune models. This week's resources also include dozens of links to resources for learning about national parks that contain sand dunes.

You can use the Learning From Home With USGS units in any order that you like. All of the resources from prior weeks are still available on the Learning From Home pages. Last week's unit was all about fossils. The fossils unit includes templates and step-by-step directions for making paper dinosaurs.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some science or geography activities that your students can complete at home without an Internet connection, the USGS Learning From Home activities are worth your time to explore. All of the templates and step-by-step directions are available in PDFs that you can download and print to mail home to students.

Related Resources
The USGS offers thousands of historical maps that you can download for free through the topoView site.



Google Earth has historical and time-lapse imagery that can be useful in showing students the effects of erosion on coastal areas. Here's a video on how to find that imagery.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

topoView - View and Download Thousands of Historical Maps

topoView is a free service that anyone can use to find and download historical topographic maps produced by the USGS since 1880. The process of finding maps through topoView is rather easy. Simply open the map viewer then click on a part of the United States. Once you've selected an area you can use the timeslider to find maps produced during a range of years. Maps that you find through topoView can be downloaded as JPG, KMZ, GeoPDF, and GeoTIFF files. Most students will utilize the JPG or KMZ formats. This video provides an overview of how to use topoView.


Applications for Education
The historical maps found through topoView could be useful in helping students see how the topography of an area has changed over the last 130 years. Students who use Google Earth Pro (the free desktop version of Google Earth) can layer the historical maps over the current view of an area.

topoView could also be useful to students who are writing historical fiction stories to get a better sense of the layout of a place that they might be writing about.

Learn more about Google Earth in my upcoming webinar, Google Earth & Maps - It's More Than Social Studies

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

USGS Multimedia Gallery - Excellent Public Domain Images and Videos

Today, I want to make sure that you're aware of some other great materials available through the USGS Multimedia Gallery. The USGS Multimedia Gallery contains large collections of educational videos, animations, podcasts, and image galleries. You can search each collection by topic, keyword tag, or year of creation. RSS feeds are available for each gallery. In addition to the videos in the USGS Multimedia Gallery you can find many videos on the official USGS YouTube channel.

Applications for Education
If you need images or videos to help you deliver a lesson to your Earth Science students, the USGS Multimedia Gallery should be one of the first places you visit. Likewise students developing multimedia presentations for their Earth Science classes would be well-served to visit the USGS Multimedia Gallery.

Friday, May 26, 2017

27 Ideas for Teaching With & About Topographic Maps - From the Archive

Due to an injury and some pressing personal matters requiring my attention, posts for the rest of the week will be favorites from the archive.

The USGS offers free topographic maps for most of the United States. The maps can be downloaded as PDFs through the USGS store. The maps can be used in the 27 suggested topographic maps lessons found in the USGS education site. All of the lessons are rated by grade level and time required for completing the activity. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections as well as lesson suggestions for less common things like analysis of stereo aerial photographs and analysis of humans and hydrography.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Free Printable Maps from the USGS and National Geographic

The United States Geological Survey creates topographical maps of the United States.  The USGS maps can be downloaded for free from the USGS website. The USGS website can be a little tricky to use. Another option is to use National Geographic's USGS map portal to find, download, and print maps. On that site you can search for maps by panning and zooming on a map of the United States or by searching for a specific location.

Applications for Education
I've used many USGS maps over the years while planning hiking, paddling, and biking trips. I have also used them while teaching students how to use a map and compass. It's a great way to get students thinking about the topography of an area and how that topography impacts travel and construction.

H/T to Maps Mania

Sunday, September 22, 2013

27 Topographic Maps Lessons

The USGS offers free topographic maps for most of the United States. The maps can be downloaded as PDFs through the USGS store. The maps can be used in the 27 suggested topographic maps lessons found in the USGS education site. All of the lessons are rated by grade level and time required for completing the activity. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections as well as lesson suggestions for less common things like analysis of stereo aerial photographs and analysis of humans and hydrography.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

USGS Multimedia Gallery

In the past I've written about Google Earth files and some other educational media from produced by the USGS (here and here). Today, I want to make sure that you're aware of some other great materials available through the USGS Multimedia Gallery. The USGS Multimedia Gallery contains large collections of educational videos, animations, podcasts, and image galleries. You can search each collection by topic and or keyword tags. RSS feeds are available for each gallery. In addition to the videos in the USGS Multimedia Gallery you can find many videos on the official USGS YouTube channel.

H/T to Lucy Gray who shared the USGS social media center on Facebook.

Applications for Education
If you need images or videos to help you deliver a lesson to your Earth Science students, the USGS Multimedia Gallery should be one of the first places you visit. Likewise students developing multimedia presentations for their Earth Science classes would be well-served to visit the USGS Multimedia Gallery.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Video - Two Cases of Global Warming
Climate Change, Wildlife, Wildlands Lesson Plans
An Immersive Virtual Tour of the Grand Canyon