Map the locations of the U.S. cities with the most common names.
map, cities, geography, map, common city names, place names
Which city names are the most common ones in the U.S.? You might pose that question to your students as a way of introducing this geography/mapping activity. Write on a black/whiteboard or chart the city names that students suggest.
According to Wikipedia's List of Cities in the United States (scroll down to find "Most Common City Names"), the city names below are the most common ones. The number next to each city name represents the number of states that are home to a city of that name.
Note: Wikipedia includes only names of cities on their list. Other sources of information include names of villages, hamlets, and neighborhoods in their counts and call Fairview and Midway the most common names; other common names not listed above include Oak Grove, Centerville, Five Points, Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Hill, Riverside, Liberty, New Hope, and Pleasant Valley. (See sources 1, 2.)
Arrange students into pairs. Assign each pair one of the city names in the list above and have them use a U.S. atlas or one of the Internet map resources below to pinpoint the locations of their assigned city. Since students mapping the most common names will have more work to do (for example, Franklin has ten more instances than Oxford), you might give the city names at the top of the list to your more capable or geographically-proficient students.
Online Map Resources
U.S. Outline Map Resources
AssessmentAssess students based on the accuracy of their maps (assessed as you monitor students working on them) and their cooperative-work skills.
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Originally published 12/13/2005
Last updated 04/29/2010