May We Present Planet Earth?
Author: Sylvia Kniest

Time: 3 class periods
Prepare student instruction hand-outs
Materials: Butcher paper, poster boards, colored pencils, yard sticks, old magazines (optional for poster displays), glue sticks
Evaluation sheet


Students will apply their research data from the previous lesson by preparing a presentation to the leaders of their dying planet, Sirius. The students will work in their assigned groups as they prepare their presentation via a “Museum Walk”.

Students will be able to:
1. Draw a map to scale.
2. Illustrate an understanding of how to use DOGSTAILS on a map.
3. Identify the main parts of a map.
4. Identify and illustrate the major features necessary for sustaining a quality of life for a society.

National Geography Standard
Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information.
Standard 7: The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface.

Teacher Background



Inform the students that they will work in their assigned groups to prepare an exhibit for the leaders of their planet. The exhibit must display the following information:

1. A wall map of the continent they studied.
A) Instructions for drawing a wall map.

1. Each group will be provided with a large sheet of butcher paper or poster board and yardstick.
2. Create a grid on the butcher paper using longitude and latitude lines.
3. Label the lines using the political and physical maps you created in the previous lesson.
4. Determine the scale of your map. What will be the ratio between a unit of measurement on the map and the actual distance?
Example: 1 inch on the map may represent 1 mile on the ground.
5. Create a scale bar in the margin of your map to show distance.
6. To show direction from one point to another you will create a compass rose on your map showing the four cardinal points—north, east, south, and west.
7. Using the longitude and latitude lines for orientation, draw the outline of the continent.
8. Complete the map using the following criteria:

Maps should include:

  • Longitude and latitude lines
  • Major physical features (deserts, waterways, mountains, and oceans)
  • Countries and capitals
  • Shade the most livable region of the continent (be sure to include this in your legend)

2. A poster display that includes:

  • positive attributes of the continent
  • a description of the most livable regions of the continent and why.
  • potentially harmful features of the continent

Posters must:
->be colorful
->include pictures or illustrations
->have an original title

After students have prepared their exhibit, assign each group an area of the room for their exhibit. Students will rotate around the room in order to read and analyze the exhibits. At each exhibit they will:

  • Fill out an evaluation of the exhibit
  • Record their impressions of the continent in a log

After students have rotated through the entire museum exhibits, have the class discuss the following:

1. Which continent did you recommend to your superiors on planet Sirius for colonization and why?
2. In what ways were the maps useful in gaining an understanding of the living conditions on the continents?
3. Did the poster displays and maps present the continent in an objective manner?

Embedded Assessment
Students will be assessed on their exhibits and evaluations of the museum exhibits.

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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