Reading Topographic & Geologic Maps Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students how to read topographic and geologic maps with help from this lesson plan. Students will watch a video lesson, do hands-on activities to practice and apply concepts, then take a quiz to check understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the purposes of a topographical and geological map
  • explain contour lines and their associated rules
  • read a topographical and geological map


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.3

Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


  • Video lesson How to Read Topographic and Geologic Maps
  • Copies of the quiz, one for each small group
  • Sample of geographical map, such as your city or state
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Water
  • Glue
  • Access to technology and the internet
  • Pen

Key Vocabulary

  • Topographical map
  • Geological map

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