The Geography of American Communities
Map 18 - Metropolitan Los Angeles, 1979
Grades 9-12 Lesson Plan - Mapping Los Angeles over Time  Map 18 Main Page 

Core Map B: "Los Angeles and Vicinity" from Los Angeles Recreation and Freeway Map. [Chicago]: Rand McNally & Co., [1979]. 1979 by RMC, R.L.03-S-87. (Printable PDF version of Core Map B)

Resources related to Map 18.
Curator's Notes for Map 18

This lesson has students develop a multicultural chronology of Los Angeles.

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. develop a chronology of the Los Angeles area.
  2. identify multicultural elements in the history of Los Angeles.

Key Terms

computer image, overhead, and printed copies of the core map B, List of Los Angeles Attractions, textbooks, encyclopedia, access to computers for online research if possible

Approximately 2-3 class sessions (60-90 minutes)

Getting Started

  1. Have students access the core map and survey the locations of various attractions plotted on the map.
  2. Explain that the lesson involves students creating a chronology of Los Angeles using the tourist attractions listed on the map (provided here in the List of Los Angeles Attractions).
Developing the Lesson
  1. Group students in pairs and have each pair divide a sheet of paper into three columns. They should title their papers, "Chronology of Los Angeles," and write "Date" at the top of the left column, "Event" at the top of the middle column, and "Attraction" at the top of the right column. Give each group a copy of the List of Los Angeles Attractions.

  2. Direct students to attraction number 17 on the map, "LaBrea Tar Pits," and locate the date Ice Age on the description of this attraction on the List of Los Angeles Attractions. On their chronologies, instruct students to write "Ice Age" in the Date column. In the Event column, have them write "La Brea Tar Pits - quagmire where prehistoric animals were trapped and died." Have students write "LaBrea Tar Pits (17) in the Attraction column to indicate where they got the information. Explain that this is the format they should follow for completing the chronology.

  3. Query students as to the next earliest date on the map. They should identify 1771 in the description of attraction 41, Mission San Gabriel Archangel. Instruct students that this is their next entry: 1771 [in the date column], Franciscan padres select site to build mission [in the description column], and Mission San Gabriel Archangel (41) [in attraction column]. Query students as to country of origin of the Franciscans and identify Spain as the answer.

  4. Have students research the next date on their own. (This should be 1781 and founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles de Porciuncula, known today simply as Los Angeles, number 4). Explain that not all attractions have dates but that information pertinent to the entry may be added.

  5. Direct students to attractions 4, 10, and 43. Query students as to where information on the early city should go in the chronology. Have them add Olvera Street (number 10) and the historic buildings information (number 4) to their list. You may want to remind students to leave space between entries for additional information that they may find later in the lesson.

  6. Have students study the map for attractions that give clues to two major historical events in this region - Mexican independence from Spain and California cession to the U.S. Direct students to use their textbooks as a reference to find the dates for these events and add the dates to the chronology (1821 for Mexican independence and 1848 for California cession to U.S.).

  7. Direct student pairs to complete the chronology focusing on entries with dates and also on entries that have multicultural implications. Have students use textbooks and other references on-line or in print to complete entries. The completed chronology should have at least 20 entries, including at least two events each from the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s.

  8. Conclude the lesson by discussing the multicultural character of Los Angeles history. Have students locate attractions on the map when they are mentioned during the discussion.
Using a 1-4 scale (4=excellent, 3=good, 2=fair, 1=poor) assess student performance as follows.

For 4 points, the student correctly constructs a chronology with all important dates and brief, accurate descriptions of events.
For 3 points, the student correctly constructs a chronology with all but one or two important dates and brief, accurate descriptions of events.
For 2 points, the student correctly constructs a chronology with more than half of the important dates and brief, accurate descriptions of events.
For 1 point, the student did not correctly construct a chronology with important dates and brief, accurate descriptions of events.


  1. Have students produce a similar chronology for their city.
  2. Have students develop a research project based on one aspect of the chronology.
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