Activity One - Investigating Maps
Students analyze several different types of maps.
Prior to the lesson:
Search the American Memory map collections for examples and information that will be useful in helping students to interpret what they see. Assemble a variety of maps (contour, birds eye, panoramic) from various historical periods.
- Students identify and examine the different kinds of maps. Invite them to consider and discuss what kinds of maps they're familiar with, and to compare the familiar maps to the historical maps. Lead students in an in-depth discussion of panoramic maps--their history, vocabulary, and purpose--as a form of persuasive medium designed to "sell" a city or town. Visit the Panoramic Maps collection and read about the maps and their creators.
- Students compare and contrast the various maps in terms of scale, point of view, detail, date, purpose, and uses. Students record their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher's guide Analyzing Maps to focus the group work, and select additional questions to focus and prompt a whole class discussion of their analysis.
Activity Two - Investigating Community
Students analyze a historical map of their community and identify recognizable sites. They date the homes on their block and place their own homes in an historical context.
- Arrange for time in the computer lab.
- Students investigate a historical map of their community, such as the Dover, New Jersey 1903 panoramic map and locate sites that have personal meaning for them (the streets on which they live, schools, parks, and other places they frequent).
- Students collect data about their homes:
- Check one:
I live in a house
I live in an apartment
- The best features of my home are: (check one or more)
It's close to transportation
It's close to schools
It's close to recreational facilities
It's been remodeled recently
It's on a quiet street
It has a large yard
It is very old (historic building)
(Write in another feature)
- Check one and fill in the blank
I know my home was built in the year______
I think my home is about______years old
- My home has the following spaces
- Check one:
- Students take photographs of their homes.
- Students should look at the block on which they live. Students should be able to report on the number of houses on the block. Request other information, such as the number of stories each house has, as it meets your requirements for the project.
- For record-keeping purposes, keep a master file with the following information:
- First and last name of student
- City or town
- Nearest important building or landmark
- Digital picture number or filename
- Year in which house was built or approximate age if year cannot be determined
Activity Three - Real Estate Advertising
Students connect with the original purpose of panoramic maps-attracting prospective residents, businesses, and investors to the town-as they look at their own homes through the eyes of potential buyers or renters. They examine real estate advertisements and create advertisements for their own homes.
- Collect a variety of home real estate ads that include photographs from a local newspaper. Saturday and Sunday newspaper editions usually provide the best selection. Enlarge and duplicate enough copies for each student to have three or four different ads. Ask students to do the following:
- note the kind of information given in each ad;
- observe the layout of the ad and print size for each type of information;
- interpret abbreviations;
- determine what kind of person might be a potential buyer for each home; and
- look at the asking price.
- Students apply what they have learned about their homes advertising to create real estate ads for their own homes. Ads should include photos and descriptive text highlighting the positive characteristics of their homes.
Step Four - Creating Personal Maps
Students create a collage by drawing or photographing the homes and other structures on their blocks. After the blocks are completed and joined, students write letters to future children in their community explaining the mapping project.
- Students create a collage that represents their blocks. Students paste the buildings to a paper backing in the correct position and add trees, streets, and other features, as needed (At this point, the drawings are not yet joined with other blocks and may be larger than they will appear in the final product).
- Photocopy the collages, adjusting the size as necessary, to fit the size of the finished map.
- Students write to children who live in their community in the year 2103. The letters should:
- explain the project;
- explain how working on the map has made them a part of history;
- explain how they have made history by working on the map; and
- invite the recipient to make a 2103 edition of the map.
Students continue to draw grid sections of the contemporary map. Section by section, they gather data about structures erected since 1903. Students create drawings of those structures and affix them to the new map.
Further extension activities:
- Students examine the panoramic photo of their town's main street from the American Memory collection Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991. They identify buildings that are still standing and those that are not. In journals, they speculate on the activities of the people in the photo. They create their own contemporary panoramic photo of the same vista. Finally, they make a videotape of a student walking down the main street narrating what she or he sees compared with that in the turn of the century photo.
- Students examine antique local postcards from the collection of a community member. They match the postcard images to buildings on the map. In their journals, they respond to the messages written by the senders of the postcards.
- Students observe and respond in journals to photos of children from the American Memory collection, Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920. Students compare and contrast photos of children from 1900-10 to those of today.
- Students make presentations to a variety of audiences, explaining their work as cartographers.