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Teacher's Notes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to analyze, compare, and interpret population density maps from three historic periods during U.S. history.
  • Students will be able to identify and define geographic mobility.
  • Students will become familiar with 3 historic events and analyze how and why they affect geographic mobility.

Bloom's Taxonomy

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Instructions for Teachers

This activity requires the use of a computer to use the interactive map.

Before this Activity

As a prerequisite to this activity, students should have a general understanding of the origins of the economic and political changes of the Industrial Era, Great Depression, and World War II.

During this Activity

Have students read the “Activity Instructions for Students” and access the “Before and After 1940: Changes in Population Density” data visualization.

Allow students to read and understand the maps by reviewing the map legends (bottom right) with them at first.  Have students notice that the bottom-right legend for each map displays a histogram which changes for each map according to the number of counties which fall into the specified population change categories. 

Have students make some observations about the changes in population density from map to map and identify any trends they think they see.

Have students respond individually or in small groups to the “Activity Assessment” questions provided as they review the population density maps from three time periods: 1920-1930, 1930-1940, and 1940-1950.

After this Activity

Hold a discussion with students about their responses - incorporating their ideas about these three historic periods and how they influenced geographic mobility.

Optional Activity Extension

Have students explore the “Accessibility Data” spreadsheet (accessed by clicking on the link on the bottom left corner of the data visualization).  Have students look for specific counties with very large increases or decreases in population from one decade to another.  Have students conduct research about the possible reasons for those large population movements into or out of the county.