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What to investigate with a story map? 20 Questions about the Titanic

02-10-2017 07:09 AM
Esri Notable Contributor
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I am asked by instructors sometimes about the questions I typically ask when I am teaching students while using Esri Story Maps.  One of the maps I most often use is the Story Map on the voyage of the Titanic, because of the richness of the data, the well-known nature of the story, and because it highlights so many interesting things you can do with story maps.  These include linking to a database, creating pie charts, using the oceans basemap, and incorporating tabs, for example.  After opening the Titanic story map, here are 20 questions I ask.  These questions are meant to encourage spatial and temporal thinking, and to integrate geography, history, mathematics, and GIS.  They could be given in a workshop orally, or the students could read them independently.  If desired, a rubric could be set up around these questions to assess student work.   It is my hope that these questions will encourage you and your students to ask these types of questions as you and they engage in the fascinating world of story maps.   In the comments section below, I encourage you to submit your own questions, and also consider sharing the questions you pose when you are teaching with other story maps.

Titanic story map

1.       Make 3 observations about the route that the Titanic took. 
2.       If you knew then what you know now about the icebergs in the way of the Titanic, describe the route that you would have taken, if you had been the ship’s captain.
3.       Identify the 3 countries visited by the Titanic along its route from Southampton.
4.       Before the Titanic sailed on its maiden voyage, it sailed from the shipyard where it was created in Belfast to Southampton.  Through which sea did it travel?
5.       What % of the way across the Atlantic do you estimate that the Titanic was when it sank?
6.       Which city was the Titanic bound for on its voyage?
7.       How many days did it take Titanic to sail from Southampton to the point where it sunk?
8.       If the ship traveled about 2,750 miles over those days, how many miles per day did it travel, on average?  How many miles per hour did it travel, on average?  Show your work.
9.       Icebergs typically flowed down from Greenland and Baffin Island through a specific sea before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.  Identify the name of this sea.
10.   What type of base map is used for this map?  Why was it chosen?
11.   Observe the pie charts for the First, Second, and Third Class in terms of the mortality rate on the Titanic.  Where were your chances of survival the best?  Where were your chances the worst?  Why?   Do some outside research if you need to.
12.   Make 3 observations about the spatial pattern of the passengers on the Titanic.
13.   Make 1 observation about the differences between the spatial pattern of the First Class, Second Class, and Third Class passengers. Why do you think these differences existed?
14.   You can see that not all of the passengers were from Europe and North America.  How many continents were represented as the “home continent” of the passengers on the Titanic?
15.   Which three countries would you say were the most represented by passengers in terms of their homes on the Titanic?
16.   From which country in Scandinavia would you say was the most represented by passengers on the Titanic?
17.   What was the home town of the passengers who were from the farthest west in the USA on the Titanic?
18.   Identify the 3 people on the ship from Madrid, Spain.  How many lived, and how many died of these 3 passengers?
19.   How many passengers on the ship were from India?
20.   How has this story map and the geographic perspective helped you understand the history and geography of the Titanic?  If time permits, give a short presentation to your classmates about the geography and history of the Titanic using this story map.

About the Author
I believe that spatial thinking can transform education and society through the application of Geographic Information Systems for instruction, research, administration, and policy. I hold 3 degrees in Geography, have served at NOAA, the US Census Bureau, and USGS as a cartographer and geographer, and teach a variety of F2F (Face to Face) (including T3G) and online courses. I have authored a variety of books and textbooks about the environment, STEM, GIS, and education. These include "Interpreting Our World", "Essentials of the Environment", "Tribal GIS", "The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data", "International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning with GIS In Secondary Education", "Spatial Mathematics" and others. I write for 2 blogs, 2 monthly podcasts, and a variety of journals, and have created over 5,000 videos on the Our Earth YouTube channel. Yet, as time passes, the more I realize my own limitations and that this is a lifelong learning endeavor and thus I actively seek mentors and collaborators.