Lesson Plan

Mapping Tumacácori

Historic Map

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.9, 6.RI.7, 6.W.7, 7.W.7, 7.W.8
Additional Standards:
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Students will be able to differentiate between three different types of maps.


Even in the days prior to step-by-step spoken instructions guided by satellites, maps communicated a great deal of information about a place. They could make a place look attractive or desolate, civilized or wild.

Search the American Memory map collections for examples and information that will be useful in helping students to interpret what they see. Assemble a variety of maps (contour, birds eye, panoramic) from various historical periods.   


Computer with projection ability, images of maps, markers


Download Images of 3 Different Maps

Lesson Hook/Preview

a. As students come in, have the Bell Slide Show playing on projection. Begin by asking class for inferences and observations on the slide show. Do not identify images for students at this time.
b. Ask the whole group to view projective image of instructor desktop. With Google Earth open input the school's address in the applications search engine and hit "Enter." The image projected should be presented with a "street view" overlay. Following the previous procedure, open-endedly ask the whole class to identify the research tool that is being projected. Then ask the whole group to volunteer how they have seen maps used in their everyday lives. Ask in what ways do they think maps are used by professionals in any/all professional fields. List each identified activity on board. 


Anticipatory Set
a. Introduce the three map types by presenting images that serve as examples. Break class into three groups. Groups will meet at a poster station. Each station will have two posters fastened to an area on wall. One poster will be folded in half. Folded poster will have a corresponding only group number listed in upper left.
b. Next, ask each group to reveal the information concealed within the folded poster by unfolding it. Each group's poster station has one of three map types to be surveyed by this lesson (contour, birds-eye and panoramic) as heading underlined and centered at the top. Poster stations will be outfitted with a coloring marker and a highlighter. Under the map type referenced, is the term defined/explained.
c. Ask each group to take turns reading their term and explanation.
d. Ask each group to make inferences by listing the functions volunteered by students and listed on board in space provided below the explanation.
e. After giving each group a few minutes to conference, return students' attention to the whole group process and share their small group results.
f. Finally, end this anticipatory set with a collaborative discussion among students and about the accuracy of the organizing of functions under the category of each term.

Guided Practice 
a. With students still at their Poster Stations, ask the whole group to view projected images from Slide Show #1.    
b. "As you may guess today we will be exploring history, geography and even mathematics through the lens of maps. Already we have been introduced to three types of maps, what were they?" birds eye, contour, and panoramic
c. "What category or of map would you put the projected image in?" birds eye
d. "It is important for the purpose of this class to maintain distinctions or separations in our minds among the first three maps. This is because sometimes when we review non-fiction text on the internet identification terms are sometimes used interchangeably. So let's review.
· birds-eye map - an overhead, two dimensional (2D) image, photographic medium, of an area used to present geographic objects or relative distance from one from one space to another.
· panoramic map - an overhead, but tilted image usually composed by hand artistically to suggest a three dimensional view. These maps were used most often in the past to attract those moving West or prospective real estate investors.
· contour map - an overhead image hand-drawn or composed by computer aided design tools used to illustrate elevation changes over a selected geographic space.  

e. "Now, we are going to look at three images. These images are related to the text of previous slides in that these images are examples of the map type. I will show each slide once while you all are seated. Each image will have a corresponding number. Select in your minds individually the image that best represents an example of your poster group's map category. Do not state your individual answer out loud. Please, give all of us a few moments to chose our own answer. Show me a "thumbs up" when you have answer in mind. When all of us have our thumbs up, I will dismiss to our poster groups. Then I will show all the images again in a slideshow loop. I will give you all three minutes on the "kitchen timer." Take this time to confer with your groups and decide collaboratively which slide represents your group's type of map. When time expires I will present the next set of directions. 
f. Now, groups have your orator ready with its choice of image. We will then check in with each group to hear its choice. However, I also must hear from at least one additional member of each group a detail that supports your groups’ choice. (Groups discuss its choices.) 
g. Next we will look at each map individually so I can give you all some brief context. (Instructor should then return to the slideshow and toggle back to design view.) Image #1 is a panoramic style map of. It is an image presented in an over-head perspective, but as you can see its tilted to inspire a three dimensional view for the viewer. Furthermore, it is obviously artist drawn, so for the purpose of this class it is distinctive from a birds-eye map. 
h. "Image #2 is a birds-eye style map. It too is an image taken from an over head perspective. The image is two dimensional and is illustrated. Often birds-eye maps can be found with or with out road information overlayed. What does overlayed mean? Well let's put a thumb tack on that term for later.  
i. "Image #3 is a contour map. The word contour is related to words like line, silhouette and curve. Does any of you see evidence contours on this map? What are these contours demonstrating? These contours are demonstrating elevation change. As the contour lines increase in density or draw closer together, the more steeply the elevation changes."

Assessment Materials

Student Worksheet

Mapping Tumacácori Assessment

Download Assessment

Enrichment Activities

"We have been using recently our own geographic region as a basis for the introductions to various categories of maps. As you may already know, professional geographers create and use maps as tools to understand and interact with specific regions of the earth. Today I would like to introduce a fourth type of map. Then we will be presented with a set of procedures that will lead us to locating an important historical resource. Finally, we use this map like we would a search engine, follow clues, and use primary source text to identify the location of this important historical resource.

United States quadrangle maps are geographical resources which form the basis of USGS National Map which created a national continuous record of roads, fresh water features, elevation change, political boundaries, forested areas, architectural structures, and geographic names. The synthesis of this information was the product of sophisticated integration of high definition aerial images of our country. At its completion for the first time the U.S government had a national map with the depth of all its resources in satellite layers, completing a mosaic which began with the mapping of its National Parks and other federal fee areas. This was a landmark achievement for the National Geological Survey. The National Map made available a topographical imagery based search engine in which all citizens with internet access could locate and print contour maps with selectable geographical features overlaid and print at no cost to the user.

I have highlighted the major points on our PowerPoint projection that make the National Map so relevant to the American professional and any interested community member. What I want us to do now is explore the primary source text of a conspicuous member of a rural community not too far from here. This individual decided to donate a parcel of the land in which he owned back to the U.S. government. However we will see that this was not such an easy task. The geographic area was donated to the U.S. Government back in 1899. We are going to take a description of the area location from this time period and use 21st century tools to identify the parcel ion question on a map. Turn your attention to the Mendez Source Text projection…

  • play file as slideshow, click to advance following steps on slides and slideshow "notes"
  • slideshow includes primary source text with quadrangle procedure
  • following the 15 slides, refer to the Land Survey Information System to verify accuracy (the map system is a "click to zoom" resource which allows for a step by step discovery of specific townships, ranges and sections)

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Last updated: July 29, 2015