Category Archives: Visual Thinking

Can We Challenge Students to Create a Profound Graphic for this Complex History?

Charles Joseph Minard’s Napoleon Map

Once students get to know the historic complexity of the Underground Railroad in Connecticut, can they make meaningful displays of their learning to share this history? In the meantime, can we begin to collect and curate great displays of information for inspiration? Please add design models in this comment thread.

Connecticut’s own Edward Tufte ranks the Minard map as one of the “best statistical graphic” displays ever drawn ( Can we ask students to reflect on Tufte’s standards of graphical excellence and attempt to include dimensions of data within their displays? Click here and start at minute 26 of this presentation to hear Tufte’s appreciation for this “beautiful” display. Note major insights about how a display should resemble analytical thinking skills and show a comparison as well as causalities. Minard animates the third principle of showing multivariate data by showing six dimensions of data with clarity about what happened to the soldiers. Tufte then explains the fourth grand principal about design is that the designer uses a “whatever it takes” mindset for presenting content in the display. Tufte then concludes around minute 36 with a celebration of Minard’s impressive anti-war content implicitly built into his “beautiful” design.

What other ways can students share what they learn?

Click here to learn more about Edward Tufte: