Hands-on Activity: Possible Locations

Contributed by: Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Two images: A map of the oval-shaped State of Alabraska shows the location of geological formations and rock types. A photo shows a girl with a helmet and headlamp climbing through the rock walls of a cave.
Students work with maps and scales
copyright
Copyright © (map) Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, and (cave photo) National Park Service http://www.nps.gov/wica/photosmultimedia/Cave-Photos.htm

Summary

Students use their knowledge of scales and areas to determine the best locations in Alabraska for the underground caverns. They cut out rectangular paper pieces to represent caverns to scale with the maps and place the cut-outs on the maps to determine feasible locations.
This engineering curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Engineering Connection

Engineers usually propose multiple solutions to problems, and then analyze each solution before selecting the one that best meets the criteria for success.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain that the same area can be represented by various shapes.
  • Determine the length and width of a rectangle when given the area of a rectangle.
  • Apply the map scale to create a cavern area.
  • Synthesize multiple pieces of information and make a decision based on all the information.

More Curriculum Like This

Possible Locations

Continuing the Asteroid Impact challenge, students use their knowledge of scales and areas to cut out rectangular paper pieces to represent caverns to scale with the maps. They place the paper cutouts on the maps to determine the best locations.

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Topo Map Mania!

Students learn to identify the common features of a map. Through the associated activities, students learn how to use a compass to find bearing to an object on a map and in the classroom.

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What Is GIS?

In this lesson, students learn the value of maps, how to use maps, and the basic components of a GIS. They are also introduced to numerous GIS applications.

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Students learn about projections and coordinates in the geographic sciences that help us to better understand the nature of the Earth and how to describe location.

Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

  • Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation. (Grade 6) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms. (Grade 7) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Know the formulas for the volumes of cones, cylinders, and spheres and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. (Grade 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Make two-dimensional and three-dimensional representations of the designed solution. (Grades 6 - 8) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Develop and communicate an evidence based scientific explanation around one or more factors that change Earth's surface (Grade 5) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Analyze and interpret data identifying ways Earth's surface is constantly changing through a variety of processes and forces such as plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, solar influences, climate, and human activity (Grade 5) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Gather, analyze, and communicate data that explains Earth's plates, plate motions, and the results of plate motions (Grade 7) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
Suggest an alignment not listed above

Materials List

  • rulers
  • calculators
  • scissors
  • Three attached handouts: Possible Locations Worksheet, Alabraska General Map, Alabraska Geology Map

Introduction/Motivation

The student engineering teams pick some possible cavern locations. To do so, they cut out pieces of paper to represent the cavern area using the map scale.

Please note that this is lesson 4 of the Asteroid Impact curricular unit and builds on the previous lessons and activities associated with the unit.

Procedure

  1. Hand out the materials to each group.
  2. This activity builds upon of the relationship between length, width and area. As necessary, review how to calculate area when given a length and a width AND how to calculate possible combinations of length and width when given an area. TIP: Draw various rectangular shapes on the board and ask the class to come up with other possible combinations of equal area.
  3. It is important to spend some time discussing possible shape combinations to match the total area of the cavern. It is OK if some groups want long skinny caverns vs. square caverns. Some creative groups may choose triangular caverns or circular caverns. The key is that each shape must provide the necessary area. TIP: After completing question 3, have each group show the class its proposed cavern shapes (cutout piece[s] of paper).
  4. To complete question 4, student teams must synthesize all the information they have gathered thus far and propose three locations. As needed, provide assistance and direction.
  5. Have teams share their locations with the class and explain why they chose their locations.

Attachments

Assessment

Review students' worksheet answers to gauge their comprehension of the subject matter.

Activity Extensions

Have students compare the sizes of different U.S. states or different countries in the world.

Copyright

© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Colorado School of Mines

Supporting Program

Adventure Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Acknowledgements

Adventure Engineering was supported by National Science Foundation grant nos. DUE 9950660 and GK-12 0086457. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: May 25, 2017

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