Mapping Boundaries

This set of resources is intended to encourage classroom activities that focus on “place” through mapping, whether that means cartography, conceptual mapping, or understanding the construction of boundaries.

We’ve divided these resources according to “Mapping in the Classroom” and “Maps.”

Mapping in the Classroom

Blogging Pedagogy: Mapping Arguments

Jim Brown discusses how Google’s MyMaps tool can be used to teach about the border and border studies.  He has created a  map of one of his personal borders using Google’s MyMaps tool.

Borders and Boundaries

From Teaching Tolerance, this lesson plan encourages students to think about diversity and inclusion through the process of mapping places and groups within their school.

Boundary Ballads

An activity that presents ballads as puzzles that identify major global boundaries

Lesson Plan: A Place in Time with Google Tools – The Impact of Photography

Written by Cheryl Davis, this lesson plan considers how to “Use the study of photography to explore with your students the power of images and their impact on history. In this lesson students learn about the history of American photography by selecting and  critiquing  photographs in an interactive and collaborative activity. The lesson also incorporates geographic literacy into the fine arts experience by challenging students to focus on the significance of the place, captured in time, that influenced events. “

Mapping in a Participatory Culture: Representation and Production

This site provides simple cartographic activities in which students can consider how borders are at once “literal and figurative sites of negotiation, where different nations, cultures, or social groups meet or clash.”  The module provides “examples and activities that explore ‘boundaries’ as they exist at the global, local, social, and metaphorical levels.”



An encyclopedic entry from National Geographic that looks at borders in general, including discussion of numerous global borders and accompanying photography.

The Border | Morphing Map

Produced by PBS-KNME, this website provides an animated map that tracks the territorial changes of the border between the U.S. and Mexico from 1783 through the present.


HyperCities is “a collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.”  Mexico City, for instances, is depicted through 16 layers of historical maps – all of which trace over a Google Earth background.

Maps of the Pimería: Early Cartography of the Southwest

Produced by the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona, this website contains maps of the Pimería section of Spanish colonial Mexico, which is located in what is now Arizona.

U.S.-Mexico Border Geospatial and Mapping Data

Coordinated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, this websites provides links to “current mapping and geospatial data products for the U.S.-Mexico Border region.”

U.S.-Mexican Border: Open or Closed (Teacher Resources / Student Resources)

A webquest designed to allow students to see the differences between an open or closed U.S.-Mexican border and to realize the implications and benefits of both sides.

United States / Mexico Border Lesson Plan

National Geographic has produced lesson plans that explore teaching about the United States and Mexico border region.

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