Lesson Plan - Using Primary Documents: Analyzing North Carolina Maps

A Lesson Plan for Grade 11 U.S. History

By Jennifer Job, School of Education, UNC-Chapel Hill

Using pre- and post-colonial maps, students will analyze North Carolina and how mapping of the state has changed over time. They will explore the maps using online tools and be able to answer the historical question of how and why a state's perspective may change.

This lesson plan is available as a formatted worksheet which can be printed and distributed. Download the worksheet by clicking the title: SCIMC_k12.pdf

Time Required: One 90-minute class period

Materials and Resources:

Teacher Instructions:

  1. With students, identify a "historical question" relating to the objective (e.g., how do maps explain societal priorities in a time period?)
  2. Explain to students that they will be analyzing the maps as primary source documents. The handout (.pdf) is divided by the SCIM-C model, but teachers can familiarize themselves with it at this site: http://www.historicalinquiry.com/scim/index.cfm.
  3. Assign half of the students one map to work with and the other half the other map. Suggested time periods are 1770 and 1870.
  4. The handout should take 50-60 minutes to complete.
  5. This assignment should conclude with a class discussion related to the historical question from #2. See how the answers differ depending on the map and when it was created.

Assessment Activity: Collect the answers to the handouts for assessment.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment

The National Geography Standards, which are interwoven in the NC SCOS, include the following skills:

  • asking geographic questions;
  • acquiring geographic information;
  • organizing geographic information;
  • analyzing geographic information; and
  • answering geographic questions.