On the Historical Census Browser, select a single Virginia county from the 1790 census and follow its population growth - or decline. NOTE: these population statistics may reflect something other than demographic shifts - county boundaries changed throughout the years, especially as cities annexed areas.
Using the Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer, determine if any county includes land on both sides of the crest of the Blue Ridge. Compare the use of the Rappahannock/York/James rivers vs. the New/Shenandoah rivers to mark the edges of counties. Why would you think straight survey lines were used more often to mark the boundaries of some counties, but not others? Find the southwestern boundary of Shenandoah County and, using a ruler, extend it across the crest of the Blue Ridge to the eastern side. You're at the headwaters of what river, marking the southwestern edge of what colonial grant?
Watch "Roanoke" on GMU-TV streaming video.
Select the nearest elementary and high school to your house, or a pair of schools with which you are familiar. Compare and contrast:
- how close is your house to the closest public elementary vs. high school?
- how easy could you walk or bike to the elementary vs. high school?
- is your house typical or unusual? how many residences are within easy walking/biking distance to the elementary vs. high school?
- for students who live within 1/4 mile of the elementary and high schools, what percentage do you think could walk/bike safely all the way from home to school?
- compare the parking lots for the elementary vs. high school: what percentage (roughly) is dedicated to cars the elementary vs. high school
- if you were on a team with the superintendent for the school system and the principals for the elementary and high schools, plus the mayor/chair of the county supervisors, how could you improve access for pedestrians and bikers? Is it a hopeless exercise and those facilities will always require cars/buses for student access, and all the talk about healthy exercise and reducing carbon footprints is not feasible for schools... or are there at least some small steps that you could take?
- if the elementary and high school were blasted completely by a tornado next week, would you rebuild in the same location... or would you relocate those educational facilities? Why would you use the same location, or why would you move?