Geography Quest: Midwest States, East North Central

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_GeographyOnce more, we find ourselves on a journey around the United States. This week, we will be taking a trip through half of the MidWest states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

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:

Wisconsin Flash Cards

Compliments of

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.)

Motor City/Ford Cars
Detroit Zoo
Michigan Post Office

Famous Textbooks (McGuffy Readers and More)
Public Service (First Fire Station/Ambulance Service)
First Airplane/Wright Brothers
Thomas Edison

“Alice in Dairyland”
Toilet Paper Capital

Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow
First Aquarium
First Skyscraper
13 Amendment

Underground Railroad
Indianapolis 500
Raggedy Ann

The MidWest states are the bread and butter of the US, literally. From the MidWest, we receive the bulk of our wheat and dairy products. Besides agricultural pursuits, the MidWest is the meeting point of both coastal regions; making these states the focal point for transportation.

Let’s start our journey learning a little more about Ford Motor Cars and Motor City. The history of this region is quite fascinating and sad, when you see the state of this area now; it has become a modern ghost town and a ghetto. This is the perfect time to learn more about cars themselves; how engines work and the advancements made since Ford’s time.

Speaking of transportation, this is a great segue into the Michigan Post Office, which still operates in sending mail to active ships at work! Wow! From here, let’s stop over in Ohio to learn a little more about the Wright Brothers and their invention; the airplane. I think we’ll take a few moments to make our own planes, either from paper or using a modeling kit.

Wisconsin fascinates me, so I think we’ll stop there next and learn more about “Alice in Dairyland”. Every year, a “Dairy Queen” is chosen. She travels the state and represents the dairy industry. Let’s host our own “Alice…” competition and pick our own Dairy Queen! Since Wisconsin happens to be the toilet paper capital of the US, maybe we will design a dress made from tp and have her model it for us!

While touring Indiana and Illinois, we turn to a more serious topic: The Underground Railroad. Let’s spend a few moments talking about slavery; the south’s belief that slavery was necessary, the north’s desire to rid themselves of this crime, and the fight to bring freedom to all. I think we’ll take some time to read through a few of our favorite books which mention the underground railroad; Addy (an American Girl book), The House of Dies Drear (a classic), and perhaps a few more.

I think it might be good to end on a lighter note. Let’s turn our attention once more to cars and the Indianapolis 500. We can dig out the bucket of Matchbox cars and get to some racing fun!

For the girls in the crowd, let’s take out our dolls and learn a little about Raggedy Ann. If you have never read the stories of Raggedy Ann, we highly recommend checking out a few on your next visit to the library. In the meantime, here is a great coloring page to help you out:

raggedy-ann-5I think it might be time for a snack. There’s nothing like the classic standby, bread and butter. So, here is where we end our journey for the week. With glass of milk in hand and a plate of toast, we happily add our stamps to our passport books.

Time to Chime In: Which book is a ‘must read’ when studying the Underground Railroad?

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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