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Growth of a City Online Lesson
An online lesson examining the growth of a California city. 

1923 Beverly Hills

1932 Photograph

Link to Beverly Hills Map

Other Cities Aerial Views

Other Images of Beverly Hills

Go To Teacher Lesson Plans

Similar Beverly Hills aerial photographs taken in 1923 and 1932 allow a student to examine the effects of rapid growth of a region. Students will predict changes to the city over time then compare their predictions with the progress of the city.


  • Make hypotheses and test them against data
  • Examine photographs to assess changes over time

Student Task:

Students will define needs for city planning. They will define the needs of a city then examine later photographs of the city to determine if those needs were met.

Time required: Two 45 minute class periods

Grade Level: 4, 8, 11

Lesson connections and Standards References:
California Department of Education

  • History—Social Science Standards:

  • Historical and Social Sciences Analysis Skills
    Kindergarten through Grade Five

    Chronological and Spatial Thinking:

    3, 4
    Research, Evidence, and Point of View:
    Historical Interpretation:

Subject Areas: History-Social Science, Language Arts, Technology

Resources Used:

Department of Transportation
California State Archives
UCLA Geography Airphoto Archives

Materials and Preparation: Before class begins, download and print the following materials:

  1. Discuss and list with the class the needs of city planning. Discuss options for the various needs. Some possible needs: Housing, Public Transportation, Roads, Schools, Shopping, Industry/Manufacturing, Parks, Utilities.
  2. Give students a copy of the 1923 Photograph. Instruct students to examine the photograph to see if any of the listed needs have been met or if they can't be determined from the photograph.
  3. On the copy of the 1923 Photograph, have students draw where they would put facilities to meet the needs they have listed.
  4. Show students the 1932 Photograph and have them compare the resulting development with their plans. Note the areas on the top left of the photo shows some undeveloped land and that many lots along the major boulevards have not been used. Ask students how they would plan for the use of these lots to meet the needs of the community. How would they use the open space at the top of the photograph?

Evaluation Criteria:

  1. Thoroughness of plans for undeveloped area
  2. Participation in class discussion
  1. Have students go to Other Photos of Beverly Hills to see other views. Look at the 1952 Photo to see how most of the land was built used. Have students compare this photo with their predictions of how open space and undeveloped lots were used.
  2. Read History of Beverly Hills and compare information given with the 1923 Photograph and 1932 Photograph. On the photos, try to locate points mentioned in the text.
  3. Examine a map of the city where your school is located (link to Mapquest.com or Yahoo! Maps). Look for areas available for development. Consider what possible needs those areas might meet.
  4. Interview people who have lived a long time in your community to see how different areas have changed over time.
  5. Using the needs established earlier in the lesson, evaluate your area's planning to see if those needs have been met. If not, try to establish why.
  6. If open space is available in your community, discuss its best use according to the needs established earlier.
  7. Go to City of Beverly Hills web site to get further information to determine how well the community has met the needs for community planning discussed in the first class session.

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