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Historic Maps in the K-12 Classroom

If you’ve been looking for high-quality geography lesson plans that tie directly to American History, you need to head over to Maps in the K-12 Classroom: A Resource for Teaching the Geographic Dimensions of American History.

Maps in the K-12 Classroom is a project of the Newberry Library’s Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography with financial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I was lucky enough to run into the group at a conference several years ago and was able to snag a handful of CDs with their goodies on it. We were allowed to make copies of the CD and so have been handing them out left and right ever since. At the time, they hadn’t posted their stuff online and I never really thought to check. But it is definitely worth your time to visit.

The site has 18 maps in six major categories:

  • Exploration and Encounter
  • Migration and Settlement
  • Environmental History
  • The Historical Geography of Transportation
  • Political and Military History
  • The Geography of American Communities

Every map has four lesson plans at different grade levels for a total of 72 lessons. And while each lesson is designed for a specific grade level, they can easily be adapted to fit your needs.

Lessons are easily printed and the maps can be downloaded as PDFs. Each lesson also has links to supplementary materials and images as well as museum curator’s notes.

The site truly is a hidden treasure!

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