Tag Archives: maps

StoryMap JS — Maps That Tell Stories

StoryMap JS

Continuing with the cartography as writing theme from the previous Persuasive Cartography post, today here’s a tool for using maps to create a narrative journey through a historical event, movement, or even a fictional story.

StoryMap JS allows students to create their own narrative story line through cartography where they are able to chart a path anywhere in the world using real places, from a very broad jump between nations down to actual street addresses.

Have students use this tool to show understanding of the sequencing of events through history (i.e. the Lewis and Clark Expedition), to better visualize a work of fiction (for example, locations in On the Road), or even to create their own original work.  StoryMap allows students to imbed content from YouTube, Wikipedia, GoogleMaps, SoundCloud, or even original images to tell their story.  This can also be used as a stand alone alternative for collating resources on a topic with the added benefit of allowing readers to view the map and journey taken at the same time.

There are wonderful tips and tricks for helping keep maps stories simple yet informative, and the creation interface is very simple and intuitive as well, making this a great alternative assessment for students as they don’t need to fully learn the tool before applying the content.

StoryMap Editor


Potential use in the classroom:  As an alternative to reading, collation of resources, or an alternative student assessment.

Recommended grade levels:  7-12 for creation, but any grade K-12 for simple visual learning.

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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Websites


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Persuasive Cartography – The PJ Mode Collection at Cornell University

Persuasive Cartography

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.

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Posted by on January 31, 2019 in Websites


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The Largest Employers in Every State — Infographic

The Largest Employers in Every State

If you have ever wondered what single business or entity employed the most people in your state, here’s a great map made by reddit user /u/iliadmusic in conjunction with Olivet Nazerene University.  Each employer is shown, and where there is no single employer with more workers than active military personnel in the state, that is shown as well.  Just look how Wal-Mart absolutely dominates the South!!  [VIA]

Click image to enlarge

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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Infographics


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Show: A New Way to Look at the World — Interactive Maps

Show: A New Way to Look at the World

Show: A New Way to Look at the World is a fantastic interactive site that takes demographics and societal data and displays it in a unique way for the United States, Japan, and the world as a whole.  Show would be a great resource for not only history and social studies classrooms (It’s a sociological goldmine!) but also geography and math classes as you can use the data, correlations, and spatial relationships to interpret the maps.

Begin using Show by choosing the region you wish to view, either the United States or Japan (divided by states and prefectures, respectively) or a world map that will deal with countries.  You can then choose a category for study, whether they be broad concepts such as basic demographics (population, language, religion, etc.), more specific concepts like natural resources, GDP, and education, to the more unique categories like distribution of Wal-Marts and number of UFO sightings.

Take some time to explore before you try using this unique resource in class or have students use it during a free period or as a different way to research.  I got lost in the maps on Show for quite a long time myself and still haven’t seen half of it!

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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Websites


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myHistro — Interactive Timelines & Maps


I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting presentation and storytelling tools, and myHistro definitely fits the bill for today!  With myHistro, you are able to create interactive timelines of any event in history, both major events and personal!

Create myHistro stories that integrate text, photos, video, and Google Maps to take students on a journey through the actual events of history on a virtual fieldtrip through the places that influenced the events.  These presentations can be left to play on their own or can be manipulated by the viewer as well.  If you don’t have the inclination or time to create your own, then you can choose from hundreds of already made myHistro timelines that cover almost every time period in history.

Another benefit of myHistro is that with creating your own timeline, you could have students build their own personal histories or stories, pinning actual locations on a map to correspond with the events in their timeline.  This is a perfect way to work in a cross-curricular setting, either having students research historical figures from other disciplines, creating their own life story, or writing creatively about a person’s life.  Integrating the writing component while using myHistro to organize and bring actual geography into the story can address several needs and standards at the same time.

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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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Apollo 11 Landing on a Soccer Field — Infographic

Relative Size of the Apollo 11 Landing Site

In July, 1969 man first set foot on the moon — a monumental task considering it was done with slide rules and machines with not even 1/10 the computing power that we carry in our pockets every day.  After traveling the 238,900 miles to the moon, just how much sight seeing did Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong do, however?  Today’s infographic helps put it in perspective, superimposing a map of the Apollo 11 landing site onto a soccer field.  [VIA]

Apollo 11 Landing

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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Infographics


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