In addition to illustrating New York’s geographic and climatic features, maps can be used to display economic and demographic information. Students will explore the following maps and answer the corresponding scaffolding questions.
To effectively understand how a region’s geography defines agricultural production, students will explore the relationship between natural boundaries such as mountains, rivers, lakes, and valleys that define the regions of New York and the corresponding climatic regions.
Question for discussion: based on the list of maps you created in activity #1, how could farmers use maps to help them plan their crops?
Individually or in small groups explore the following maps and answer the corresponding scaffolding questions. You may wish to prepare one color copy (hard copy or overhead transparency) of each map and have the children color a black and white version to further promote comprehension of the material depicted.
Maps are most often used to help us locate places. However, maps do much more than show us how to get from one place to another. They are also rich resources for learning about a place’s history. You can discover a great deal of information about a community just from studying an old map. For instance, the types of businesses and cultural institutions that were part of a community, where individuals of that community lived, and even their ethnic backgrounds can often be determined just by studying an old map. You can also trace the growth and development of a community by comparing maps from different periods in a community’s history.
- Begin with a discussion about the various kinds of maps and how different maps reveal diverse information about an area.Sample questions:
- What do we use maps for?
- Why are there so many different kinds of maps?
- What information can a map illustrate?
- Could one map effectively display all of that information?
- Using the Maps Graphic Organizer worksheet, indicate all of the different kinds of maps you encounter — look around your classroom, in your social studies text book, around your community, etc.Use the chart to answer the following questions:
- What is the title of your map?
- What does the map show?
- What type of map is this?
- In your opinion, how could the information on this map be helpful to a farmer?
- Using a modern map of your town and an historical map from the primary sources section, list the similarities and differences between the maps. Use the Maps Venn Diagram worksheet to indicate what has changed and remained the same. Note: natural boundaries, county boundaries, and town names.