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Help wih Social Studies Regions



We are using a textbook that is horrible for teaching regions. I need some ideas on how I can make Social studies fun for my students. This has been one of my most difficult subjects to teach. The students don't understand what they read, you can forget about testing them. Please any help is greatly appreciated

mrs g


Probably just go state by state within each region. Each state is so
unique and has so much to offer. Maybe a group can work together to present thier state to the class. You can send for free travel guides
through tourism offices. Hope this helps.


Senior Member
One way might be . . .

One idea is to take each region in turn; you might want to begin with the NE because it was mostly settled first. Begin by looking at the geographical features. Give the students a map of the regions with a list (states, capitals, major cities, important landmarks, rivers, ocean, mountains, etc.) Using an atlas map have them label on each thing on the list. Be sure they know the characteristic that determines this region. Then take a look at the early history. There are many sites on internet to supplement this. Finally, look at how people in the region make a living today. I noticed that Harcourt's web site has a section on their Regions textbook. Probably others do to. Students could each choose a state and become an expert on their state, presenting some sort of activity on their state - perhaps a "float" for a parade, a poster, a special food to sample.

It's so much easier to teach using a good textbook, isn't it? They are just hard to find.

Teacher ken

helpful idea

This is an idea that I came up with last year. The students really enjoy it and have lots of fun. You get a set of road maps. This will will work with any state map. Break the class` into two teams. Pair each student off on a team. You post a state map on the front board. Each pair of students gets a state map. You give them the name of a city and the students have to find it on the map using the grid map letter and number for that city.I give the students 30 seconds to find it. I give a city to each team when a group on that team finds it they walk to the front of the room and ring my teacher's bell. They then have 5 sceonds to show it to me on the map. If they fail to do so the other team can steal and win the point. Here is an example using the Oklahoma Map. Team 1 find the city of Weatherford. The kids love to do this on Friday. I hope it helps you.


Senior Member

Join a post card exchange. Put an United States map on the BB and post the cards around the edge as they arrive. Use string to attach the postcard to a push pin where the card was from. I made post cards. Used a large recipe card. Put the state symbols on the front and wrote a message telling about a famous state person and a couple cool things about our state that you don't find every place. Let students help design and find facts for your post card to exchange.


a really really old idea

So old, in fact, that my 4th grade teacher used it on us...and I'm 50+! It was a great way to get us interested, practice letter writing, and learn about places. She had us write a business letter to the Chamber of Commerce of different cities. When our replies came in the mail we brought them to school and shared them with our class, putting the pictures or whatever they sent on display. Our letters explained that we were studying about their area and would like information about their city. They would send postcards, posters, info pamphlets, and all manner of things. I enjoyed getting mail so much at that age that I continued writing letters for nearly a year...until I had a big shoebox full of responses that I read over and over. I learned an enormous amount of info about the USA from this simple assignment. You could limit your letter writing to the region being studied and make sure that each student chose a different city in that region. Getting mail was so exciting at that age! I don't think that's changed, even in our computer email age today!


New Member
prior knowledge

My first thought about your issue is, are you assessing students prior knowledge? Are you asking them what they know about that region. I have found that it works best to start in the region we live in. We live in the mid-west so I start there. Start with what they know and build from that. I have found that my students really get more out of S.S. if I talk about the topic the day before using maps, non-fiction books from the library. video clips, talk about any person that might be mentioned in the readings.
For example we just started the mid-west, so I went through the chapter and made a list of topics that were covered. Corn, wheat, tornados, blizzards, John Deere, plows, ect. I then went to our library and looked for books on these subjects. I also looked up John Deere on the internet and printed off a short bio about him and a picture of the plow he invented. I then used all of this to talk to the class about these topics. If your school library is lacking try the public library. The www is great for info. It took me about 15 minutes to talk to them but now that we are into the chapter they have some idea about what we are talking about. Yes it takes time but the rewards are great.
I also make all the materials I have collected available for them to look at.
Keep your lists of materials written in your manual and they will be there for you next year.