Teaching Students U.S. Culture and History, State by State

3 min read

| By Elizabeth Mohn |

Each state and territory in the United States has a unique history and culture that contribute to the larger American national identity. By encouraging students to learn about the country’s 50 individual states, teachers can help students learn more about the country as a whole. Gale In Context: Elementary has newly updated entries about all 50 states to help teachers and students better understand the individual states and the entire country.

Teachers can allow students to browse through the entries of all 50 states so they can access the state and topics that most interest them. Teachers may also encourage students’ exploration by suggesting specific states and reasons for learning about them. For example, teachers could have students browse the entry for the state they live in or most want to visit in the future. If a class plans to review all 50 state entries, teachers could encourage students to review the states in a particular order, such as youngest (Hawaii) to oldest (Delaware).

Teachers may also assign students specific states to research and allow them to access the many resources linked to each state’s portal. To engage interest and learning, teachers can ask students to read the Quick Facts about a state before moving on to reading the entire entry. For example, students reading the Quick Facts about Pennsylvania will learn that it was the second state to join the United States. Then teachers could encourage students to read a state’s full entry to learn about its symbols, geography, history, climate, resources, famous people, and more. 

Students who want to learn more about a state can also browse the additional resources, and teachers can promote students’ learning by asking them to identify and explore resources that capture their interests. For example, students reading about Georgia may be interested in learning about famous people from the state and can access the linked biography of politician Stacey Abrams to learn about someone currently making headlines in the state. Students reading about Washington State may be interested in knowing more about the area’s history and can access the Chinook portal in the Related Topics section to learn additional information about people who lived in the region before Europeans settled there.

Students who are visual learners or want to know a few facts about all the states could benefit from accessing Gale In Context: Elementary’s newly designed infographics for each state. The eye-catching graphics list state symbols, such as the state bird, state tree, and state stone. Teachers can have students who are interested look through the images that each state entry includes, such as the state’s map, flag, and seal.

About the Author

Elizabeth Mohn is a writer and an educational content developer. When she’s not reading or writing, Elizabeth is usually spending time with her family, listening to podcasts, or working in her garden.

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