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Landscape Change Project

submitted by

Christine A. Massey Perkins Geology Museum–University of Vermont
Author Profile

This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.

The Landscape Change Project works with middle and high school students to archive physical landscape change in Vermont. Students work with teachers, historical society members and town officers to collect historic images, scan these images, digitally re-photograph the shots, write historical accounts, and upload all data.

The Landscape Change Project connects students with their home landscape, their history, and their community.
GSA Poster (PowerPoint 6.7MB Oct30 03)

Learning Goals


Higher Order Thinking Skills:

Creating geologic and natural histories from images and field data.

Educating others (peers and the general public) about landscape change.

Other Skills:

Using technology (scanners, GPS units, digital cameras, web sites).

Data collection.

Conducting personal interviews with historians.


Instructional Level:

6-8, 9-12, undergraduate, informal, general public

Skills Needed:

Students should be familiar with the use of the internet. We train students and teachers in the use of equipment.

Role of Activity in a Course:

The Landscape Change Project is an integrated natural history project that teachers and students can use at multiple levels. A full instructional, month-long unit and individual "place-based" instructional lesson plans are available. Users may also simply submit (upload) historical/modern image pairs with a contextual description and geo-referencing data.

Data, Tools and Logistics

Required Tools:

The Landscape Change Project requires internet access, a scanner, a digital camera, and a GPS unit. We provide all equipment to those schools that need it. We offer training in use of the equipment and curriculum, if desired.

Logistical Challenges:

Logistical challenges include having sufficient access to equipment for an entire classroom of students to work at the same time. Students need to reoccupy sites to take modern images–some may not be able to drive to these locations.


Evaluation Goals:

Have students acquired a sense of place about their own home, their history, and their, community? Do they better understand physical landscape change and the use of technology? Can they perform a search on the archived site and come up with meaningful results for research purposes?

Evaluation Techniques:


The Perkins Geology Museum at the University of Vermont hosts the Landscape Change Project, an NSF-funded initiative to document and archive historic and modern image pairs on-line in a searchable database. We work with Vermont high schools and middle schools to integrate interdisciplinary natural history into their curricula. We bring students together with their local town officials to gather and upload pairs of photos. To date, the archive houses 370 image pairs from over 30% of Vermont towns.

Students work with local historical societies and town officials to scan historic images of the physical landscape. Students re-photograph the images, use global positioning systems to identify their locations, and write up historical accounts of the landscape change. Teachers of science, history, geography, and social studies introduce "place-based" pedagogy using Vermont and national science standards. Participants upload image pairs, latitude/longitude information, image metadata, and historical accounts on-line using templates on our web site. Perkins Museum staff review the submissions before archiving the data in the public archive.

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