Southwest United States


Social Studies American History Geography of the United States Southwest United States
Students brainstorm place names that have Spanish origins. Then they learn about the physical geography of the Southwest, focusing on climate, land use, energy production, and hurricanes. Next they learn about the human geography and examine the tall tale of Pecos Bill. Finally, they prepare a travel brochure for one state in the region.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

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Here are the teacher pack items for Southwest United States:

Preview - Scene 1
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Overview

In this experience, students brainstorm place names that have Spanish origins. Then they learn about the physical geography of the Southwest, focusing on climate, land use, energy production, and hurricanes. Next they learn about the human geography and examine the tall tale of Pecos Bill. Finally, they prepare a travel brochure for one state in the region.

Estimated duration: 30–40 minutes for the core content. You may choose to spend more time on the tall tale in scene 3 or to give students more time to research and prepare their travel brochures.

Vocabulary words:

  • arid
  • drought
  • plateau
  • livestock
  • sustainable
  • solar
  • reservation
  • folklore
  • brochure

Objectives

  • Identify major physical characteristics of Southwest United States.
  • Describe human activity in the region.


Engage


The United States is often divided into geographic areas. In this experience, you will learn about the Southwest, which contains the following states: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Objectives

  • Identify major physical characteristics of Southwest United States.
  • Describe human activity in the region.


an open field of bluebonnets

Bluebonnet field in Texas


When Europeans settlers began to colonize the Americas, Spain controlled what is today the Southwest United States. Many cities and towns in the region have Spanish names. Post a place name of Spanish origin in the word cloud.

Post your answer

Sample answers: Albuquerque, El Paso, Bexar County, Hidalgo County (both Texas and New Mexico), Los Alamos, Casa Grande.

Tell students that these states also have many place names that come from Native American tribe names and words. See if they can name any. Sample answers: Texas, Waco, Tucson, Taos.


When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Geography of the United States Unit.
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