Make a Community Almanac
Students will gather geographic information about their community and work together to create a community almanac.
BackgroundA topographic map provides a description of natural features (hills, lakes) as well as those constructed by humans (roads, towns). Many hiking maps show similar features. There should be a U.S. Geological Survey map of your area, showing its topography.
What You Need
- copies of almanacs
- topographic map of your area
- large construction paper
- paste or glue
- yarn or twine for binding
What to Do
- Familiarize students with almanacs and the kinds of statistics they contain. Tell students they are going to make an almanac of their community, in which they will list some important information that could be used by residents and visitors.
- Display the topographic map, and review the skills students will need to read it. For example:
- Have students identify north, south, east, and west.
- Help them locate the scale and use it to measure at least one feature on the map.
- Point to and have students read the numbers that indicate elevation.
- Have students locate nearby roads they are familiar with and read aloud the names.
- Practice using the legend.
- Give the class a list of questions to answer, using the map. Which features you include on your list will depend on the geography of your area. Assign individual students or partners to locate one or more of the items from the list. Here are some examples:
- What is the highest hill? How high is it?
- What is the second-highest hill?
- What is the longest river? About how long is it?
- Which road is farthest north?
- Which road is farthest south?
- Which roads run north–south?
- Which roads run east–west?
- What is the longest road?
- What is the shortest road?
- List the three longest roads in ascending order (shortest one first).
- What is the smallest lake?
- What is the largest lake?
- Name three hills in descending order (highest one first).
- Which park is the biggest?
- Have students prepare an information sheet for each question they answer. Fold the construction paper into book form, and have students paste or glue the sheets on the book pages. Bind the book with yarn or twine, and share it with other classes and the library.
- Have students compare the topographic map with a road map and locate some of the same features on both.
- Make a field trip to one or more of the sites on the map that especially interested students. Bring drawing materials, and have students draw each site from different perspectives.
- Research older maps and photographs of the community, and have students compare the topographical features over time.