November 06, 2008

U.S. Geography Project: State Notebooks


Ever wanted to do a USA States and Regions unit study or just learn about the states with your kids throughout the year - and keep track of what you are learning? Being a 3-ring binder nut, the obvious answer for me was a "State Book". Here below are some ideas and supplies that you might want to take note of if you make your own state books:


* 3-ring binders

* dividers for the regions (New England, Mid Atlantic, Great Lakes, Midwest, Rocky Mountains, West Coast (we included Hawaii and Alaska here, too), Southwest, and Southern)

* blank paper for making a cover

* clear sheet protectors (for letters, photos, postcards)

* divider pockets (for anything we collect that won't hole-punch well)

* clear transparency paper (for making map overlays: rivers, regions, mountain ranges, explorer pathways, timezones, famous places, state parks - etc)

* a printed black and white map to go under your overlays

* a nice laminated color map (already hole punched - you can get at Wal-Mart)

* stickers (you can get state flag stickers, state seals, state birds and animals, state trees and flowers, stars to place on your worksheets if you have been to that state... etc)

* markers, pens, pencils and a hole punch



Here are a few things you can keep in your state books...

* maps and overlays (see above)

* a picture (whether by sticker or your own artwork) of each state's seal and flag (we're going to use stickers after I can find some at a decent price)

* an outline map of the USA with only the states you have been to colored in

* State Review worksheets (pictured here - I made my own)

* worksheets or articles on animals that you would find in the states/regions

* sketches of animals your children have drawn during their studies (we've been sketching animals that are found in each state right on our State Review worksheets - see above for an example)

* a blank sheet of paper for them to record books on that are related to the states in each region: (for example: The Cricket in Times Square - New York)

* blank sheet protectors for sending Flat Stanley letters or postcards to people in different states (and keeping their photos and return mail in)

* journal assignments or stories that are related to the states, or photo album pages if you have been on a trip there

* state park maps and brochures and memorabilia from your travels

* state postage stamps (my worksheets have a place for this)

* collages and lapbooking type pages - or writing assignments about state history

* a section on the Civil War (including a map overlay)

* electoral college map (include government and politics in your books!)

* agriculture information (for example: Where do certain grains, fruits, and vegetables grow? You could do an overlay or color a printed map for that. Have the kids map out where beef and dairy products come from.)

* demographical maps could be interesting, too - and population information

In conclusion, you can make these your own timeless school projects that live on through the years with your children. They can be as creative as you want, or as simple as you want. These books might never be "complete", as they can always be added to. They will surely be a treasure on your bookshelf, though... even after the kids are older, they will enjoy looking back at all they learned and collected.

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Beth said...

I really like the idea of making a "living states notebook" that's never *completely done* because we can keep on adding to it as we study, travel and learn... I think we'll do that! This will also provide a wonderful way to document our ongoing study of our home-state/TN's history.
Thanks for sharing your great ideas Heather!

JoAnn said...

Great idea! Thanks for the detailed explanation. It makes me want to do a state study and trade flat stanleys again. said...

Okay I thought I left a note and I guess I didn't!

I LOOOOVE me some Tejas! :) (And Louisiana).. since I'm from TX and hubby is from LA.. so Im glad you featured those two pages! GREAT idea, btw! :) I always find those little tidbits about states interesting.

Beverly said...

Hey - I love this! I've been trying to do an Arkansas study with my kids, but it really has not been all that interesting to them. This will brighten things up, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing! :)

Traci Best said...

We started a States Notebook back in June this year! We have had a lot of fun exploring a new state once a month or so. One of the states we studied while we were there with Daddy for work one week! That was a lot of fun to actually see the kids recognize the state flag on an actual flag pole in that state!

I have been using notebooking pages that I purchased as a set of 50 from and we love them. For each state we do a page for state bird & flower, state tree, state flag and at least one map that outlines the state capitol and other neighbor states, large neighboring bodies of water (great lakes) and the state abbreviation. My kids really seem to love it...and I know we will come back to these binders again and again as we dive deeper into our states study as they get older. (My three are 7,7 and 6).

State studies are fun!


A Dusty Frame said...

Great ideas! Thank you!

College Term Papers said...

I really admire this, I mean it really looks interesting! Very nice research.



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