The Animated Atlas products place events in American history in context. They illustrate history by animating maps. "Growth of a Nation," a free movie on this site, and the enhanced version, for sale on CD-ROM, are interactive.
        The classroom videos also animate maps, which, along with more traditional material, tell the stories of specific periods like the Revolutionary War. Resources for each of the four videos are provided for student use on this site. Go to distributors for additional information and purchase.

  Growth of a Nation
    This free ten minute interactive movie is a geographic history of the United States. It visualizes the admission of all the states and the development of the territories, intercut with major historical events. The intention is to provide students with a visual frame-of-reference within which to place events in the history of the United States.  
  • The narration is available in the American History Resources on the home page.
  • Guide to using the movie in a U.S. history class.
  • Guide to using the movie at home.
  • List of events in the movie.
  • A Teacher's Guide for use in a classroom.
  • Growth and SMART Boards.

  Growth of a Nation enhanced
    Growth of a Nation enhanced provides an additional layer of population changes. Both versions are linked to historical timelines: by decade in the free version and by year in the enhanced version. The enhanced version has 149 short essays on the Presidents, society and Native Americans.
  • NEW! A Preview of the enhanced version, with the population and timeline layers in addition to U.S. History, is available from 1789 to 1810. This free trial run can be used in the classroom to cover the first twenty years of the nation.

  Classroom Videos
    The four videos are designed to fit curricular requirements for the classroom. Links to the distributors for purchase are on the main page for each video, accessible by clicking the appropriate image on the home page. Teacher's guides come with the videos. Additional resources are available on the main page for each video.
  • Guide to using a video in a U.S. history class.
  • Guide to using the resources.
  • Clips. Our primary distributor, Discovery Education, provides a package of 23,000 clips from over 3,300 videos, as well as audio and image files, which can be streamed from the internet or loaded onto a school hard drive for local area network access. For more information on this innovative use of multimedia, which includes all the Animated Atlas videos, go to www.PowerMediaPlus.com.
        Discovery Education provides extensive capacity to stream media into the classroom. For more information, go to their web site: streaming.discoveryeducation.com.

  NCSS 2002 Conference Session
    This is the synopsis for a presentation at the National Council of the Social Studies conference at Phoenix, Arizona in 2002. Titled "Map Animation Visualizes History through Geography," it describes various aspects of the Animated Atlas approach to teaching history in the classroom. Go to the synopsis.


The Material

Using Growth of a Nation in the classroom
    The movie can be streamed from the internet or from the CD-ROM "Growth of a Nation enhanced."
  • The timeline pointer can be dragged to any year of the timeline to see the political geography of the nation in that year.
  • The instructor can play the movie, as a whole or in the three parts, as an overview of U.S. history, before, during, or after more detailed study.
        Part I: Completion of Territory (1789 to 1853).
        Part II: The Civil War (1853 to 1865).
        Part III: Post Civil War (1865 to 1959)
    As the movie progresses, a time line pointer moves along the time line at the bottom of the frame, indicating the approximate date of the event occuring. The event is indicated above the pointer. (The events are listed below.)
  • Short sections can be played by dragging the time line pointer to the approximate date and then fine tuning the pointer until the name of the event wanted shows up above the time line. (Release the mouse for the movie to jump to the new date with the event name.) Click PLAY to start the section and pause when the section is over.
        If the movie is paused within an event, hitting play will replay that event. If the movie is paused at the beginning of the next event (just after the event text changes), then clicking PLAY will play that new event.
  • At any time during play the movie can be paused and the instructor can make comments or there can be a discussion. Click PLAY to continue from the beginning of the event.
  • Interactive features are always on, even during play. Click a state for a closer view, or click geographic features or a territory for the name.
  • By dragging the time line pointer to the right side (after 1959) and releasing, the complete United States is seen as it is today. This is the version of the country students are used to. The states can be learned by rolling over a state to show it's name, or clicked for a closer view with the capital and major cities. The boundaries of the state are blue for river boundaries, and brown for land boundaries.
  • When a state is seen closer, the perspective is with the state as the center. A nice lesson is to indicate a river, e.g. the Mississippi, as the boundary for a number of states, and then show this on the full map. The rivers are a major key for remembering the states and their positions.
Growth of a Nation enhanced
    The version on the CD-ROM (for sale for $19.95 elsewhere on this site), titled "Growth of a Nation enhanced," provides further capabilities.
  • With the movie stopped at any year, click "Population" in the small window in the upper left corner, to display the disposition of people in that year. The density by county is indicated by a light tan color, and important cities are shown as orange cylinders. Roll over a city for its name; click it for the population in that decade.
        The density of slaves is indicated in red, and the location of Native American tribes by the name in yellow with the original range seen when the name is rolled over. All this data is selectable with a settings panel.
        This Population layer can be "played" without narration to animated the changes in population. The transformation of the tribes into reservations is animated.
  • Eight migration movies, short clips of one or two minutes with narration, animate the movements of people until 1850. These movies can be invoked in several ways, and are always seen in the context of the larger population map.
  • A third layer is available by clicking "Timeline" in the small window. This comes up at the year in question; historic events at that time are shown on a series of horizontal bars, which indicate events in culture, science, world, domestic, presidents, territories and states. The presidents, domestic events, and Native American events have short essays summarizing them.
  • For more information on the expanded version, go to the Instructions which come with the CD-ROM.
  • NEW! A Preview of the enhanced version, with the population and timeline layers in addition to U.S. History, is available from 1789 to 1810. This free trial run can be used in the classroom to cover the first twenty years of the nation.

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Using Growth of a Nation at home
    The most valuable use of the movie is for students to become familiar with the overall geographic changes in the history of the United States. They can do this on their own time, by accessing the web site at home or at a library. The ability to change dates by moving the time line pointer enables the student to actually "grasp" history and move it around.
  • The states can be reviewed in several ways. The name of the state pops up when the mouse rolls over it. Click the mouse for a closer but still bite-sized view of the state, with a few major cities and a sense of the borders.
  • Likewise history can be explored in greater detail. Click a decade in the time line to go to an expanded time line.
      The expanded time has the following parallel layors:
    • States. The events in the movie are indicated, particularly the admission of states.
    • Territories. The entry and changes in territories and possessions are indicated.
    • Presidents. The terms of all the Presidents are shown, with small portraits of each individual.
    • Society. Some sense of the life of the people is glimpsed, including labor advances.
    • Native American. Major changes in the treatment of the Native Americans are sketched.
    • World. Very important, a sense of parallel events in the history of other nations is indicated.
    • Science. Advances in technology and science world-wide are indicated.
    • Culture. Major cultural achievements world-wide are indicated.
  • An important use for this interactive movie is to provide the student with an audio-visual overview of U.S. history which is also a gateway into the internet. This feature is rudimentary at this time. Two events, the Mexican War and World War I, can be clicked to go the the resources for those two periods, also accessible from the main pages for the videos on those periods. This is a large project, but important, as it would provide a way to search for material from the web not from a list of sites but from an overview of history itself.

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List of events
    These are the events covered in "Growth of a Nation." They are in the order of presentation, which sometimes departs slightly from the chronology. At this time two of the events can be clicked to go to resources for that event. The final, 20th century events are available to be clicked but are not depicted in the movie.
  1. - 1783 - Peace Treaty of 1783
  2. - 1791 - Vermont Admitted
  3. - 1792 - Kentucky Admitted
  4. - 1796 - Tennessee Admitted
  5. - 1803 - Ohio Admitted
  6. - 1803 - Lousiana Territory Purchased
  7. - 1812 - Lousiana Admitted
  8. - 1812 - War of 1812
  9. - 1816 - Indiana Admitted
  10. - 1817 - Mississippi Admitted
  11. - 1818 - Illinois Admitted
  12. - 1819 - Alabama Admitted
  13. - 1820 - Maine Admitted
  14. - 1821 - Missouri Admitted
  15. - 1820-1850 - Slavery
  16. - 1820 - Missouri Compromise
  17. - 1818 - Treaty with Britian
  18. - 1819 - Treaty with Spain
  19. - 1810-1824 - Latin American Revolutions
  20. - 1821 - Mexican Independence
  21. - 1821-1836 - Texas Growth
  22. - 1820-1840 - Indian Territory
  23. - 1836 - Arkansas Admitted
  24. - 1837 - Michigan Admitted
  25. - 1840-1860 - Oregon Trail
  26. - 1845 - Florida Admitted
  27. - 1845 - Texas Admitted
  28. - 1846-1848 - Mexican War Go to resources
  29. - 1848 - Mexican Cession
  30. - 1846 - Oregon Territory
  31. - 1846-1847 - Mormon Trek
  32. - 1846 - Iowa Admitted
  33. - 1848 - Wisconsin Admitted
  34. - 1850 - California Admitted
  35. - 1853 - Gadsden Purchase
  36. - 1858 - Minnisota Admitted
  37. - 1859 - Oregon Admitted
  38. - 1850-1860 - Territories
  39. - 1861 - Kansas Admitted
  40. - 1860 - Slavery
  41. - 1861-1865 - Confederacy
  42. - 1861 - Border States
  43. - 1863 - West Virginia Admitted
  44. - 1861-1865 - Civil War
  45. - 1866-1870 - Readmission
  46. - 1861-1865 - Territories
  47. - 1864 - Nevada Admitted
  48. - 1867 - Nebraska Admitted
  49. - 1867 - Alaska Purchase
  50. - 1876 - Colorado Admitted
  51. - 1817-1890 - Indian Wars
  52. - 1889 - North Dakota Admitted
  53. - 1889 - South Dakota Admitted
  54. - 1889 - Montana Admitted
  55. - 1889 - Washington Admitted
  56. - 1890 - Idaho Admitted
  57. - 1890 - Wyoming Admitted
  58. - 1896 - Utah Admitted
  59. - 1865-1910 - Economic Growth
  60. - 1898 - Spanish-American War
  61. - 1898 - Hawaii Annexed
  62. - 1907 - Oklahoma Admitted
  63. - 1912 - New Mexico Admitted
  64. - 1912 - Arizona Admitted
  65. - 1959 - Alaska Admitted
  66. - 1959 - Hawaii Admitted
  67. - 1914-1918 - World War I Go to resources
  68. - 1921-1939 - Rise of Fascism
  69. - 1939-1945 - World War II
  70. - 1945-1990 - Cold War
  71. - 1990- ? - Post Cold War

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SMART Boards and Growth of a Nation

The following excerpt from the web illustrates the use of Growth with SMART Boards. (From www.teacherslovesmartboards.com)

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Using a video in the classroom
    The video can be screened before or after the material is covered in lecture, as with other curricular videos. They can be played in sections. Outlines of the contents of the videos are in the teacher's guide that comes with each video, along with activities, etc.
  • The narration for the video and a glossary of terms for the period covered are in the resouces on the main page for each video.

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Using the resources
    The resources are designed to be used by the student at home or in the library to explore further into the content of the period portrayed. Resources for all of American history are on the home page, including access to the American History Timeline. There are five sections of resources:
  • There is a brief introduction to the period which is useful if the resources are accessed from "Growth of a Nation."
  • The narration of the video is available to review the content of the video.
  • The glossary from the Teacher's Guide sold with each video is reprinted for each video.
  • A gateway is provided to web sites related to the period and people in the video. The web sites are organized.
  • Primary sources for the period are available.

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Copyright 2002 by Peter Mays

All Rights Reserved