Child pages
  • Computational thinking and social studies

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In addition to these materials, please take a look at Esri's GeoInquiries for social studies (Government, US History, World History, World Geography, Human Geography) – they aren't explicitly framed as computational thinking activities, but they lend themselves to it readily.


  • Scaffolded geocache for absolute location...and Parks and waterways
    • For almost every city map I've examined, the majority of urban parks fall along the waterways. There are many reasons for this pattern (flood zones, ecological protection, history of economic changes over time), but it seems remarkably consistent. 
    • Example #1, presented in a story map: Allentown Parks & Waterways
    • Example #2, presented in a sandbox ArcGIS Online map: Austin, TX parks & waterways
      • Note that I created multiple layers of the parks, filtered by different categories. This allows students to examine some of the discontinuities – cemeteries and golf courses, for example

  • Scaffolded geocache – teaches absolute location; can integrate computational thinking


  • Enslavement, emancipation, and the continuing struggle
    • Story of Aaron
    • 1860 census. (Note that if you progress from 1790 to 1860, additional patterns become visible – changes in intensity, geographic point of focus over time.)
    • Jim Crow laws
    • Lynching

High school

  • American social history via the names of public schools
    • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) keeps a searchable database of public schools. You can conduct thematic searches of this database, such as...
      • Presidents who have been impeached
        • Andrew Johnson = 1
        • Richard Nixon = 0
        • Bill Clinton = 3
      • Confederate leaders and generals (look for Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, etc.)
      • Civil Rights icons (Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin, Medgar Evers, etc. etc. etc.)
    • The relative proportions of the names tells you something about the popularity of these public figures.
    • The database also provides addresses, so you could map the results and explore the geographic patterns in their popularity. (Example #1: The lone school named after Andrew Johnson is in Kingsport, TN, about 30 miles from his residence in Greenville, TN. Example #2, far more puzzling: 'Stonewall Jackson' gives 7 results, all of which are in Virginia or Florida...with one in West Virginia.)