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Exploring 19th Century Population Growth through Interactive Maps

Exploring 19th Century Population Growth through Interactive Maps

Activity Description


Students will use two data visualization tools to explore U.S. population growth between 1790 and 1890, paying particular attention to growth during the late 19th century, when industries were expanding. Specifically, students will examine population density and city population size.

Suggested Grade Level


Approximate Time Required

60 minutes

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to understand and interpret two types of thematic maps.
  • Students will be able to determine the value of each type of map.
  • Students will be able to explain how geography affects population growth and migration patterns.

Materials Required

  • The student version of this activity, 5 pages
  • A digital or physical map that shows the geographic features (e.g., mountains) of the United States
  • A teacher computer with Internet access and a projector to display web sites

A computer with Internet access for each student is optional.

Activity Items

This activity uses the following online tools:

Teacher Notes

Blooms Taxonomy

Blooms Taxonomy

Students will analyze two types of interactive maps about patterns in U.S. population growth from 1790 to 1890.


High School History


  • Data visualizations
  • Maps
  • Population change

Skills Taught

  • Comparing and contrasting data
  • Reading and interpreting maps


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