Teaching United States geography is part of almost every social studies scope and sequence for schools in the United Sates. But it can be difficult teaching about states and regions of the United States that you do not live in. And – taking field trips to all.the.places is out of the question. These teaching ideas and resources will make the regions of the United States something your students won’t soon forget.
Tips for Teaching United States Geography
Tip #1: Take Virtual Field Trips
Since taking field trips all over the United States isn’t a possibility, use the power of technology to take virtual field trips. As you study a region or state take a few minutes to see if you can find a video about that location. Here’s some tips for places to search for as you look for video:
- Major Landmarks or Attractions
- State Parks or National Parks
- Key Cities or Capitols
Our students have grown up in a very visual world, and there’s no better way to help them get a full understanding of a place or event than with video.
Tip #2: Learning with the Senses
The virtual field trips helps to connect our students with the visual aspect of a place, but there’s so much more that goes into experiencing a place. You can help students get the full picture of a place by using all of the senses. Play some regional music, eat some regional food or even play a regional game or learn a regional dance. We have such a unique and diverse country that you can find special regional touches for every region or state in the nation.
Tip #3: Student Created Journal
Have students create a U.S. journal or passport to document all the things they learn. Document each region with a map, key facts, pictures and facts about landmarks, and notes related to any activities you do. You can find lots of these things online, or save time and look at this U.S. Regions Bundle that I put together for you.
This U.S. Regions bundle includes everything you need to make an interactive notebook with your students. Each regional set includes maps of the regions and each state and a place to document key facts.
In addition to maps, each resource pack includes a variety of foldable activities to help your students learn important information about the region and each state. There’s also a matching game that students can play to help them learn to identify each state and capitol.
You also get pre-made quizzes and tests to help assess what students have learned.
The resources in this U.S. Regions Bundle will help you create a great learning tool for your students. You can add these maps and activities to an already established social studies notebook or create a U.S. Geography Travel Journal or Passport just for this topic.
Tip 4: Make Personal Connections
Our students always learn more where there is a personal connection. So create a personal connections map on a bulletin board. Have students mark states where a friend or relative lives. See if you can make a class connection with all 50 states!
Tip 5: Connect Literature
You can learn a lot about a place, the people and the culture through literature and movies. Connect your social studies and geography lessons to your language arts lessons with a novel study that takes place in the location you are learning about.
Looking for More Social Studies Resources?
Check out these teaching ideas for your social studies classroom.
- Fun Social Studies Activities
- Using Interactive Notebooks in Social Studies
- Geography Resources for Upper Elementary
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