• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

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Playdough Topo

An excerpt from a black and white topographic contour map of Mount Rainier.
An excerpt from a topographic contour map of Mount Rainier.
Overview: Students make a clay model volcano, and then create a topographic map of it. This lesson is adapted from the USGS Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard curriculum.
Grade Level:
5 - 12
Objectives: Students will be able to:
  • Recognize mountains and river valleys on a topographic map
  • Visualize how a 2-dimensional topographic map represents a 3-dimensional landscape
  • Understand contour lines and contour interval
  • Increase their spatial visualization skills
Lesson Plan:
Playdough Topo - word, 45KB
Playdough Topo - pdf, 414KB

Mount Rainier Contour Map
Mount Fuji Contour Map
Mount Rainier Anaglyph Map
Mount Fuji Anaglyph Map
USGS Playdough Topo Lesson Plan
USGS Topo Maps & Mount Rainier Lesson Plan

Did You Know?

Tahoma Creek suspension bridge

The 93 mile Wonderland Trail encircles the mountain offering hikers commanding views of Mount Rainier blanketed by 25 icy glaciers. The trail leads through extensive subalpine meadows of wildflowers and lowland old growth forest. The Tahoma Creek suspension bridge is part of the Wonderland Trail.