Title: Cartographer and Journalist as Storytellers328

Key Words: economic change, development, Sanborn maps, newspapers

National Standard: 12
The process, patterns, and functions of human settlement

State Standard: 13
Students will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of human systems on Earth's surface including the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations; the nature and complexity of patterns of cultural diffusion; patterns and networks of economic interdependence; processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement; and the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape human geographic divisions.

Teaching Level: H

Lesson Introduction: While the issue of economic development is not new to students, it is a rather abstract concept for which specific illustrations are helpful. Through looking at the Sanborn fire insurance map series, students can see the changes in their own town's economic landscape. Newspaper accounts from the same dates as the maps can provide additional background about the changing story of their town.

Objectives/Purpose: To identify changes in the economics of a N. H. settlement through the work of cartographers and journalists.

Materials: Sanborn fire insurance map series [available for each town in N. H. on microfilm at the N. H. State Library in Concord. The Sanborn maps denote building use for all existing buildings for each map. They are a wonderful resource. They may be photocopied from the microfilm. Teachers should be aware that they are time consuming to construct from the photocopies. Limiting the portion of the copy to the central area will help to limit the time involved]; newspaper archives for local journals [as available in your community].

Procedure: l. Ask students how they think their community has changed since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Brainstorm a list of ways, writing their answers on the overhead.

2. Divide the class into groups of four students. Their roles are: group leader, who is responsible for keeping the group on task, recorder, who will write down the group's conclusions, and two interpreters, who will analyze the data provided by maps and newspaper articles.

3. Distribute one Sanborn map and two newspaper articles from the same year to each group. Students will likely need two inexpensive hand-held magnifying glasses for the maps. Each group will work together to create a written description of their community during the year in question. They should notice such things as percentages of retail stores, industries, and residences in the central area from the map.

Students should also note which streets in town serve particular purposes (business district, residential areas, and so on). The newspaper articles, if available, will provide them with an account of the business and personal activities within the community.

4. Allow time for map and newspaper interpretations and descriptive summaries by students. Then meet as a whole class to discuss their conclusions. Students should report these conclusions chronologically, in order that the sequence of economic changes remains clear. Discuss with students what these changes are.

5. Highlight their conclusions by asking groups to report on changes in the use of buildings along the main street for each year. Discuss and debrief, asking students what changes they would like to see in their community in the future.

Evaluation/Assessment: Student work in groups in interpreting Sanborn maps and newspaper articles over time; student descriptive summaries of their findings; student answers to discussion questions.

Extension/Enrichment: Students may complete their own survey of building use today through a field trip to the main street of town. They may also profile their community through an analysis of local newspaper articles. If possible, students may work with the local historical society to create displays on the economic history of their community, as revealed through historical maps and newspapers.

Additional Standards: National standard 1 (maps and other geographic tools and technologies); standard 3 (spatial organization); standard 4 (physical and human characteristics of places); standard 11 (economic interdependence); standard 16 (changes in resources); standard 17 (interpret the past); standard 18 (interpret the present and plan for the future); state standard 10 (maps, technologies, and mental maps); standard 11 (physical/human geographic features and regions); standard 14 (human/physical systems and resources); standard 15 (interpret the past and present and plan for the future).

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you, The authors.


Back to document index

Original file name: 326rtf - converted on Tuesday, 20 October 1998, 20:56

This page was created using TextToHTML. TextToHTML is a free software for Macintosh and is (c) 1995,1996 by Kris Coppieters