Search form

Earth Day Graphic

Earth from Space Maps


  • Arts & Humanities
    Visual Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Science
    Physical Science, Earth Science, Space Science
  • Social Studies


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students use photo images from space to create a large map of Earth! They then find where they live and label some other places they know.


Students will
  • be exposed to a Web resource that allows them to view photo images of Earth taken from space,
  • search for a photo that shows their neighborhood from space,
  • put together a large map made of images from space,
  • use library or Internet atlases and other resources to identify and label on their maps landforms, bodies of water, and other features.


map, world, atlas, photography, space, astronaut, Earth, longitude, latitude, landform, oceans, features

Materials Needed

  • an overhead projector connected to the Internet (optional)
  • Internet access or printed sections of the clickable map of Earth from space (alternative sources are listed in Lesson Plan section)
  • tape or glue and large sheets of kraft paper
  • online or library atlases and other map sources

Lesson Plan

Explain to students that they are going to use online resources to create a large map of Earth as seen from space. Use a projector connected to the Internet to share with students the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, or ask students to explore the site on their own in the computer lab. Tell students they can click on a section of a world map to see an image of that area as seen from space; they can zoom in or out on the image for different perspectives.

Arrange students into groups of four. Explain that each student will be responsible for printing one-quarter of the map (12 of the 48 sections) and attaching those 12 sections to a large sheet of kraft paper. Each student then should use library or Internet atlases/resources to identify and label at least ten specific places, landforms, or water features on the map.

Younger students can identify continents, countries, and major bodies of water. Older students can identify more detailed locations (for example, cities, the equator or other marks of longitude or latitude, or small bodies of water).

Next, have each student in a group exchange his or her map with another member of the group; each student should label five more places or features on the piece of the map he or she receives. Then ask the four students in each group to join their sections to create a large world map.

Finally, have two groups of students compare their maps. What different places or features did members of each group identify? Were all the places correctly identified?

More "Earth from Space" Photo Images

Earth from Space: Astronaut Views of the Home Planet
Click on the map to see photographs of Earth from the space shuttle.

Insert a street name and ZIP Code to see a view of a specific neighborhood from a space satellite.


Students will write a paragraph explaining what they learned about Earth by studying images from space.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts

  • GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

  • GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

  • GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
LANGUAGE ARTS: English SCIENCE SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography TECHNOLOGY See more resources at our special Earth Day page.
Return to the Earth Day 2002 lesson plan page.