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Sanborn maps

March 1, 2012

Next time you are discussing a specific time in United States history with your students, pull up a Sanborn map to supplement your lesson.  Sanborn maps were created from 1867 to 1970 and show detailed information on the towns and buildings of about 12,000 places in the U.S.  Read more about the history of Sanborn maps, how one teacher uses them in her class, and find quick links for various towns at History is Elementary. These maps could be used for group or  individual research in literature, history, and architecture classes for students in all grade levels. How fun would it be for students to see how a town developed over time? For instance, students can look at maps of San Francisco from different time periods to see how the addition of the Port of San Francisco, the Pacific Railroad, Golden Gate Park and businesses such as Levi Strauss put San Francisco “on the map” or how the great earthquake of 1906 changed the city.

Use these unique primary resources to teach all learners in your diverse classroom. You can even differentiate your objectives. Some students can be learning simple map skills while others learn about city planning, for instance.

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