Education Technology

JASON: Make a Topographic Map

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Rainforests at the Crossroads: Make a topographic map of a simulated terrain, which consists of your classroom floor and two boxes of different sizes.

Before the Activity

See the attached teacher document (pdf file) for notes and guidelines for this activity.

Print and copy the attached activity document and research article (pdf files) for your class. The research article is in the during the activity section below.

During the Activity

Students will:

  • Learn how to make a topographic map
  • Prepare a simulated terrain
  • Use a Motion Detector connected to a TI CBL 2™ , or Vernier LabPro and a TI-73 Explorer™ , to measure the elevation of specific points on each surface
  • Plot the coordinates of these points, and learn how to connect points of equal elevation to make a topographic map


  • Directions
  • Distribute the activity document and research article to your class
  • Read and discuss the research article
  • Follow the activity procedures outlined in the student document
  • After the Activity

  • Students complete the data analysis section of the activity
  • Discuss the results of the data analysis with your students