Welcome to the American Migrations Project, a resource for teaching and research about African American and Latino migrations that have shaped American history. Through this project, researchers, K-12 teachers and university faculty work together to create curriculum for teaching and learning about these migrations, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as an online resource in the classroom.

GIS historical census maps enable students to visualize population patterns as they change over time, and can be powerful tools for building spatial reasoning skills. Historical census maps can be used to develop deeper understandings of African American and Latino American history, making it possible for students to ask and answer their own questions about everyday people whose movements have shaped our shared history.

Educators at different grade levels – from 6th grade through college – are developing new ways to teach historical thinking and spatial reasoning. This research focuses on the ways GIS technologies can support these kinds of learning, helping us develop better curriculum and assessments for teaching with data visualization tools like GIS.

Over the next five years this website will share curriculum units for K-12 and undergraduate social science projects studying these American Migrations, along with links to online, classroom-ready GIS census data tools. It will also share current research on spatial reasoning, historical thinking, and GIS technologies. Please browse the resources on this site, and contact us if you would like to share other resources or be part of the work we are doing.



March 23, 2015
NYT's new interactive Mapping Migrations tool shows where people in each state were born with data from 1900, 1950 and 2012!

March 20, 2015
Curriculum Modules Updates:
Latino Migrations (college level)

Describe Latino Populations (middle school)

Introduction to Reading Census Maps

March 1, 2015
Chicago Election Results in Relation to 2013 School Closings

February 27, 2015
GIS Map Shows Chicago Election Results

10 Steps for Using Social Explorer YouTube tutorial is here! Check it out here!

Featured Artifact
Cooper Center Racial Dot Map
One Dot Per Person: the Cooper Center's Racial Dot Map

The map displays one dot for each person residing in the United States at the location they were counted during the 2010 Census. Each dot is color-coded by the individual's race and ethnicity.