Resources for Teachers

Grade 6-8: Geography

Download or Purchase USGS Maps and Satellite Imagery|| Geologic Maps|| Map Teaching Resources|| Map Tools|| Online Maps of the US|| Satellite Imagery|| Topographic Maps

Online Maps of the United States

USGS Education Map Catalog - Maps
Browse samples of USGS maps that are popular with educators. Order paper copies through this site. Where available, links are provided to pdf versions that can be freely downloaded. (Navigate to this site on your own by going to the USGS Store and clicking on "Education Products")   

Printable Outline Maps of States (plus reference maps and more!) - Maps
Download hundreds of reference maps for individual states and for all of the United States. These are specifically designed to print on 8.5"x11" paper for classroom use. Includes unlabeled outline maps of the U.S. Formerly available on the National Atlas website.

Map Teaching Resources

Topographic Map Resources for Teachers- Background Information and Maps
An overall summary of useful USGS resources for working with topographic maps: where to get them; how to interpret them; how to use them; explanations of coordinates, datums, and projections; and lessons for the classroom.

Topographic Maps

Constructing a 3D Topographic Map - Activity
This exercise uses clear plastic take-out lids, each marked with a different elevation line, and stacked to produce a 3D topographic map. It includes a base map of Angel Island (San Francisco Bay) but can be adapted to any local topographic feature.

27 Ideas for Teaching with Topographic Maps - Activites
Contains 27 ideas for teaching with the approximately 57,000 topographic maps that the USGS offers.   

Map Mysteries - Background Information and Activity
Sample questions to use with USGS topographic and thematic maps as starting points to uncover mysteries about the cultural and physical geography of the Earth.

Corn Maze Geography - Activites
Visit a corn maze and use these activities to learn about maps and geography.

Map Symbols - Background Information
An explanation of topographic maps and map symbols.

Free Digital USGS Topographic Map Quadrangles - Maps
Click on "Map Locator & Downloader" to download free USGS topographic map quadrangles in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format. Paper copies (a cost product) can be ordered at the same location.

Satellite Imagery

Earth as Art - Photos
A special collection of satellite images that record beautiful sights, events of historic significance, and scenes that stir the imagination. All images can be downloaded for free as high-resolution JPEG files.

Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change - Photos
Before-and-after satellite images of environmental change events. The image sets include detailed descriptions of what occurred, a list of references, and a question/answer.

Remote Sensing Classroom Puzzles
Take your state apart and put it back together with these fun online puzzles made from Landsat photos from USGS EROS.

Download or Purchase USGS Maps and Satellite Imagery

USGS Store - Background Information
A quick and easy way to find and order printed USGS products: paper maps, books, and other publications. Also use this site to download free 1:24K, 1:100K and 1:250K topographic maps for anywhere in the U.S. in GeoPDF format, and to browse educational products. Teacher discounts are available for some purchases.

EarthExplorer - Photos
Free downloads of digital USGS data including satellite imagery, digital aerial photos, and cartographic products. Some high-resolution scans of air photography must still be purchased. Locate products by name, coordinates, or define on a map.

Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) - Background Information
The most user-friendly method for browsing and ordering Landsat, Terra ASTER, MODIS, and EO-1 satellite images and NAPP photography. Allows convenient preview of images and scene mosaics. All USGS satellite imagery is available through this Web site.

Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change - Photos
Earthshots is an e-book of before-and-after Landsat images (1972-present), showing recent environmental events and introducing the concept of remote sensing. Some changes are due to natural causes and some are due to human causes. Each set of images includes a detailed description, photographs and maps, a list of references, and a question/answer section.  

Geologic Maps

National Geologic Map Database - Maps
This exhaustive database provides bibliographic access to many thousands of geologic, geophysical, and other kinds of maps available in USGS publication, Web sites, and in popular science journals, etc.   

Tapestry of Time and Terrain - Map
Shaded relief and geology are combined on this map of the 48 conterminous states. It's a useful resource for discussing physiographic provinces and rocks deposited during different geologic time periods. Download a free PDF or purchase a paper version through the USGS Store. Both versions include an 18-page pamphlet. This is one of the most eye-catching maps produced by the USGS.

The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain - Background Information
Reveals the geologic history of North America through the interrelation of rock type, topography, and time. Regional surface processes as well as continent-scale tectonic events are exposed in the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension, geologic time.