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Then and Now



  • Social Sciences
  • Ed. Technology


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students compare and contrast historical and current street maps of your local area.


Students list the similarities and differences between historical and current street maps of their city, town, or region. Students identify points of interest on historical and current maps of their city, town, or region.


geography, map, historical, current, points of interest, region, city, town

Materials Needed

  • historical maps of your region from the local public library
  • current street maps of your local region
  • paper
  • pens or pencils
  • computer with Internet access (optional)

Lesson Plan

  • Before using the lesson, contact your local public library about available local historical maps. Arrange a class visit to the library to study the historical maps.
  • Bring in current local street maps (enough for groups of three or four students) or print out street maps from Web sites such as MapQuest or MapBlast!.
  • Review general information about the current maps. Arrange the class into small groups of three or four students. Distribute the maps or map printouts from the Web sites.
  • Discuss the information on the maps (for example, street names, points of interest).
  • Ask students to imagine that it is the year 1900 (or other year in the past of maps available at the library) and they are looking at a map of their city or town. Ask students what they think a map of that time might show. List students' responses on a sheet of paper.
  • On the day of the field trip, bring the current maps or map printouts and the list of students' responses about historical maps to the library.
  • At the library, help students study the historical maps. Have them compare the historical maps to the current maps. Discuss the similarities and differences. Ask students to compare their expectations of what the historical map might show with the places the actual map does show.


Evaluate students' abilities to interpret and compare maps.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Social Science: