FV #27 - Subway Visuals

Who doesn't like a good subway style map?  The simple, clean interface... the colorful lines... the visual usefulness (it's not just me here, right?).  

Today's Friday visual asks a question: What if you apply this subway-style design to other areas?  For example, what if the US Interstate system was drawn like a subway map?

click to enlarge

Pretty cool, right? How does this visual representation change how we view the vast interconnected network of roads in the USA?  Now, what if you applied this "subway method" to other, more disparate concepts, like:

All of those are pretty clever and amazing.  The Cool Infographics blog has even more examples, so check those out too.  If you are like me, it got me thinking about how I could have students make subway map visuals to help conceptualize and understand the things that they are studying.  I came up with a couple of ideas. 

  • They could create story maps that show events in the primary characters' story lines and how they intersect with each other.  Each character would be his or her own line.
  • They could make connections between grammar concepts (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc.).
  • Teachers could create a subway map syllabus that shows what's happening and how those concepts connect.
  • You could create subway map timelines.

I like the timeline idea so I took a few minutes to mock up a sample timeline that looks at some of the events surrounding WWII.  Click the image to enlarge it a bit.


I'll be honest, making the visual (I simply used PowerPoint) was really easy.  I looked at the Virginia SOLs for Social Studies as I worked on this (this activity, in part, would nail the USII.7a).  I think that if I add a couple other Allies (England and Russia) as well as Italy it could be really interesting looking.  It might have too many connections but I won't really know that until sketch it out a bit.  I would absolutely suggest that student tackle this activity on paper first before trying to make it on the computer. The whole thing could be done on paper, actually, but I think the results would be nicer using the computer.  I would expect there to be some design challenges but that would be part of the fun anyway. 

I'm really pleased with the idea of using this subway map idea with students.  Someone should give it a try and share with me the results.