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Don’t know much about history?

Yeah. Me neither. Wasn’t my favorite subject…

But on Friday at the VASS conference, I was introduced to a site that allows teachers to take students through Geoinquiries.

What’s a Geoinquiry? It’s a lesson that walks students step by step through a moment in history or biology or anything else that can really be put on a map. I suppose it could be a great tool, too, for mapping storylines that travel. Oh. I just googled it. And yes, they already have that here.

Such a cool tool!

Of course, there are other sites that do this, like this one from National Geographic, but what I specifically like about the arcgis Geoinquiries is the lesson plans that help teachers walk students through them.

For example, this map helps students have a global concept of The Great Exchange (also known as the Columbian Exchange), when plants, animals and diseases were transferred from the Old World to the New World, and vice versa. And here’s the lesson plan that goes with it. Students will learn such fun facts as potatoes didn’t really come from Ireland.

You can see where crops originated, where they likely were domesticated, and where they are grown today. The information is in layers that can be turned on and off so students can isolate information and then talk about what the layers in conjunction with each other mean.

And for English Learners, having that ability to turn layers of a map on and off could be so valuable for building understanding.

If you want students to make their own maps, you can sign up here. Happy mapping!

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