We all (or most of us) know about the concept of persuasive writing, as this is one of the major focuses in our Language Arts curriculum. Getting students to understand the power that words have to influence and sway opinion one way or another or to reinforce already held beliefs. But what about visual representations of the same concepts?
This is where Persuasive Cartography, or map making, comes into play. These are not your typical maps that would be found in an atlas or even used to teach basic geography, but are rather intended to send a message to the viewer. The PJ Mode Collection at Cornell University is an open source collection of 800+ of these maps that cover a variety of topics and time periods and is fully searchable and easy to browse:
What’s also nice is each map in the collection is able to be downloaded for use in the classroom, made into a poster or handout for tabletop activities, and fully sourced for citation purposes.
For more information, OpenCulture published an article detailing the collection and persuasive mapmaking as a whole that you might find informative.
Potential use in the classroom: As a warm-up or discussion activity around historical events in your course, or as a discussion kickstarter for the topic of persuasion and propaganda.
Recommended grade levels: 7-12.