The five regions of the United States all have many things about them that make them unique. The Midwest has 12 states and is the only region that is not bordered by a major body of water. It is known for its farming, severe weather, and its low, flat land. The Midwest has some amazing landmarks for tourists to visit, such as The Mall of America and Mount Rushmore. Let’s learn all about the Midwest region and why it is such a great place to live and visit!
The land in the Midwest is unique. Most of the Midwest is flat with small rolling hills, and there are very few trees; this is called the Central Plains. The Central Plains have extremely fertile soil. The Great Plains, which lie west of the Central Plains, are higher, drier, and rockier, and the soil is not as fertile for farming. The Black Hills of South Dakota are the hilliest part of the Great Plains and have very high peaks. The part of the Great Plains that is very dry is called the Badlands; this land has little use for farming or people, and is made up of clay and rock. The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are not the only key waterways that are important in the Midwest. North of the Midwest are the Great Lakes, which are connected to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico by rivers and canals.
The climate in the Midwest varies dramatically from state to state and throughout the year. Since the Midwest is not located near any oceans, the weather and temperature is not regulated. The summers, for instance, can be tremendously hot and humid, and the winters can be brutally cold. The precipitation in the Midwest is also extreme. Winters bring an abundance of snow and frequent blizzards and the spring and summer get a lot of rain and frequent tornadoes. Part of the Midwest region is called “Tornado Alley” because of the high number of tornadoes that occur there. People who live in this area must take extra precautions with their homes such as having strong roofs, storm cellars, and underground shelters.
The Midwest’s most important natural resource is by far its soil, and because of this, there are many farms. The Midwest consists of three main belts, or areas: the Corn Belt, the Wheat Belt, and the Dairy Belt. Crops from these belts are plentiful. Livestock is another natural resource from the Midwest, and meatpacking plants are important for the industry. Additionally, iron ore is abundant in this region. Steel mills use the ore to make steel, which is then used to mass produce automobiles and other products.
Perhaps the most popular food that the Midwest is known for is Chicago deep dish pizza. This pizza has a thick crust, tons of cheese, and chunky tomato sauce. Another food that originated in the Midwest is the coney dog; a hot dog that is topped with chili, onions, and mustard. For fun, people love to be outdoors. During the long winter months, ice fishing is extremely popular. The fishermen and women drill holes in the ice and set up a shanty, which is a small shelter, to keep them out of the wind and cold. Music is also a huge part of the Midwest culture. Rock and roll became popular in the 1950s, and the Motown style originated in Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s.
The Midwest is the home of many tourist attractions. Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota, depicts the faces of four American presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Washington. Another monument carved into the Black Hills honors Crazy Horse, a Native American chief of the Lakota tribe. This monument has not yet been finished, but the face alone is 87 feet tall! Another exciting place to visit in the Midwest is the Mall of America in Minnesota. It is the largest indoor mall in the United States and has over 520 stores, 50 restaurants, 14 movie theaters, and even an amusement park!
Our country is filled with diverse culture, land, attractions, and so much more. The regions of our country are all different in so many ways, and it is important for students to understand how and why. While studying the Midwest region, students will show what they have learned through posters, spider maps, and other creative graphic organizers. The combined use of illustrations and words allows students with different learning styles to showcase their work in unique ways. Teachers may use the provided templates, or encourage students to start from scratch, allowing for more of a challenge and differentiated approach. Teachers may also assign an extension activity where the students write a report or create a powerpoint of all their storyboards to share.