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Historical Atlas

Time Frame

3 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups




The main purpose of producing an historical atlas is to familiarize students with the changes that have occurred in national boundaries over the last few centuries, due mainly to revolutions. Secondary purposes include introducing students to a number of different atlas types and helping them learn boundaries, locations, and regions of the assigned countries and areas of the world.


  • 'Maps on File'. New York, Facts on File Publications, 1987
  • 'Historical Maps on File'. New York, Facts on File Publications, 1982.
  • Encyclopedias
  • Atlases
  • drawing paper
  • art supplies (colored pencils, markers, etc.)
  • optional: opaque projector

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to answer the essential question, 'What effect have revolutions had on the world? Included in this understanding would be a perspective on how revolutions have affected the boundaries of nations around the world and how these revolutions and boundary changes have affected the culture and economics of these countries.

Instructional Procedures


Introduce students to the different types of maps (land use, population, percapita income, political) and atlases (current, historical) available. See Moab Institute - Table of Contents Assign each small group (2 or 3) of students a country and a time period to map and chart historically. Assign each student in each group one of the following tasks to complete for their group:

One student will make a modern day (current) map of the assigned country

One student will make a time line of significant events that occurred in their country at the beginning of their assigned time period

One student will make a map of their country as it was during their assigned time period

Hints: It works better to assign each student a different part of the assignment for their particular country rather than letting the students divide up the assignment themselves.

Adaptations: The historical atlas can be as simple or detailed as you would like them to be. In that way, teachers could increase or decrease the level of difficulty for this assignment.


Students could make a cover and bind the maps and timelines into a book as an art project.

Assessment Plan

Make the criteria clear for acceptable work and possibly give extra credit for imbellishments to the maps or time lines. Those meeting the criteria within the time allotted should receive full credit.

Created: 11/15/1997
Updated: 02/05/2018