United States History to 1865
The student will use maps, globes, photographs, pictures, or tables to
- a) locate the seven continents and five oceans;
- b) locate and describe the location of the geographic regions of North America: Coastal Plain, Appalachian Mountains, Canadian Shield, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Basin and Range, and Coastal Range;
- c) locate and identify the water features important to the early history of the United States: Great Lakes, Mississippi River, Missouri River, Ohio River, Columbia River, Colorado River, Rio Grande, St. Lawrence River, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico;
- d) recognize key geographic features on maps, diagrams, and/or photographs.
SUGGESTED INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
- Have students assess their knowledge of the geography of the United States. Challenge them to draw from memory the outline of the United States (cover all maps in the classroom) and label the following features on their map:
- The Appalachian Highlands
- The Rocky Mountains
- The Great Lakes
- The Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Columbia, and Colorado rivers, and the Rio Grande
- The Great Plains
- The Gulf of Mexico.
- Many students will struggle to remember the location of these features. After the exercise is complete, review the U.S. map with students, focusing on the above features. Another option for this activity would be to let students work in pairs to label the features.
- Explain to the students that geographic regions are locations with distinctive characteristics.
- Print a copy of the geographic regions map of the United States for each student found at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/.../va_regions_counties_map.pdf.
- Have the students create and complete two-column note sheets as each of the 8 regions are presented in class to the students.
- Introduce the region of the Coastal Plain and locate it on the map. Explain that it is located along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The broad lowland provides many excellent harbors.
- Introduce the region of the Appalachian Mountains and locate it on the map. Explain that it is located west of the Coastal Plain extending from eastern Canada to western Alabama. The region contains old, eroded mountains that are the oldest mountain range in North America.
- Introduce the region of the Canadian Shield and locate it on the map. Explain that it is wrapped around the Hudson Bay in a horseshoe shape and contains hills worn by erosion and hundreds of lakes carved by glaciers. The Canadian Shield holds some of the oldest rock formations in North America.
- Introduce the region of the Interior Lowlands and locate it on the map. Explain that it is located west of the Appalachian Mountains and east of the Great Plains. It contains rolling flatlands with many river valleys and grassy hills.
- Introduce the region of the Great Plains and locate it on the map. Explain that it is located west of the Interior Lowlands and east of the Rocky Mountains. It contains flat land that gradually increases in elevation westward and has grasslands.
- Introduce the region of the Rocky Mountains and locate it on the map. Explain that it is located west of the Great Plains and east of the Basin and Range. It contains mountains stretching from Alaska to Mexico with high elevations. This region contains the Continental Divide, which determines the directional flow of rivers.
- Introduce the region of the Basin and Range and locate it on the map. Explain that it is located west of the Rocky Mountains and east of the Sierra Nevadas and Cascades. It is made up of areas with varying elevations that contain isolated mountain ranges and Death Valley, which is the lowest point in North America.
- Introduce the region of the Coastal Range and locate it on the map. Explain that it is rugged mountains along the Pacific Coast from California to Canada. The area contains fertile valleys.
- Have the students complete the "Travel T-Shirts" worksheet. Students should create a logo and a slogan using the 8 region descriptions as noted in the above content information. For the "Travel T-Shirts" worksheet, CLICK HERE.
- Have the students complete the "Where Shall I Go?" worksheet to reinforce the concepts. For the "Where Shall I Go?" worksheet, CLICK HERE.
Variety of world and United States maps from National Geographic
Interactive maps from National Geographic
Maps, activities and quizzes, including information on continents, oceans, regions of North America, and latitude/longitude