Community Resources in the Science Classroom

The goal of this project is to get students to feel comfortable with maps, especially topographic maps, by creating their own map of a nearby location in Brooklyn. It is my hope that through using technology and creating their own maps, they will have a more conceptual and functional understanding of maps, especially, topographic maps and what kind of information can be found on them and how to interpret them for themselves. I have found that simply explaining and showing them examples and models is not sufficient for a full understanding, instead if students can visualize an area that they know and then view what a topographical representation of this area is, then they can put together the parts of the map with the visual of the location to better understand the symbols and trends on this map.

This project would take place in three major parts:

1. Using a compass and pacing to create maps of locations.
2. Using GPS software to collect digital waypoints and software to integrate these waypoints into a editable and digital map.
3. Creating a topographical map using a measuring rod and eye level

Evidence for the potential success of a unit involving Seaveiw Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn New York.

Community Resource Information
Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York
About The Park
Prospect Park is a 585-acre urban oasis located in the heart of Brooklyn, New York City’s most populous borough. The masterpiece of famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Central Park, Prospect Park features the 90-acre Long Meadow, the 60-acre Lake and Brooklyn’s only forest. The nation’s first urban Audubon Center, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival are just a few of the cultural attractions that make their home here at the Park.
Fallkill Falls
Fallkill Falls

With over eight million visitors a year, the Park borders diverse neighborhoods and attracts both locals and tourists. Popular activities range from skating to birding to pedal boating to picnicking on the Long Meadow on beautiful days. The Park also boasts a stunning variety of natural and geological features. Brooklyn’s only forest is here, along with a complex water system, rolling meadows and shaded hillsides.

Prospect Park is safer, cleaner, more vibrant, and more popular today than it's ever been, thanks to the work of the Prospect Park Alliance.

Paerdegat Basin,Seaview Ave,Shore Pkwy,Jamaica Bay

Acres: 132.20
Canarsie Park and neighborhood take their name from the Canarsie (or Canarsee) Indians, who lived in western Long Island and were related to the Delawares. They called this area Keskachauge or Kestateuw, but the Dutch renamed it New Amersfoort soon after they settled here in the 1630s. The Canarsie Indians probably had a burial ground on the current parkland.
In 1675 Jan Martense Schenck, a Dutch immigrant, built a house in the area of New Amersfoort, on Mill Island, within the current boundaries of the park. When the British took control of the territory, the land called New Amersfoort became the Flatlands. The house consisted of two rooms, and was built as a simple box of 20 feet by 40 feet, but the family expanded the house into an L-shaped plan containing eleven rooms. It is believed that the house was either entirely refurbished or rebuilt during the 1720s.
In 1895-96 the City of Brooklyn purchased land for Canarsie Park. Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Frank Squier stated that "this [Schenck] house will be preserved, and will always be one of the Park's attractions." Fifty-seven years later the house was dismantled, removed from the park, and reassembled at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Canarsie Park continued to grow. The park originally stretched from 93rd Street to 88th Street, and from Seaview Avenue to Skidmore Avenue. It was extended in 1934 with land from the Department of Docks, in 1938 and 1949 with parcels from the Board of Estimate. In the 1950s Parks Commissioner Robert Moses requested the transfer of land that had been used for temporary housing during World War II to expand Canarsie Park. A parcel at the corner of Fresh Creek Basin and Seaview Avenue was assigned to Parks in 1958. Most of the city parkland south of the Shore Parkway was transferred to the National Park Service for the creation of Gateway National Recreation Area. The playground at East 93rd Street and Seaview Avenue was built in 1936 and renovated in 1995-97. It was named for Joseph F. DiNapoli, a former Principal Parks Supervisor of Canarsie Park, in 1990. With its playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds, Canarsie Park provides much recreation space for the residents of Brooklyn.

Curriculum and Lesson Plans

1. Using a Compass and Cardinal Directions
2. Finding your Pace
3. Creating a Pace and Compass Map of Seaview Park, Canarsie Brooklyn
4. Building an Eye Level, Rod
5. Classroom Practice using Eye Level and Rod technique
5a. Building an Eye Level and Rod
5b. Finding Eye Level
5c. Calculating Elevation Change
5d. Drawing a Topographic Profile
6. Collecting topographic data in Prospect Park using Rod and Eye Level Technique
6a. Teacher instructions for creating transects
6b. Student Worksheet and Instructions
7. Compiling Data and Drawing a Topographic Map
7a. Drawing Isolines and Contour Lines Practice
7b. Drawing Contour Lines
8. Analyzing Topographic Maps
8a. Comparing to Known Topographic Map of the Area
8b. Gradient
9. Using GPS waypoints and elevation in Prospect Park
9a. Manual Data Collection
9b. Garmin Data Collection
9c. Easy GPS Mapping
10. Analyzing Topographic Map
11. Pie Plate Topographic Maps

Logistical Information


Prospect Park and Seaview Park are free and open to the public during daylight hours.

Seaview Park- No Cost, is walkable from South Schore Campus
Prospect Park - $2.25 per student Metro Fee
Take the B6 towards Bensonhurst to Flatbush Junction.Take the 2 train to Grand Army Plaza. Exit the train and walk into Prospect Park.

Mapmaking Tools -
Home Depot - Approximately $15 per set of tools. (Cost includes all materials)

Transect Making Supplies - Approximately $20.00 total for stakes and measuring tape

Plastic Plates - $3.00 for 10 at Food Emporium

Computer software:
Easy GPS - Freeware
TomTom Tripmaster - Freeware

GPS - Garmin $70.00 on
(It is possible to use a GPS unit from any car. I was able to borrow one for this project and did not purchase one)

Additional Information
Additional information concerning topograpic maps and mapmaking can be found at the USGS website:

YouTube is also a good resource to find videos on how to use a compass and how to find your pace. It is also a good resource to find video on drawing topographic profiles and calculating the gradient from a topographic map.

Using a Compass

Drawing a Topographic Profile

Pace and Compass Map

Work Samples