A topographic map is a map that allows you to see hills, mountains, slope and elevation. Elevation is how high something is.
When we talk about elevation, or height, we compare land forms to sea level. The level of the sea being 0. All elevation is either above sea level or below sea level.
A topographic map actually looks at the land and shows us elevation. We can also see how steep something is and how flat an area of land is.
A topographic map is simply a series of circular lines called contours. These contour lines can never intersect. They show elevation. The contour interval is the distance between the lines.
A topographic map will show you changes in elevation. The contour lines show and tell you a big story. The closer the contours, the more steep the slope. Contour lines that are farther away from each other are gentle slopes or even flat areas. Since there is no way to make a paper map 3 dimensional, a topographic map shows you a look that looks like you can see it in a 3D type way.