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        Montana | Activity 2.4: Comparing Maps - Looking into Montana’s Past

        Students study two maps of Montana, one from the past and one from the present, to learn about the changes in physical features and in human-made designed or political features. Students use these maps to locate and identify key physical and designed or political features of Montana in the past and present, noting the differences. 

        Lesson Summary

        Students study two maps of Montana, one from the past and one from the present. They learn about the changes in physical features and in human-made designed or political features. Students use these maps to locate and identify key physical and designed or political features of Montana in the past and present, noting the differences. 

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana Unit 2: Geography", which will introduce students to Montana’s unique geographical features and how they have changed over time.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards:  

        3.2: Locate on a map or globe physical features (e.g., continents, oceans, mountain ranges, landforms), natural features (e.g., flora, fauna), and human features (e.g., cities, states, national borders).

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Project the two Montana maps (one past and one present).

        1. Distribute the Montana’s Features handout. Explain that physical features include mountain ranges, rivers, and other landforms, and that designed and political features include cities, reservations, and state borders.

        1. Explain to students that there have been changes to the map over time, specifically in political features such as American Indian reservations.

        1. Have students locate and circle any of the natural features on each map in brown. Some examples include the Rocky Mountains, Beartooth Mountains, Bitterroot Mountains, Absaroka Mountains, Missouri River, Yellowstone River, Flathead River, Flathead Lake, Continental Divide, and Great Plains.

        1. Ask students to point out any physical features that are on the new map that weren’t identified on the old map, and vice versa. Have students put a yellow star next to these features. Explain that maps show what is important to the people at that time. So, if the Flathead River valley didn’t have railroads until the 1890s, the river might not have been shown on a map prior to that time.

        1. Have students locate and circle any of the human-made features in red. Some examples include the Fort Peck Reservoir, Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Fort Benton, Fort Owen, Fort Pease, and the State Capital.

        1. Ask students what human-made designed or political features they find to be different from one map to the other, and put an orange “X” on those places. Explain that forts appeared on maps as they were used in the Civil War and as fur trading posts. Since many forts are no longer in use, they may not appear on more recent maps.

        1. Have students locate and circle American Indian reservations on both maps in green. They will include the Flathead Reservation, Blackfeet Reservation, Fort Peck Reservation, and Crow Reservation. Ask students, what has changed from one map to the other. [Crow and Flathead Reservations are a little smaller on the recent map, but the recent map also includes the new reservations of the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, Northern Cheyenne, and Fort Peck (and Little Shell Chippewa and Rocky Boy).]

        Answer Key

        Only on 1872 map

        Continental Divide

        Fort Owen

        Fort Benton

        Fort Pease

        Fort Peck Reservoir

        Judith Mountains and River

        Bitterroot Mountains

        Highwood Mountains

        Beartooth Mountains

        Absaroka Mountains

        Belt Mountains

        Flathead Lake

        Only on Present Day map

        Flathead National Forest

        Lewis & Clark National Forest

        Beaverhead–Deerlodge National Forest

        Custer–Gallatin National Forest

        Kootenai National Forest

        Blackfeet Reservation

        Fort Belknap Reservation

        Northern Cheyenne Reservation

        Rocky Boy Reservation

        Little Shell Chippewa Tribal Capital

        Fort Peck Reservation

        Milk River

        Flathead River

        Interstates

        Helena

        Bozeman

        Billings

        Missoula

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