Published Date

June 12, 2017

Resource Type

For the Classroom


Digital Methods

AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning

This resource is part of the AHA’s Teaching with #DigHist series.


By Lindsey Passenger Wieck (St. Mary’s Univ.)

This exercise helps students become critical consumers of maps and media while designing and implementing digital projects that communicate historical content. In this assignment, students explain the significance of maps they created using Carto.


  • To increase proficiency and comfort at analyzing primary sources and practicing using the digital tools we learned about in class.
  • To engage with the public, including your peers, in offering thoughtful responses to historical materials.
  • To gain experience and comfort in blogging and digital communication.
  • To provide regular opportunities for synthesis, writing, and historical analysis in the classroom.


Draft a blog post to share two maps you created using Carto. In the post, you will display the maps you have created, explain their significance, and detail your workflow. For help with this, refer back to these tutorials on Gathering Data and Carto. Your audience for this assignment is a public audience that includes your peers in this class. Your post needs to include:

  • Two embedded maps created using Carto
    1. One map must include at least 100 data points from a dataset. This dataset could be one you’ve created, a dataset shared by your classmates, or a dataset provided by your teacher
    2. Links to the datasets you used.
    3. Your maps should include elements including a title, a key (if needed), and labels for data points (if used). You should put thought into your editorial choices for your maps (style of map, colors, and other elements you’ve included).
  • A short text description and analysis of your maps (Word Count: 300-400 words) that addresses the following in any order that makes sense to you:
    1. The topic of this map: How did you choose this topic? What does this map show?
    2. Workflow: Provide a short description of your process in creating this map. How did you decide what information to gather and include? How did you gather it? (You don’t need to detail your process step-by-step like in our tutorials, but rather provide a brief summary of the actions you took)
    3. Reasoning: Why did you choose this topic? Why did you choose to represent it this way, with these media choices? Why did you choose to make this type of map?
    4. Shortcomings / Inadequacies of Map: Are there any potential shortcomings or inadequacies you might find in this map? How would you expand it if you had the opportunities?
    5. Bibliography/Citations: Be sure to cite the sources you have used!

For more on using Carto in the classroom, read Lindsey Passenger Wieck’s post on AHA Today, “Blending Local and Spatial History: Using Carto to Create Maps in the History Classroom.”