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Massachusetts State Guide | Lesson Plan

Located in the Northeast region, Massachusetts is rich in history and places to visit, from the coast to mountains. A state research project is the perfect summative activity for any U.S. Region, Geography class, or general research unit of study. Students will love learning about state landmarks, mottos, fun facts, history, and so much more! Research is an important skill for children to learn at a young age; it exposes students to expository text, gives them practice determining important information, and enhances note taking and presentation skills.

Student Activities for Massachusetts State Guide

Essential Questions for Massachusetts

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

All About Massachusetts

Date of Statehood: February 6, 1788 (6th State)

State Motto: By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.

State Nickname: The Bay State

State Bird: The Black-capped Chickadee

State Tree: The Elm

State Flower: The Mayflower

Tourist Attractions: The Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, the North End, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Fenway Park, Plimoth Plantation, Salem, and Plymouth Rock.

Famous Citizens of Massachusetts: John F. Kennedy, Dr. Seuss, Susan B. Anthony, Edgar Allen Poe, Steve Carell, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Paul Revere, and Clara Barton.

Capital City: Boston

Major Cities: Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge, New Bedford

Brief History of Massachusetts

Before the arrival of the Europeans, several Indigenous tribes inhabited what is now known as Massachusetts. Some of these tribes include the Massachusett, Wampanoag, Mohican, and the Nipmuc people. In 1497, European explorers, including John Cabot, arrived, bringing disease with them. About 90% of the Native Americans died from diseases such as smallpox. Years later in 1620, the Pilgrims arrived and settled in Plymouth. With the help of the local Indigenous people, such as Squanto, the Pilgrims survived the harsh winter. The following year, the first Thanksgiving took place in Massachusetts.

In 1692, The Salem Witch Trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts. At the time, Salem was populated mostly by Puritans, a very religious group with strict rules who believed in the devil. When people in town started acting strangely, it was believed that they were victims of witchcraft. By the end of 1693, 24 people were accused and convicted of witchcraft and were killed or jailed.

As more people began to settle in Massachusetts, the people became more independent minded and protests began. In 1764, the British passed the Stamp Act to tax colonies in order to pay for their military. Protests took place, and during one of these protests, 5 people were killed by British soldiers. This is known as the Boston Massacre. In 1773, colonists in Boston dumped crates of tea into the Boston Harbor in what is known as the Boston Tea Party. A few years later in 1775, the Revolutionary War began with the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Students will create a historical timeline, a postcard, a spider map, and a fun facts storyboard showing what they have learned about Massachusetts. 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.

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