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Geographic Mobility in the United States - 1920-1950

Geographic Mobility in the United States - 1920-1950

Activity Description


Students will examine maps to explore changes in population density in the United States during three decades: 1920–1930 (Post-Progressive Era), 1930–1940 (Great Depression), and 1940–1950 (World War II). They will then determine what happened during each decade that likely influenced geographic mobility. Students will also examine a map of more recent population data (for 2000–2010) to understand trends in population movement.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

45-60 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to analyze, compare, and interpret maps on U.S. population density from three periods in the early 20th century.
  • Students will be able to understand how events during these three periods affected geographic mobility.
  • Students will be able to understand more recent trends in population movement.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 3 pages
  • A computer with Internet access for each student

A teacher computer with Internet access and a projector to display web sites is optional.

Activity Items

This activity uses the following online tools:

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze how events during three periods of U.S. history affected geographic mobility.


High School History


  • Data visualizations
  • Geographic mobility
  • The Great Depression
  • Migration
  • Population density
  • Post-Progressive Era
  • World War II

Skills Taught

  • Analyzing change over time
  • Comparing and contrasting
  • Making predictions
  • Reading and interpreting maps


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