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Resources for Educators

Check out our Web-based Resources and lesson plans for K-12 educators made by local K-12 teachers using materials found at the American Geographical Society Library.

ImageTitleAuthorStoryMapAbstractGradesSubjects
Decolonization and Independence in 20th Century AfricaNicholas Gerard-LarsonStoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school Decolonization; Africa
World ExplorersJennifer YourdStoryMap LinkAbstract Link6-8; middle schoolWorld Explorers
La geografía del desplazamiento climáticoDanielle Chaussée

StoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school climate change; in Spanish
I Am, Where I’m From
Erin Sivek

StoryMap LinkAbstract Link6-8; middle schoolrefugees; immigrant education
I Am, Where I’m From, Part 2Erin SivekAbstract Link6-8; middle schoolrefugees; immigrant education
Project LakefrontLogan DuerstStoryMap Link6-12: middle school; high schoolfreshwater lakes
Origins of ASL
Aspen KukStoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school ASL; American Sign Language
History of North American Sign Languages Aspen KukStoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school Native Americans; Sign Languages
European Colonialism
Lukas Wierer

StoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school Africa; European Colonialism
The Untaught History of Afro-Latinos
Arleth Villagran

StoryMapAbstract Link9-12; high school Afro-Latinos; history
Spatial Profiling: Milwaukee
Nathan ConnStoryMap Link9-12; high school Milwaukee; demographics; racism
The Arctic: Evolving Claims
Gregory F. RomanStoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school Arctic; geopolitics
Arctic: Indigenous People
Gregory F. RomanStoryMap LinkAbstract Link3-8; elementary school; middle schoolArctic; Indigenous People
Mapping the Arctic
Gregory F. RomanStoryMap LinkAbstract Link3-12; elementary school; middle school; high schoolArctic; mapping; cartography
Who was Louise Boyd?
Gregory F. RomanStoryMap LinkAbstract Link6-12; middle school; high schoolLouise Boyd; women explorers; Greenland; Poland
Mapping the World
Gregory F. RomanStoryMap LinkAbstract Link3-12; elementary school; middle school; high schoolworld; mapping; cartography
Peary’s Polar Expeditions
Gregory F. RomanStoryMap LinkAbstract Link9-12; high school Polar Expeditions; Robert Peary

Project Lakefront

According to an article in the Smithsonian magazine, “Roughly 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, but less than four percent is covered by lakes.” The fact that lake water seems more precious than gold is an idea that most of us don’t comprehend. Through the teaching of this lesson, students will gain a better understanding of human use, impact, and relationship with lakes. This project is the examination of municipalities located on freshwater lakes. Specifically, this project will have students research the ways societies, cultures, economies, and governments interact with the lake and shoreline. This project will encompass all aspects of social studies, as well as work on skills like collaboration, research, opinion-based writing and supporting opinions with evidence. The project is broken up into four parts that deepen their knowledge and understanding as it goes on. At first introducing some examples of cities with lakefront, then some creative lessons in the middle to further the students interest and creativity in the topic, and finally ending with a student-led research project. This lesson was created to be a jumping-off point, meant for educators to make their own leaps of discovery and learning.

Link to WebApp

Who I Am, Where I’m From (Part 2)

In this cross-curricular Social Studies and English Language Arts unit, immigrant and refugee students will explore maps of their homelands from the AGSL Digital Collections. Students can use pre-selected maps or search for maps in the collections.  Students will perform research using online databases and/or other primary sources to learn how and why their homeland’s names and borders have changed over time. During this unit, students will also learn new academic vocabulary while gaining insight into how people in power have changed our world.

Link to project website

Personal Geographies (inspired by Medieval Mappa Mundi)

Students are challenged to look at maps from an artistic perspective by investigating several examples that go outside the standard geographical use of a map.  This lesson starts with investigating symbols, to thinking about personal places of experience and interest, to finally creating a map of their own based on their exploration. The layout of their personal geography map is loosely inspired by medieval Italian mappa mundi created by Giovanni Leardo.

[Link forthcoming]

Decolonization and Independence in 20th Century Africa

With the end of the Second World War in 1945, colonial troops who had fought in the conflict returned home and joined movements demanding independence from European empires. This process of decolonization saw increasing calls for self-government, national pride, and an end to colonialism. Over the next three decades, dozens of countries in Africa and Asia achieved independence through a variety of different strategies. This project focuses on the story of decolonization in four African countries: Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Algeria. Additionally, the project also showcases important historical and geographical skills—visual thinking, spatial thinking, and critical thinking—that both students and teachers will find useful in helping to analyze and work with primary sources, especially maps. Link to WebApp

World Explorers

This StoryMap has curriculum themed on World Explorers appropriate for middle school students Grades 6-8.  The curriculum includes lessons on a broad overview of the history of map-making, and how it influenced world exploration, as well as some key explorers throughout history, and the motivations and consequences of their expeditions.
 

Link to WebApp

La geografía del desplazamiento climático

This StoryMap uses AGSL maps and photos, as well as current data on extreme climate events, to lead students through an exploration of five major causes of climate change displacement. For each extreme climate event, the students will also explore a case study. This StoryMap is designed for an International Baccalaureate Spanish course and it includes interpretive reading activities, which provide practice for the IB exam (the activities will be linked in the fall of 2021). Although it is designed for an IB course, it can be used in any advanced Spanish course. This StoryMap includes a handout that students can use to reflect / answer the questions in the StoryMap. The handout can be found as a button at the top of the StoryMap page. All questions that are found on the handout are typed in blue on the Storymap.  NOTE: This Storymap does not include a summative assessment because it is only one part of a larger unit that encompasses a broader scope of immigration issues.

Link to WebApp

I Am, Where I’m From

In this unit, students will analyze maps of their homelands from the AGSL Digital Collections dated as recently as 2018 to as far back as 1721. Specifically, students will use three pre-selected maps that include their home countries’ region. After identifying and writing about their homeland, they will study how its name and borders have changed through the time period of these maps. Students will then perform research using online databases to learn how and why these changes occurred. During this unit, students will also acquire new academic vocabulary while gaining insight into how people in power have changed our world.

 

Origins of ASL & History of North American Sign Languages 

The final goal is for students is to not only read the StoryMaps, “The History of Sign Languages in North America” and the “The Origins of ASL,” but annotate as they read and answer text dependent questions connected to the material. The teacher will demonstrate annotating the first portion of both StoryMaps, then have the students complete annotating and reading the rest of the StoryMaps on their own. All of these steps will be done virtually, so students can work at their own pace, while still meeting the deadline.        

European Colonialism

This unit will be used in sections of Ethnic Studies at the high school level. It focuses on European colonialism, specifically the impact that European colonization has had on formerly colonized nations. Students should examine the timelines and watch accompanying video clips; then, using the AGSL maps, connect that content with the given map. Following these two units, the students can further examine the role that colonization and global capitalism played in the formation of racist ideas that stick with us today.

The Untaught History of Afro-Latinos

Afro-Latinos is a topic that rarely gets covered in Spanish classes in the United States, and it is important to the history of Latin America. This StoryMap allows students to easily navigate information even if there isn’t a teacher physically there to help. The expectation is for students to practice their close reading skills and answer text-dependent questions as they read along.

Spatial Profiling: Milwaukee

An interactive Home Owners Loan Corporation map that shows how Milwaukee was divided based on race and class during the 1930’s under the New Deal mortgage program. There is also information on Milwaukee’s place in the Civil Rights movement to call attention to these issues in the 60’s and 70’s and how these neighborhoods are still affected today by food deserts. Screenshot of Web App

The Arctic: Evolving Claims

This story map traces the evolution of competing claims made by various countries in the Arctic region by using various resources from the American Geographical Society Library. A Preview Image of the WebApp

Arctic: Indigenous People

This story map explores the culture of Arctic indigenous peoples through resources found in the American Geographical Society Library archives. A Preview Image of the WebApp

Mapping the Arctic

This story map incorporates various maps from the American Geographical Society Library and traces the evolution of Arctic mapping.

Who was Louise Boyd?

This story map utilizes resources from the American Geographical Society Library and encourages an examination of Louise Boyd’s contributions to polar exploration. A Preview Image of the WebApp

Mapping the World

This story map uses various maps from the American Geographical Society Library to examine the advances made in accurate world mapmaking. A Preview Image of the WebApp

Peary’s Polar Expeditions

This story map utilizes resources from the American Geographical Society Library to examine Admiral Robert Peary’s various polar expeditions leading to his successful reaching of the North Pole in 1909. A Preview Image of the WebApp