Universe Cycle - Geography (6)

PROBLEM: Can maps help you design a "defense" strategy?



In this exercise, you are the leaders of a group of cave people. You live in a good area, that has lots of water, animals to hunt, and plants to gather. On the topographic map, this area is called "The Basin". There is even a good outcrop of flint for making spear points and arrowheads. This outcrop is labeled on the map. Unfortunately, another group of people is trying to invade your territory. As the leaders of your group, your job is to design a way to defend your territory against the invaders.

EXERCISE 1. Answer the following questions.

  1. What topographic map quadrangle are you using?
  2. What is the altitude of the Basin?
  3. What is the blue line that goes south from the Basin?
  4. What route do you think invaders might take in attacking your area? 
  5. How will you defend both your home area and the flint outcrop? 


  1. Cut out the icons on the following page. These are the people, animals, and resources you have to defend your home. Each weapon or item represents a person. Each animal icon is one animal. Draw new icons if you wish. Remember to keep your icons appropriate to cave people: no missiles or tanks!
  2. Read the topographic map and try to visualize the landscape it shows. Be sure to keep in mind the location of hills, valleys, water, and the resources you are trying to defend.
  3. Arrange the icons on the map in the way you think best defends your home.  
    Use your knowledge of contours in your defense as much as possible. You may wish to have someone in your group pretend to be an invader, to find weaknesses in your strategy.
  4. Write down your plan of attack below. Be sure to explain how you used topography in your defense. Use more space if you need to.

CONCLUSION: Are topographic maps useful in preparing against invasion?


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