HOME: The Story of Maine

"A Love for the Land": Where Are You? Who Are You?
Lesson 1


Guiding Principles

1. A Clear and Effective Communicator

  • Uses oral, written, visual, artistic, and technological modes of expression.

    2. An Integrative and Informed Thinker

  • Applies knowledge and skills in and across English language arts, visual and performing arts, foreign languages, health and physical education, mathematics, science, social studies, and career preparation.


    Skills and Tools

    Middle Grades 5-8: Develop maps, globes, charts, models, and databases to analyze geographical patterns on the earth.

    Human Interaction with Environments

    Middle Grades 5-8: Demonstrate an understanding of how society changes as a consequence of concentrated settlement.

  • Students will:
  • Explore their own neighborhoods, observing patterns of land use.
  • Create a map of their neighborhood.
  • Express in writing one way in which they relate to their environment.
  • Imagine what their neighborhood might have been like 100 years earlier, and articulate their ideas in writing.
  • Estimated Timing: 4-5 days


    Take a Walk Worksheet

    Writing assignment sheet

    A contemporary map of your town or community, either on a transparency, or on copies that students can look at. Your local library should have a recent map that you can use.

    An historical map of your town or community, c. 1900 or so. Again, your local library or historical society is a good source for this. If you can't find a map, try finding another early description of the community-a picture, photograph, or even a written description from an early diary or newspaper.

    Paper, rulers, pencils, colored pencils

    Student Self-evaluation Form


    1. Watch the video A Love for the Land. In this episode, Dr. Richard Judd makes the following statement: "The way people have used the landscape has really defined Maine to the rest of the nation. It's been a crucial part of our own self-identity as Mainers, and it's been a very crucial part of the way people outside the state view Maine today."

    Discuss this statement. What does it mean? What does the class think of as their landscape, or their environment? How does this environment help define who they are?

    2. Show students the map of their community. What kinds of things do they notice about their town? Is it big? Small? Urban? Suburban? Rural? If you live on the coast, does the public have access to the beach? Are there lakes in your community? Rivers? Forests? What parts of town are publicly owned? Privately owned? Are there distinct sections of town that show up on the map? Areas that are less populated, or areas that are more commercial, for example? Is there a large downtown? Are there farms nearby? Have your students ever visited one? Does anyone live on one? What do they think their community might have been like 100 years ago, according to the cues they received in the video? Possible responses might include: no electricity, abandoned farms, roads might have been primitive-gravel, or dirt, no cars, which means no traffic lights or interstates, hard to travel in the spring and/or fall.

    3. Hand out the Take a Walk Worksheets, and go over them with students. For homework, have them walk around their neighborhood and fill these worksheets out.

    4. In class the next day, talk about what they observed. Did they notice patterns in the way people in their community use the land? Are there any interesting differences according to neighborhood?

    5. Give students the Writing Assignment sheet. Discuss the assignment with them. Allow them to begin the maps of their neighborhoods in class, using the materials you have available. Give them a couple of nights to complete their writing assignments.

    6. On the day their writing assignments are due, hold a discussion on what students wrote about. How did they imagine their community might have looked 100 years earlier? How might people have been using the land differently?

    7. Show students an historical map of your community, c. 1900 (or another primary source you have found). Compare this primary source to the contemporary map you showed them earlier. What is different? What seems to be the same? How does the primary source compare with the way they imagined things to be 100 years earlier?


    Have students grade their participation in the project using the Self-Evaluation Form. Grade them yourself, using the same form.

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