Planning a Trip Across The Regions of the United States: A Geography Research Project
Are you searching for a hands-on project with student choice for your study of U.S. regions? Students select two states in each U.S. region to research, then complete a note page on their selected states. They find two places in each state to “visit,” then use a U.S. map to plan their trip route.
This research project is now included in both a pdf and Google Slides version.
An extension research page is also included. Teachers can use it to differentiate the project.
Mini-lessons for Taking & Organizing Notes and Writing a Bibliography are also included. Teachers can use these if needed or skip them.
If teachers would like to integrate social studies and language arts, the project could be extended with narrative writing by having students write a journal of their trip across the country.
Rubrics are included so teachers can easily grade projects on social studies, presentation, and narrative writing standards.
Included in this unit is:
Research page for each of the United States regions.
Research page for each of the 50 states
U.S. map to plan a trip across the country
Student project letter (uneditable)
Optional back to the state research page with spots for topics such as natural resources and climate. Teachers can use this page or leave it off, depending upon their needs/time frame.
Organizing Your Notes Mini-Lesson
Writing bibliography notes page
A student checklist
Rubrics for social studies, presentation, and narrative writing. Use one or all for different grades (each focuses on different standards.)
My goal was to make this resource as flexible as possible for teachers. The parts and pieces can be utilized in a wide variety of ways, depending upon how you plan to organize your class. A few ideas for this resource are:
1. I used it to research a trip around the United States, as my standards are to study the regions of the United States. We researched a region per week in our 30 minute center. I allowed my students to select which state in each region they wanted to visit, but I also have a printer in my room that made it easy to make copies. Teachers could assign a state or have students preselect states.
2. This could also be used to research individual states. Teachers could create a class book on the United States, with each student researching one or two states. For 4th grade teachers teaching state history, just use your state’s page.
3. Extend the research project into a writing project, having students use their research to create a narrative essay on “their trip.
4. If you have class penpals, you could use these forms to help students research information about where they live. This will help them add more detail in their letters!
Depending upon your standards, this unit could be used to cover standards for:
– state research
– US regions/geography
– nonfiction research
– writing a narrative
The time frame depends upon how the teacher chooses to organize the project and whether the extension writing ideas are used. I estimate 1 – 2 weeks.