Western United States


Social Studies American History Geography of the United States Western United States
Students brainstorm associations with the name “American West.” Then they learn about the physical geography of the Western United States, focusing on the landforms and their climates. Next they examine the human geography of the region. Finally, they prepare an oral report about 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.

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Here are the teacher pack items for Western United States:

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Overview

In this experience, students brainstorm associations with the name “American West.” Then they learn about the physical geography of the Western United States, focusing on the landforms and their climates. Next they examine the human geography of the region. Finally, they prepare an oral report about one state in the region.

Estimated duration: 40–60 minutes or several days, depending how much time you want to give students to research and present their oral reports. You may choose to have students prepare their reports in pairs, or split the class into two groups that listen to the individual oral reports in parallel to give every student time to present.

Vocabulary words:

  • temperate
  • drain
  • elevation
  • sea level
  • plate
  • fault line
  • temperate
  • tropical
  • species
  • biodiversity
  • descent

Objectives

  • Identify major physical characteristics of Western 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 Western region, which contains the following states: Alaska, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

Objectives

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


a red bridge spans a large expanse of water

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge


When you hear the name “American West,” what do you think of? Post a thought or connection using a single word or short phrase. To list multiple items, separate them with commas, like this: winter, Philadelphia.

Post your answer

Students may post place names or words related to sunshine and beaches, the entertainment industry, the Wild West, etc. This activity will give you a glimpse into what your students know about the West and what stereotypes they may hold about the region.


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