Maps with a Spin
In teams of three or four students, research and map the
effects of a proposed airport three miles outside of town. Each team is
to prepare a presentation based on a set of maps it makes. Teams will
represent different points of view: town government, homeowner's associations,
business interests, developers, and State or county government. Teams
will emphasize different information. All teams must use the same data,
but each team can decide how to generalize the data and map the patterns
they want to present
- As a class, collect basic geographic from various sources: government,
local libraries, student observations, businesses, and other organizations.
For example, zoning and development regulations, weather records, locations
of landfills and other waste sites, data on land use (residential, farming,
commercial, governmental, recreational), boundaries of school districts,
locations of fire departments and fire hydrants, water supplies, pipelines
and powerlines, natural hazards (flood plains, landslides, earthquake
risk zones), special scenic or historic sites, transportation features,
wildlife refuges, and so on.
- Sort the data by type: economic, climatic, demographic, and so on.
Select data sets that are especially important for consideration in
planning an airport.
- Research local newspapers to identify interest groups active in local
issues; briefly discuss issues in class to clarify the point of view
of each group. Evaluate maps in newspapers. Do they have "spin''? Break
the class into the working groups.
- Evaluate data and sketch a few test maps. Select only the data that
support your point of view or need for information. Remember the importance
of good choice of color, attractive lettering, and other aspects of
map design in presenting information.
- Prepare the final copies of materials for a town meeting. Make final
copies of maps; be sure each map has a legend and cites sources of information.
Be able to defend your choice of map type, symbols, colors, and generalization
or groupings of data. Write notes or a paragraph to briefly explain
what each map shows; these will be your speaking notes for the town
Continuation from last class:
Have a class "town meeting" where the maps are presented
and the issues are discussed. Allow each group 4 minutes to present
its views, after which each group has 1 minute for rebuttal. The teacher
or a student may act as moderator, keeping the meeting on time and
Next task: Collect map data from a novel (English or
German) and draw a map from the information provided in the story
- On scrap paper, list the kinds of features you will be mapping, such
as towns, buildings, houses, rivers, lakes, roads, and airports.
- On paper or clear plastic, draw maps of each separate layer. Include
place names, scale, latitude, and longitude. Combine the layers (redrawing
if necessary) to create a generalized view that could be used as a frontispiece
for the book.
- Write a short essay discussing how geography affected the events in
the book. Note how the new frontispiece might affect a reader's impression
of the book.
On a chalkboard map the plots and sub plots of the
book using concept mapping (see example in illustration G); start
from any central story line (from any point in the book) and try to
fill the spaceavailable.