NAGT > Teaching Resources > Teaching Activities > Crate Lake Map Assignment

Crate Lake Map Assignment

Tony Murphy
College of St. Catherine
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In earth science, map interpretation is probably the critical restriction curtailing students' ability to access and explore course concepts. Anaglyph maps are visualizations that present mapped data in a 3D way that make it more accessible to every student, not just those with strong spatial and conceptual skills. This exercise gives students a chance to compare a topo map with a 3D map and use the maps to answer questions. The questions highlight student gains using 3D to interpret surface features.



This assignment is designed for middle school.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:

None required.

How the activity is situated in the course:

This activity could be used to supplement any basic Earth science or map unit.

National or State Education Standards addressed by this activity?:

Structure of the Earth System


Content/concepts goals for this activity:

Students will understand that maps can present spatial information in three dimensions.
The student will be able to better understand and interpret landscape features in 3D.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:

The student will use of a map or visualization to read the landscape and determine what objects can and cannot be seen from various points on the map. Typically students using a topographical map will focus on the immediate, while students using 3D maps begin to see large scale landforms and distance.

Other skills goals for this activity:

Description of the activity/assignment

In this exercise, students are given both a topographic map and a 3D version of the same map. They are then asked a set of questions about the landscape the map portrays. The students will be asked to determine what surface features and topographical features can be seen from various locations on the map.

Determining whether students have met the goals

The question set and answer key will be provided at the session.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Additional 3D maps, background interpretations, and activities for educators are available at

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Subject: Education, Geoscience:Geology
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Grade Level: Middle (6-8)
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Topics: Earth surface, Education