Thursday, January 14, 2016

Maps! And Immigration! But Mostly Maps.

Did you know that in 2012, 54 percent of Montanans were born in Montana? Or that only 1 percent of Montanans were born in North Dakota in 1900 but in 1950 5 percent were? Or that 9 percent of Montanans in 1950 were born outside the U.S. (down from 28% in 1900 but much higher than 2012's 3 percent)? I didn't until I spent time examining an intriguing set of maps The New York Times published that showcase where most people in every state were born--in 2012, 1950, and 1900.

Looking at this map reminded me of how useful maps can be for understanding the world around us--and how amazing the internet is at connecting us to digital resources. There are many, many online map collections. I provide links to many Montana map collections in this old post from 2013.

And then there is this amazing 17 second animation that shows Indian land loss using the chronological collection of land cession maps by Sam B. Hillard, of Louisiana State University, which were published in 1972 in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. I first saw this a few days after reading this post from History Tech about printing out a YouTube video. I tried it on this video and here's what I got.

But back to the topic that started my map quest: if you are looking for more information on immigration to Montana, the "Coming to Montana" footlocker is a great place to start. Although the footlockers are targeted to fourth graders, Coming to Montana has many lessons and primary sources that can be adapted easily to middle school, and even high school. And we've made many of the lessons and images available online, so they can be used even without ordering the footlocker.

This worksheet, created for use with chapter 15 of Montana: Stories of the Land (our textbook) features two highly revealing immigration maps as well.

Is there a map you find particularly revealing about Montana? Let me know and I'll share it.

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