Geography Quest: Western United States

All aboard the HSM Express! Join us as we take a quick tour of the United States. Expect to learn a little geography, history, social studies, and more. Definitely plan on having tons of fun. 

……

Summer_GeographyLet us continue on with our trip around the United States. This week, we find ourselves in the Western United States: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Whew! We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

As before, we are going to start off our adventure with some handy-dandy coloring pages for each state. This will give the littles something to work on while we learn about each state’s topography. You can find coloring pages HERE:

Nevada Coloring Page

Now that we have learned a little about what each state looks like, let’s take a few minutes to discover a tad more. (Please note: This is meant to be short, sweet, and as fun as possible; not long and arduous. Choose which areas to cover with care, noting which events can be accompanied by activities.)

Montana
Gold Rush
3-7-77
Pompey’s Pillar

Idaho
Ghost Towns
Gold Rush

Wyoming
Women’s Right to Vote
Yellowstone
Buffalo Bill Cody

Nevada
The First Transcontinental Railroad
The Comstock Lode
Area 51/State Route 375

Utah
The Mormons

Colorado
Pike’s Peak
Ancient Pueblo Peoples
“America the Beautiful”
Royal Gorge Bridge

Arizona
The Seven Cities of Cibola
Geronimo
Original London Bridge

New Mexico
The Palace of the Governors
Adobe/Bricks
International Hot Air Balloon Festival
First Atomic Bomb

What do all of these states have in common? Gold! Each of these states saw their own ‘gold rush’, experiencing a huge influx of people and the resulting ghost towns. It seems only right that our journey begin with gold. This is the perfect time to discus the seven cities of Cibola.

The west was one wild place and often it was filled with violence. This is a great opportunity to discuss 3-7-77! Do you think what these men did was right? How big is 3-7-77? When next visiting the beach, consider digging a hole this large to see how long it would take.

A lot history concerning the west centers on travel. There are several famous trails to the west, explorers who helped map out the west, and indians who attempted to defend their territories. Map out each of these journeys and the indian territories; discuss the affect the westward move had on the indian peoples. Build your own Transcontinental Railroad using model trains or Legos; then have some fun.

Not all adventures take place on the ground. Learn a little about architecture and discuss the Royal Gorge Bridge; try building a suspension bridge of your own! Learn about the science of hot air balloons and then attend an air balloon festival. If you’re feeling really adventurous, discuss Area 51. (This might be a good opportunity for theological conversations with older children about what these ‘visions’ are that people are seeing. Is it possible for aliens to actually exist? If not aliens, what could these possible unknown creatures be?)

Looking for more activity ideas? Build adobe bricks and discuss the pueblo peoples. Building adobe bricks is easy and simple to do!

I don’t know about you, but, after all this fun, I need a snack! I know just the thing… Chile Verde Enchiladas. Recreate the “Whole Enchilada Festival” held annually in New Mexico by having a festival of your own. Make different types of enchiladas and sample them. Which do you like best? Not sure how to make enchiladas? Here are few recipes to try:

All Recipes.com

Enjoying a snack is the perfect way to end the lesson. It leaves a sweet (or in this case, savory) taste in your mouth! Don’t forget to stamp your passport book with this week’s states.

Time to Chime In: Do you make enchiladas? Which are your favorite? Share the recipe with us, so we can make some, too!

Help us Out: For added fun, we are trying to collect a postcard from each of the fifty states! If you, or someone you know, lives in one of these five states; would you consider mailing us a quick postcard? Email us for the address and, as an added bonus, we’ll mail one back to you!

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