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Map Analysis Lesson

Social Studies Lessons for High School is designed for social studies teachers to use with their government and history courses. It was developed in response to a shift in education throughout our country: a move away from rote memorization and toward the critical thinking skills necessary for many of the new performance assessment programs.

Each lesson will enable teachers to teach seven specific critical thinking skills in a step-by-step process. The information has been adapted for old media and new media formats. Web sites will be provided that will allow teachers to choose the most appropriate resource for the selected activity. All selections can be copied for classroom use. Teachers may adapt activities to allow students to complete assignments via the web.

Bob Black is former Teachers Network web mentor. He is a social studies teacher at the Harbor City Learning Center, located across the street from the historic Edgar Allen Poe House  in Baltimore, MD.

Lesson Plan

Students will analyze the roles and relationships of regions on the formation and implementation of government policy.

Students will gather, manage, and convey information using a variety of skills, resources, and technologies.

Lesson Objectives Students will be able to:
Analyze a population distribution map of the U.S. Identify issues related to urban population growth. Show how regional population issues affect government policies.

As a class, construct a t-chart listing the positive and negative aspects of population growth in an area. Discuss each item. Have students hypothesize about which areas of the U.S. are the most populated and why.

Lesson Procedures
  1. Give students copies of the population map and have them complete the Map Analysis Template Sheet to familiarize themselves with current U.S. population trends. Review student responses.
  2. Have students identify the five most populated cities in the U.S. (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia). Have students place the five cities on their population maps.
  3. Ask students to list problems that have arisen due to population growth in urban regions (air/water pollution, infrastructure decline, drug abuse, housing discrimination/shortages, traffic problems).
  4. Organize students into groups and assign each group an urban problem. Provide time for each group to create a list of possible solutions. Then have each group research federal legislation that addressed these problems (i.e., the Urban Renewal Program; Open Housing Act 1958; low interest loans; Clean Air Act; enterprise zones; anti-drug legislation; infrastructure loans). Have students share their findings with the class.

Have students write a letter to the Governor describing what type of federal aid their state needs to solve its urban problems. The letter should include reasons why this aid to urban regions would benefit all citizens.


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