Choose a project to begin. Each project has three parts: the Overview (lesson plans), the GIS Map, and the Documents. Use the tabs at the top to find them.:

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  • Slavery in America: Agency of enslaved people

    How did slavery, and resistance to slavery, shape American society? Explore the institution of slavery as it changed over time, through an examination of primary and secondary source documents, maps, and data from 1790 through 1870.

    The documents for this 5-day unit focus on the concept of agency within the American slavery system, and on the realities of life for enslaved people. The data maps are used to compare regions, places, and points in time, and to explore case studies of the agency of enslaved people in the United States.

  • The Great Migration

    Explore the migration of African Americans in the early 20th century. Where did people leave, and where did they go? Why, and how?

    This 5-day unit focuses mainly on the first migration, 1910-1930, but the map and the documents have much more information, from 1870-1970. Students examine the motivations and expectations of migrants during the massive population changes of the Great Migration.

  • The First Census: America in 1790

    What was the United States of America like in 1790? The first US census ever taken tells us a lot about the people and places of early America.

    This 3-day project uses state-level population data in 1790 to study slavery, regional differences, and legislative compromises. The map also contains information not used in the lessons, including country-of-origin, number of slaveholding families, and other data that could be used for extension activities.

  • US Expansion

    How has the USA changed since 1790? Investigate change over time by looking at the changing geography and populations of American cities, states, and counties.

    This 3-day project is a good introduction to the GIS for students, using only one census variable (total population) and giving them a view of change over time from 1790 onward. The lessons point out differences between what we can learn from quantitative data vs. written documents.

  • Immigration (Under construction)

    Examine waves of immigration from 7 different countries, and the impact of these migrations on the US and on the people who came here.

    The lesson plans and documents are still in development for this project, but the map is fully functional and has a wealth of immigration data from 1850 to 1950. Take a look!

  • Native American Lands: The Black Hills (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

    What were the reasons for U.S. expansion westward, and the processes for moving into new lands? How did this process impact Native Americans?

    The interactive GIS map for this project is still under construction, but a complete set of lesson plans and document links is provided. This unit examine the years between 1850 and 1900, concentrating on the territories that became the Dakotas. Students examine the reasons for U.S expansion westward and the impact of expansion on Native Americans. A case study of white encroachment into the Black Hills region and the lands of the Lakota and Nakota peoples is the focus of this curriculum.

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