Middle school students as cartographers analyzing redlining: An exercise in co-design

Authors: Wendy Dorman*, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign, Kira M Dolley, Columbus Gifted Academy
Topics: Education , Ethnicity and Race, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: redlining, ArcOnline, online, remote learning, k-12, middle school, cartography, social studies, taboo, racism, agency, learning, scientists
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 46
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The maps most commonly used in schools reflect a legacy of colonization, making resources visible and people invisible. Most lessons involving maps delve no deeper than their use as reference material. We (a 6th grade social studies teacher and a first-year doctoral student) wanted to teach students to understand, create, and analyze information using map skills which would allow them to uncover the complex social issues that affect them. To do this, we co-designed a lesson in which students were trained as cartographers and used technology (ArcGIS StoryMaps) to create maps of redlining in their community. In this discussion we will outline the lesson we created and discuss our experiences developing and giving it. We will address the challenges of integrating NGSS and GIS into a middle school Social Studies curriculum, the power of training students as scientists, the potential impacts of addressing taboo topics in middle school, teaching online during a pandemic, and how we drew on our relationship to overcome challenges.

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