Make a Community Almanac
Students gather geographic information about their community and work together to create a community almanac.
A 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 record.
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
- 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 measure at least one feature on the map with it.
- Point to and have students read the numerals that indicate elevation.
- Have them locate nearby roads with which they would be familiar and read their names aloud.
- Practice using the legend.
- Give the class a list of questions to answer using the map. What features
you include on your list will depend on the geography of your area. Assign
individual students or partners to locate on one or more of the items from the
final list. 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 is the biggest park?
- Have students prepare an information sheet for each question they answer.
Fold the construction paper into book form and have students paste the sheets
on the book pages. Bind the book with yarn and share it with other classes and
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.
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