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Elementary School Lesson Plan in Cartography

Carver's New Map of North America // OrHi 104406
Carver's New Map of North America // OrHi 104406
Students will be able to:
  • Understand how maps reflect different points of view;
  • Consider the development of transportation from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries;
  • Demonstrate, through discussion and mapping, their understanding of shifts in cultural beliefs and landscape from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century.
Standards Met:
  • Understand the spatial concepts of location, distance, direction, scale movement, and region
  • View and draw simple maps and pictures to locate, describe, and show movement among places
  • Understand the purpose of maps and other geographic tools
  • Examine and understand how to interpret geographic information
  • Understand, recognize, and interpret change and continuity over time
  • Identify primary and secondary sources
  • Interpret data and chronological information
Lesson Description:
Using a “clean,” current physiographic map of the United States, work with students to explore how long it would take a present-day traveler to travel from Missouri to the Oregon Coast. Next, use the Lewis and Clark sub-topics (listed under “Materials/Resources needed) to explain to students the conditions of the Lewis and Clark expedition (consider transportation alternatives, navigational technology, cultural landscape, environmental forces, etc…). After students have considered the 1800s, ask them to, again, map out how Lewis and Clark might today travel from Missouri to Pacific Ocean. Provide them with a clean map and ask them to, in groups, represent their “route,” but also represent what kind of transportation they will use during each part of the journey, what type of food they will eat, and what kind of resources they might need.
Research Project Questions:
  • What are your methods of transportation?
  • What food will you bring and why?
  • What will the weather be like on your voyage?
  • What kinds of people will you meet? Will you bring along any trade items? What will you bring and why?
After looking at their maps, have students look both at the Lewis and Clark and Carver maps and at the description of Lewis and Clark’s encounter with the Nez Perce (all noted in the Materials/Resources needed sections). First, discuss with students some Nez Perce values as they are articulated in the sub-topics. Next, look closely at the Lewis and Clark map and ask how the Nez Perce might have drawn that map. Finally, have students compare the three points of view (Lewis and Clark, Nez Perce, and their own). How are these maps different from the ones that they created and why? What is different and what is missing?