Mapping History

Language Arts Activity

In completing this activity, students become aware of the rich history of the northeast region of the U.S.


From before the Revolutionary War and through modern times, the northeast has been the location of many events that have become part of the nation's history. Of the nine northeastern states, seven were among the original thirteen. Battles were fought on their lands and off their coasts. Future Presidents and First Ladies were born there, as well scientists, writers, artists, and others who contributed to this country's success.



  1. To help students see the northeast through its people and events, remind them of the role these states have played in this country's early history (Background, above). Tell them that they are going to learn more about the northeastern states by creating a history map for the Northeast

  2. Divide the class into teams so that each state is covered by a team. (You may want to group some of the smaller states, such as Connecticut and Rhode Island.)

  3. Distribute the directions for making a history map and go over them with students.

  4. Before students begin their research, you may want to identify the available reference materials and familiarize students with the kinds of information they can expect to find in each one.

  5. On a bulletin board, pin a political map of the Northeast. Have push-pins or tacks available so that students can add their index cards. If the cards will not fit on the smaller states, have students attach string to the card with tape, pin the card over to the side, and pin the string to the appropriate part of the map.


Students might enjoy researching and sharing historical maps of the different states (for example, an early map of the Massachusetts Bay Colony). If they find maps that are contemporary with some of the events they've researched, have them locate on the older maps where the events took place.

Some students might research Native American groups that inhabited the area now known as the Northeast and create a separate map with information about some of them.

Challenge students to learn the history of our border with Canada in the northeast. They should know the names of the Canadian provinces that share the border and the states in this country that share the border. Have students find out when the borders were established.

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