Mapping the Changes
Students use maps and illustrations to compare life in the West before the
Civil War, after the war, and the way it is today.
What You Need
- Reference materials on the western United States
- Art materials, including posterboard
What to Do
- Divide students into teams. Tell students that they are going to research,
write about, and illustrate one aspect of life in one western state
during three periods: before the Civil War, in the 50 years after, and
in the present.
- Explain that each team should choose one aspect of life in a state
and show how it changed during the three periods. Examples: Native American
populations, land in use for agriculture, acres of forest land, size
of largest urban areas, number of cities over a certain population amount,
number of manufacturing jobs, production figures for specific goods,
miles of railroad track, number of registered voters, etc.
Students should make a map for each period and use legends and/or
symbols to present changes in their information. Each period map should
be accompanied by an illustration depicting some aspect of the topic
during that period. You might suggest that students present their
maps and drawings in comic-strip form.
- Have each team make an oral presentation of the research they did
and the materials they created to summarize the changes in each state.
- Have students graph the changes they discovered, then use the graphs
to help them summarize their research.
- Encourage students to evaluate the changes they observed and to offer
reasons for their judgments.
- You may wish to have teams of students conduct their research by
region, with a different team for each state but all examining the same
three factors. Have students group their posters on the wall by region,
then study the individual states to make comparisons.
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