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GIS Projects
Christine Esposito

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Mapping the Constitutional Convention - US History

Creating the Constitution was a messy business. Many of the issues surrounding its creation would continue to exist for decades after it was ratified. Some of those same issues are still being debated today. If we expect students to understand what came after the Constitution, we must first help them to understand what came before and how that shaped the debate about the need for a new government, what that government should look like and how it should be implemented.
This activity uses GIS technology to help students visualize the geographical nature of the major decisions/votes of the Constitutional Convention.

Scott Mace

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Querying the Reach of Jim Crow - US History

This GIS lesson is designed to explore the reach of Jim Crow laws and their impact on the evolution of American history.  The interplay of GIS and the shapefile demonstrate the complexity of Jim Crow and affords students the opportunity to analyze, reflect, and question this dynamic era of American history.

Jeremy Newcomb

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Virginia’s Civil War Battles - US History

This lesson will examine the different battles of the Civil War that were fought in Virginia to allow students the opportunity to see patterns related to the strategies of both the Union and Confederacy.  They will use GIS technology to track change over time in Virginia during the Civil War.

Donna Shifflett

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Why Yorktown? - Virginia Studies

These lessons investigate the importance of the role geography played in the American Revolutionary War.  Students will investigate the location of battles relative to time and region, the role of port cities, and how Nathanael Greene used his knowledge of the land to weaken Cornwallis’s Army without winning a major battle.

Chris Shedd

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Mapping the Underground Railroad - US History

This project is divided into three parts, which can be taught together or independently.  Part I asks students to make predications about the Underground Railroad.  They will use the map to check their predications and to learn more about over 200 Underground Railroad Stations.  Students will practice using various GIS features to analyze the stations.  Part II will allow students to discover the difficulties runaway slaves faced, the lengthy travels they endured, and how the Underground Railroad helped them.  They will follow two different routes on the Underground Railroad from slavery in the South to freedom in Canada.  Students will answer questions as they go, and complete a Venn diagram at the end to compare the two routes.  Part III will challenge students to take on the role of a conductor on the Underground Railroad and help a small group of runaway slaves escape to freedom.  They will need to plan a careful escape route that will allow the runaways access to food and shelter.  Students will keep track of the locations where they stop to rest on their journey.  If they reach Canada safely, they will be able to plot their journeys in GIS and see the route they took on the map.

John Hobson

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Winning Virginia - US History/US Government

Students will act as campaign strategists in Virginia deciding which counties are the cities are the best ones to set up campaign offices.  Students will look at a variety of variables including competitiveness, population size, race, median age, and gender to make their determinations.  Students will then create a campaign strategy based on their maps and their analysis.  This assignment is part of a larger assignment called “Selling the Candidate” in which students are acting as the campaign staff for either a presidential, senatorial, or congressional candidate in the state of Virginia.

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Elections and The Republican Party in Virginia

Students will explore geographic patterns and election data to make assumptions about the Republican Party in the state of Virginia from Reconstruction to the present.  This lesson is intended to be gateway to discussing political movements in the state of Virginia including the Readjusters, the Lily White Movement in the Republican Party, the Byrd Machine and the Dixiecrat Revolt, the Emergence of the Republican Party in the 1960s, and the current coalition of the Republican Party.

Ann Marie Gaylord

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Slavery: North vs. South - VA Studies/US History Grade 4

This GIS project is an animation of seven different maps.  The animation shows the percentage of slavery per population, in each of the 13 original colonies from 1790-1860. This map was made in ARC GIS and saved as a VRS file. Therefore, the students will view this project from Windows Media Player. This project is created to help 4th graders acquire a better understanding of the social and economic differences between the North and the South leading up to the Civil War (The teacher answer key can be used to drive the lesson). While the students are not directly using GIS tools in this lesson, they are analyzing a map created through GIS, thus enabling them to have an idea of what kind of maps can be created in possible extension GIS lessons.

Douglas Moore

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Plessy to Brown and Beyond - US History/Civics

The material that I have assembled into the GIS project is a resource that teachers may choose to use in activities the focus on segregation, desegregation, and massive resistance. In this packet, I have included sample worksheets that could be used. The important resources are the maps showing the locations of the important court cases and the websites linked to the cases. Teachers can use these links for both direct instruction and to facilitate student research.

Tamie Campbell

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Mapping the Primaries for President - US History/Civics

Students will study the primaries/caucus campaigns of the major candidates for both the Republican and Democrat parties during the 2008 Primaries.  They will compare and contrast strategies and then relate them to the electoral college. 

Robert Stewart

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Using GIS to Review the Civil War - US History

This GIS lesson is designed to help students review major battles of the U.S. Civil War, and compare strategies of both the Union and Confederate armies.

Stephanie Hammer

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World War II Alliances - US History

In this project students will explore a world map that illustrates the involvement of countries in alliances during WWII.  Using ArcGis or Adobe Acrobat the students will explore how the WWII alliances changed over time from 1932-1945.

Chris Bunin

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Slavery in Virginia - US History

Students use GIS to investigate the geographic changes of slavery between 1810 and 1860.

Teresa Goodin

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The Oregon Trail: GIS Simulation - US History

This lesson should come after an introduction lesson to the motivations of westward expansion (specifically Overland Trail emigration).  For best results, students should have been introduced to GIS technology (ArcMap or ArcExplorer) prior to this lesson.  The time demands of this lesson may preclude the teacher from teaching students the basics of the program.


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