Cart Close

Back to School with Maps101

Posted on August 21 2022

Back to School with Maps101


Dear Educator,

Many of you may already be starting classes. Or, if not, you are most likely preparing for that first day back to school. With a new year starting, we are taking a look at that very subject: school. School as a topic of content may not be something your students have thought that much about. But of course, it is a major part of all children’s lives. We think your students would be interested in having their attention drawn to school itself—after all, it is where they spend most of their waking hours. And they can relate historical content to their own lives, helping to get their brains flowing again after summer break! Speaking of summer break, that is where we are starting our journey this week: finding out why there even is a summer break in the first place. Then we will look at why school is mandatory, what school was like in the 1800s, the costs of education, and school segregation.

Summer vacation is over or nearly over in most of the country. People commonly assume that having summers off from school is related to agriculture. Is that true? Have students read this GNN article to find out.

Now that students have a better idea about why they have summer off, let’s consider school itself. They probably take for granted that from K-12 they are supposed to attend school. But it wasn’t always that way. This next GNN article helps students recontextualize why they go to school. This had been a privilege of a few in the upper classes. Now, education is available to all.

Students may not realize that school was not always mandatory in the United States. Only the elite, wealthy class were well educated. Students may have only attended elementary school—if there was a schoolroom nearby. Others may have had only a rudimentary education. Many were illiterate. This week, have students learn a bit about the history of public education in the U.S. Emphasize the value of education for their future.

Students may be wondering what classrooms were like before school was compulsory. School was very different in the 1800s. This next article gives them context to compare and contrast their experience today with American schooling from centuries ago.

While school was not required, children did attend basic classes in the 1800s. This article explores what school was like for students in the 19th century. Use the questions at the end to engage students in classroom discussion. You can also have students research the history of your school or the oldest school in your district. Were there one-room schools in your area? Are any still standing?

Today, school is of course quite different than it was when all ages attended a single schoolroom. Then, a single teacher taught through eighth grade. Teachers of today specialize, either by grade or even by subject area. Explain to students too that there is much more knowledge and history about the world than there was in the 1800s! One of the biggest changes has been technological advancement. COVID certainly showed all of us how necessary computers and the internet are for students of today. But these add costs for families. This next article focuses on the costs of going to school—regardless of whether the school is publicly or privately funded.

Education is expensive. Even though public school is funded through taxes, the costs of supplies and technology affect families. This article explores the costs of school, which are increasing. What do students and their families have to provide at your school? How does technology increase the costs to families?

Finally, it is important to remember that not that long ago generationally, schools were racially segregated. This is a large topic to explore, certainly, but even displaying this map of public-school segregation by state in 1954 should impact students.

Unlike today, racial segregation was a fact of life for Blacks and other people of color before the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education successfully ended school segregation. In 1896, the Supreme Court case Plessy v Ferguson had ruled that racial segregation did not violate the Constitution as long as facilities and services were separate but equal. In the Brown case, the Supreme Court ruled that separate fundamentally meant they could not be equal. These are important Court cases for students to further explore as they discover more about the civil rights movement. While that will no doubt be a subject for later in the year, now you can introduce the idea in this broader context of a tour through school itself, to help students make connections and examine the historical legacy that affects events today.

High-quality geography products for the classroom. From globes to wall maps, atlases to games, offers a wealth of products to help put your classroom on the map.
Copyright © 2022 Maps101, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
120 Cremona Drive, Suite 260
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Recent Posts