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Iowa State Research Project


The state of Iowa is located in the Midwest region of the United States. Take a deep dive into the state's history, landmarks, and more! A state research project is the perfect summative activity for any U.S. Region, Geography class, or general research unit of study. Research is an important skill for children to learn at a young age, as it exposes students to expository text, gives them practice determining important information, and enhances note taking and presentation skills.

Student Activities for Iowa State Guide Include:



All About Iowa

Date of Statehood: December 28, 1846 (29th state)

State Motto: "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain."

State Nickname: The Hawkeye State

State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

State Tree: Oak

State Flower: Wild Prairie Rose

Tourist Attractions: Maquoketa Caves State Park, The Bridges of Madison County, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, “Field of Dreams” movie site, and the West Bend Grotto.

Famous Citizens of Iowa: Johnny Carson, Shawn Johnson, Herbert Hoover, Ashton Kutcher, Kurt Warner, and John Wayne.

Capital City: Des Moines

Major Cities: Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Sioux City.

Brief History of Iowa

Native American tribes such as the Sioux inhabited Iowa long before the Europeans arrived in 1673. French fur trader Louis Joliet and Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette arrived in Iowa while exploring the Mississippi River. In 1682, French explorer Robert de La Salle claimed the region as part of the Louisiana Territory for France. Over the next hundred years, fur traders and trappers arrived in the area and traded with the local Indigenous people. The first permanent settlement, called Dubuque, was established in 1788.

In 1803, the United States bought the Louisiana Territory for 15 million dollars as part of the Louisiana Purchase. After the purchase, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent to map out the new territory. They reported that the land was excellent, and soon more and more people were settling in Iowa. There were so many people arriving that the Sauk and Fox tribes were told they would have to move to Indian Territory. Even though they fought for their land in 1832 in the Black Hawk War, they lost, and most of the Native American tribes were forced out of Iowa. In 1812, Iowa became part of the Missouri Territory, and was admitted into the Union on December 28, 1846 as the 29th state.


Students will create a historical timeline, a postcard, a spider map, and a fun facts storyboard showing what they have learned about Iowa. Creating these visuals gives the students the opportunity to show their creativity and their unique view of the state that they have researched. In addition, the combined use of words and illustrations allows students with different learning styles to show what they know in an exciting and eye catching way.


Essential Questions for Iowa

  1. What are some significant events in the history of Iowa?
  2. What are some facts and features that make Iowa unique?
  3. What are some interesting places in Iowa that people would want to visit?

Find more lesson plans and activities like these in our Social Studies Category!
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