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Chronological Reasoning and Causation

Mapping Change Over Time

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Industrialization (1870 - 1900)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Chronological Thinking

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School

  • Topics:

    Community

  • Primary Source Types:

    Map

  • Regions:

    Long Island
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Beers Atlas, Map of Hempstead, 1873 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Essential Question: How can historical maps compared to recent maps show geographic and community change over time?

Historical Context: In the 1860s and 1870s, F.W. Beers and Associates mapped a major portion of New York State. These maps were prepared for the county, town, city, and village levels. This collection of maps includes names of property owners, streets, and bodies of water. Similar maps are found in the New Century Atlases (circa 1904). Beers’ maps are found in most County Clerk’s offices, historical societies, and libraries. This map is courtesy of the Freeport Historical Museum, Freeport. The New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown and the New York State Library in Albany have the most comprehensive collection of these historical maps.

Compare the 1873 map of Hempstead, NY with this modern interactive map

Exit Assessment:

How do these two maps show a change in the geography or the community over time?

Why are these maps different? They are both maps of the same area.

Document Analysis:

Structure: Analyzing a map

1.      Students should be given the historical map that the teacher has displayed on the whiteboard or on the projector. Have students study the map for one or two minutes.

2.      Ask the students what this map is displaying. What do they notice about the map? Do they see anything familiar? Anything new? Discuss: This map is from 1873. How old is it? What is the use of referring to a map from that long ago? What type of map is this? (Political) How do you know?

3.      The teacher should be certain to call students’ attention to the map key, scale, and the city/town they live in (if noted).

4.      Have students complete the front page of the “Historical Maps” handout from p. 77 with a partner. (see attached)

5.      Give students a modern map of the same area. Have them study this map for 1-2 minutes. Then have the students lay this map side-by-side with their 1873 map.

The teacher could ask if students can locate Line Island on the Beers Map and then on the modern map.  The teacher could also ask students if the other islands labeled “marsh” on the Beers map, have names on the modern map. Discuss which map is more detailed, and why that might be so. If the students are familiar with Nassau County the teacher could have students locate local streets, bodies of water, etc. on both maps and have them compare and contrast them.

6.       Then discuss additional observations with your partner.

7.      Display a Venn diagram: one side labeled “historic,” the other labeled “modern.” Give each student a copy as well.

8.      As a class, record several similarities and differences. Are the same cities labeled on both maps? How about the bodies of water? 

Exit Assessment:

Have students respond in writing to the following questions:

1.      How do these two maps show a change in the geography or the community over time?

2.      Why are these maps different? They are both maps of the same area.

Optional Extension Activity

The following activity could be completed in order to extend students’ thinking and encourage them to make connections:

1.      Research about map-making techniques. What would F.W. Beers have to do in order to create this map? How are maps made today? With the advent of technology (ex. Google Maps, GPS), is the way that we use maps changing? How so?

 

Name: ___________________________________

HISTORICAL MAPS

Directions: Answer the following questions by analyzing the historical map of your community and comparing it to a modern-day map.

HISTORICAL MAP

1.      In what year was this map drawn?

2.      Locate and identify the scale on the map.

3.      What kind of information do you find on the old map?

4.      Do you recognize any names on the map? Which ones? Why?

MODERN MAP

1.      In what year was this map drawn?

2.      Locate and identify the scale on the map.

3.      What kind of information do you find on the modern maps?

 

** Optional:

COMPARING THE MAPS

1.      How are the historical and modern maps alike?

2.      How are they different?

3.      What have you discovered about your community by comparing the two maps?