Simple Teaching Tool using State Cards

1. Where Are You From? (all day mindset)

Let the students randomly pick one state card in the morning. For the rest of the day, that student represents that state, pretends that he's from that state, shares with others everything he knows about that state, is grouped (during group exercises) with other students of the same region, is assigned to write a one page report of new things learned about that state, or a report of what that state flag represents, etc. Do the same tomorrow.

2. Quick Lesson (20-30 minutes)

Pass out one state card per student, then have them get together in groups of 5 according to their regions. Give them about 20 minutes to organize themselves to give a short demonstration about each of their states. Tell them to stand in order of Total Population or Land Area, for example. Have the students find on a large map where their states are and share one or two new things they learned about their own state and why that's interesting.

3. State Line-Up (10-15 minutes)

Sort the state cards in order of Rank & Date of Statehood. Don't use more cards than the number of students you have (i.e. If you have 30 students, then use cards that are ranked #1 - 30). Then randomly pass out one state card per student. For the next 10 minutes, let the students organize themselves into a line based on the rank and date of statehood. After it's complete, let each student shout out the name of their state and the date it became a state. The same can be done w/ each of the six state characteristics.

4. State Scavenger Hunt (20-40 minutes)

Prepare 50 small pieces of paper with the name of one landmark of each state. You can use Capital cities, major rivers, mountain peaks, other major cities or hottest places. You should have one piece of paper for each state. Now randomly pass out the pieces of paper and also randomly pass out the state cards (some students may get 2). Allow them to "hunt" for the state that correlates with the landmark they were given by asking each other to find the landmarks on their cards. Once everyone has found their states, allow them to say out loud the landmark they were given and in which state it is found.

5. State Balderdash (15-45 minutes)

Materials Needed: 
    1. State Cards 
    2. Large wall map of the US 
    3. A healthy reward to give to the top 3 winners 

Set Up: 
    1. Gather the whole class in front of the large wall map of the United States. 
    2. Inform the students that you’ll be playing a game wherein you’ll read clues about a state and they’ll have to try and point out on the map which state you’re talking about. 
    3. Tell the students not to shout the answer, but to raise their hands. 

Play: 
    1. You start with all of the State Cards in hand. Each card provides many different clues such as major cities and rivers, highest point, capitals, population, bordering states, etc. 
    2. Slowly name off some of the clues – start with the most difficult and gradually provide easier clues. 
    3. When a student raises his/her hand, allow him/her to come up to the wall map and point out the state you’re talking about. 
    4. If the student guesses correctly, you give him/her the State Card. If the guess is incorrect, he/she must sit back down and cannot guess again until the next state. 
    5. The students can accumulate State Cards when they guess more states correctly. 
    6. You are free to stop whenever you decide. The three students with the most State Cards win the awards.