Analyzing an Historic Maryland Map

In this unit, students learn about map elements and compare modern maps. They also investigate symbols on modern maps and use them to make inferences about the maps they investigate. In these lessons, students will first do a “close reading” of Augustine Herrman’s 1670 map of Maryland and Virginia. In the second lesson, the class will conduct a closer analysis and evaluate the Herrman map to make comparisons to a modern map. In the third lesson, the class will analyze and evaluate the narrative text embedded in the map in order to make inferences about the text, the possible bias of the author of the map, and what that says about the people who lived in that time and area.

Lesson Objective

By the end of the lesson(s), students will analyze a primary source map from the past in order to make inferences about the people who created the map, the time period, and the people who lived in that area. Students will complete analysis sheets each day and exit cards.

Materials

Procedure

  1. Day One
  2. Before the Lesson: First give students some background information on the mapmaker, Augustine Herrman to provide an historical context. http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/014000/014061/html/14061bio.html
  3. Students should have already received instruction on elements of maps, symbols on maps, and be familiar with a modern map of Maryland.
  4. During the Lesson: Give out copies of the Herrman map to small groups of students (3 or 4 in a group).
  5. Have a modern map of Maryland available for pairs of students to share. This modern map can be used to help students orient themselves to the historical map and give them a frame of reference for comparison.
  6. Hand out magnifying glasses to students to give them time to look closely at the map. Students will first share observations about what they find with their table groups. Next have each group share out some of their findings. Ask probing questions so that students begin to analyze the map and draw conclusions. Clarify any confusion and add historical information to help them make sense of their findings.
  7. Historical thinking skill questions that could be asked: Who did Herrman make the map for? (contextualization), Why did Augustine Herrman make this map? (contextualizaion), What did he gain from making the map? (contextualization)
  8. Exit Question: How did you know this map was from the past? Give two examples from your close reading today or from our class discussion.
  9. Day Two
  10. During the Lesson: Once again, give out copies of the Herrman map to small groups of students (3 or 4 in a group). Also, have a modern map of Maryland available for pairs of students to share. Hand out magnifying glasses to students.
  11. Give out the worksheets from yesterday with feedback given on the exit question. Explain that today they will continue to make observations about the Herrman map, but that they will now be thinking more deeply about the information contained in the map in order to draw conclusions and make inferences. Explain that this is called “analyzing”. They will also “evaluate” the map as they think about how it was made and why it was made that way. Give out the Day Two worksheet with the questions.
  12. Like the previous lesson, give students an opportunity to work with their table groups as they puzzle over the questions on their worksheet. Then share out answers from groups for each question. Clarify historical information and ask probing questions to help students think more deeply.
  13. Historical thinking skill questions that are asked on the worksheet: What was included in the map that surprised you? Why do you think it was included? What was left out of the map? Why do you think these things were left out? How is the Herrman map the same as a modern map? How is it different from a modern map? Do you think the geographic information shown on the map is completely accurate? If not, why not?
  14. Exit Question: What could you learn about life in the 1600’s from this map? Use examples from your notes or from our class discussion.
  15. Day Three
  16. Give out worksheets from yesterday with feedback given on the exit question from the last lesson. Show them the Herrman map to remind them what they did yesterday.
  17. Next, give out only the copy of the “teacher translated” narrative text. Explain that a teacher used a hand lens just like they did and copied the narrative information that was located around the Herrman map. She tried to make sense of the old English letters replacing F’s with S’s to make our modern spellings.
  18. Explain that they are looking at a “secondary source” today since the teacher did not write the originally information in 1670, but she instead looked at a primary source (the Herrman map) and tried to translate it into modern English. Ask them what mistakes could have been made in the translation.
  19. Give out the Day Three worksheet with the questions.
  20. Allow students time to first read the text. The text is very difficult. Let them know that they are not expected to understand everything in the text. Their job is to see what they can make sense of in order to better understand the information in the map and to make inferences about the past. Have the students discuss their findings with their table groups. Then share out answers from groups for each question. Clarify historical information and ask probing questions to help students think more deeply. Bring up the fact that the author of the map was from England. Ask the students a question from the first day, “What was his purpose for making this map?” Then ask the students who was in Maryland before the 1600’s. Have them discuss at their tables how the map would be different if a Native American had made it. This helps students begin to realize the influence of point of view or bias in historical documents.
  21. Historical thinking skill questions that are asked on the worksheet: What was included in the narrative text? What was included in the narrative text that surprised you? Why do you think it was included? How was the narrative text information different from the rest of the map?
  22. Would the map look different if it was created by a Native American living at that time? How would it be different? Use information you’re your notes and our class discussion in your answer.

Assessment

Extension: Give students opportunities to analyze other historical maps of Maryland to compare them to the Herrman map. As students begin their Native American research, return to the maps to discuss how the Native American population on the maps changed over time from the first map created by John Smith to the maps created years later. Analyze the movement and disappearance of Native American populations over time.

References

“Augustine Herrman.” Maryland State Archives.
http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/014000/014061/html/14061bio.html (accessed October 3, 2012).

“Map of Maryland and Virginia.” Augustine Herrman. http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/educ/exhibits/images/fig18.jpg (accessed October 3, 2012).