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Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

Glider Guide

Subject Area

Social Studies


1, 2


In this interactive game from Smithsonian, players soar above five real world terrains in the United States while learning about different types of land and water features. Observe eleven different land and water features including: mountains, plains, lakes, oceans, and mesas. View terrain maps from a first-person and top-down view. Test your knowledge of land and water features after every flight with an in-game assessment. The Glider Guide simulation is available as a website for computers. Download the application for use on tablets and mobile devices.  No registration is necessary.

    Science (2015) Grade(s): 2


    Create models to identify physical features of Earth (e.g., mountains, valleys, plains, deserts, lakes, rivers, oceans).

    Unpacked Content



    • Physical features
    • Models
    • Mountains
    • Valleys
    • Plains
    • Deserts
    • Lakes
    • Rivers
    • Oceans


    Students know:
    • The physical features of Earth can be modeled, as on a map.
    • The relationship between components their model and kinds of land and bodies of water in a given area.


    Students are able to:
    • Create a model that represents both land and bodies of water in an area.
    • Make connections between their model and the shapes and kinds of land and water in an area.


    Students understand that:
    • Models can represent patterns in the natural world like the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Developing and Using Models

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Social Studies (2010) Grade(s): 1


    Identify land masses, bodies of water, and other physical features on maps and globes.

    Unpacked Content



    • identify
    • create
    • use
    • land masses
    • bodies of water
    • physical features
    • cardinal directions
    • compass rose
    • nonstandard measurement
    • distance
    • geographical features


    Students know:
    • The differences in land masses, bodies of water, and other physical features on maps and globes.
    • The use of cardinal directions and the compass rose.
    • Techniques for using nonstandard measurement.
    • Vocabulary: land masses, bodies of water, physical features, cardinal directions, compass rose, nonstandard measurement, distance, geographical features


    Student are able to:
    • Identify land masses, bodies of water, and other physical features on maps and globes.
    • State the purpose and use of cardinal directions and compass rose.
    • Identify nonstandard measurement.
    • Use nonstandard measurement for locating distances.
    • Use vocabulary that relates to geographical features (for example, river, lake, ocean, and mountain).


    Students understand that:
    • Land masses, bodies of water, and physical features can be identified on maps and globes.
    • Cardinal directions and the compass rose help us read maps.
    • Nonstandard measurements can be used to find distance.
    • There is an appropriate vocabulary to describe geographical features.
    Link to Resource

    CR Resource Type


    Resource Provider



    Graphics: includes alt tags or long descriptions
    Video resources: includes closed captioning or subtitles

    License Type