Resources for Teachers

Grade K-2: Geography

General Geoprahpy|| Historic Exploration of the United States|| Satellite Images|| Topographic Maps

General Geography

Helping Your Child Learn Geography- Background Information and Activites
A 32-page booklet, published in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Geographic Society, that is designed to help adults stir children's curiosity about geography. Includes many suggestions for simple activities. K-4.      

Floods and Flood Plains- Background Information
This easy-to-understand fact sheet describes why floods occur and discusses the basics about flood-plain designation.

Ten Lessons for Teaching Geography Using Corn Mazes- Lessons
This web link lists various maps that themes in Geography can be illustrated using a corn maze. Not every exercise requires actual access to a corn maze.

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 Adventures- Lessons and Activites
Students will learn basic concepts for visualizing objects from different perspectives and how to understand /and use maps. The lessons center on a story about a little girl named Nikki. Nikki goes up in an unplanned balloon ride that gives her, and the students, different views of a park.  

Historic Exploration of the United States

Routes of the Principal Explorers Paper Map- Maps
Purchase this paper map showing routes of explorers in the contiguous 48 states, 1501-1844. Product #101216.    

Satellite Images

EROS Satellite Image Resources for the Classroom- Background Information
USGS Fact with a handy list of educational resources available through our Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS), which manages all USGS satellite imagery.

Tracking Change over Time- Lesson
Enhance students' learning of geography, map reading, earth science, and problem solving through landscape changes recorded by satellites in space.

Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change- Background Information
Earthshots is an e-book of before-and-after Landsat images (1972-present), showing recent environmental events and introducing the concept of remote sensing. Each set of images includes a detailed description, photographs and maps, a list of references, and a question/answer. Images are best used on-line.

TerraLook- Photos
Download free, high-resolution satellite images in georeferenced PDF format, which allows for visual interpretation and comparison without the need for complicated software.

EarthNow! Near-Real Time Satellite Image Viewer- Photos
Currently only works in Internet Explorer. What does a satellite see as it passes over our planet? This mesmerizing, near-real time viewer displays data received from the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites as they pass over the United States.

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.

Topographic Map Resources for Teachers- Background Information
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.

Free Digital USGS Topographic Map Quadrangles- Maps
Download free USGS topographic map quadrangles in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format by clicking on "Map Locator" on the USGS Store Web site. These files were created using high-resolution scans and average 10-17 megabytes in size.

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

Ten Lessons for Teaching Geography Using Corn Mazes- Activities and Lessons
Visit a corn maze and use these activities to learn about maps and geography.