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New Lesson Plan: Boston Then and Now, Change in the Urban Environment

Published on Wed, 05/06/2015

[caption id="attachment_11713" align="alignright" width="300"]Black engraved map on yellowed paper, with the harbor in the center, ringed on upper left by land and dotted with islands. Box in upper right edge reads: Boston, its environs and harbour, with the rebels works raised against that town in 1775, from the observations of Lieut. Page of His Majesty's Corps of Engineers, and from the Plans of Cap. Montressor." Boston, its Environs and Harbour with the Rebels Works Raised Against that Town in 1775[/caption] Boston Public Schools teachers collaborated on this lesson to engage students with the sweep of American industrial and urban history. Due to Boston's breathtaking changes in landscape, including the filling of much of Boston Harbor to create neighborhoods–the city offers a dramatic case study of change across the ages. In this lesson, students use primary sources to compare and contrast two maps of Boston. The first map from the turn of the century circa 1900-1920 and the second map from 1778 are both aerial maps. Students should observe in comparing both maps how the landscape of Boston has changed over the years, and should question why the changes occurred and reflect on what might have caused them. View more details, and download or access the lesson plan online. Emerging America brings this lesson to you thanks to the outstanding map resources of the Library of Congress. Aligned to Common Core and Massachusetts State History standards.

Rich Cairn

Civics and Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction Specialist, Collaborative for Educational Services
Rich Cairn founded Emerging America in 2006, which features the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History program, "Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory and the Genesis of American Industry." The Accessing Inquiry clearinghouse, supported by the Library of Congress TPS program promotes full inclusion of students with disabilities and English Learners in civics and social studies education.