Thinking about 3d Geographical Representations

As a history teacher, I work with maps. I work with students to see how maps can help them understand events. I work with students to read maps. And I work with students to help them make maps.  As we look toward one of the big projects of the 8th grade year, National History Day, I was thinking about how students might present geographic information when they chose to make exhibits, and I created two 3D maps of the island of Kauai. (Not for any deep historical purpose, but because I like it there, and it is a good size and shape for 3D representation.)


Obviously I created them at different scales, but the hope was that I could use each to show students the possibilities. The one on the left was sliced in 123D Make and cut out on the laser cutter, the one on the right was 3D printed (Makerbot 2). Both came from STL files originally created here:

One of the things I want to help students do in the maker classroom is try things out and decide what might work best.  This is the first of a series of options I hope I will be able to make myself to show students what is possible. More to come.