U.S. states/Virginia/Geography

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Virginia and it's five regions

Most geographers divide Virginia into five regions, creating a sturdy starting point for a first unit. The five recognized regions are named:

  • Coastal Plain (Tidewater)
  • Piedmont
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Valley and Ridge
  • Appalachian Plateau

An excellent summary of each of the region's features would go along the lines of the fact that the Coastal Plain region is mostly flat and fairly wet, and includes the Eastern Shore and is located east of the fall line (Natural Border between Tidewater and Piedmont where waterfalls prevent further travel on the river), which can simply be introduced as a part of Virginia separated from the mainland by the Chesapeake Bay. The Piedmont has many rolling hills, and in French means "Foot of the Mountains", and is east of the fall line.

The Blue Ridge Mountains consist of old, rounded mountains that appear blue from a distance, hence the name "Blue Ridge Mountains". The Blue Ridge Mountains is part of the Appalachian Mountain System, and is a source of many rivers. The Valley and Ridge region is made up of many ups and downs, or simply, valleys and ridges, and is also part of the Appalachian Mountain System. Finally, the Appalachian Plateau is relatively flat and raised.

After a short summary, a short preview project might be interesting, or you could simply continue with the lesson. A few project ideas are:

  • Having students study maps and compare regions with a chart
  • Showing scenes from each region and having students create their own scenes
  • Noting the geography around the school and determining it's regional area
  • A mixture of these

A second lesson might include industries of each region. Here, a video would be adequate. If you are unable to find a fitting video, a map or chart would work. You could have students watch the video or study the graph or chart while taking notes, or simply watch the video or observe the chart or graph to gain a basic idea of regional industries. A simple table of Virginian Industries should at minimum reflect the one below.

  • Tidewater: Shipbuilding
  • Piedmont: Agriculture, Electronics
  • Blue Ridge Mountains: Apples
  • Valley and Ridge: Poultry
  • Appalachian Plateau: Coal Mining

This being done, some exercises and sheets would work well for the last couple of days of the unit. Questions should be moderately challenging, and ensure the student knows the necessary information. Soon, the class should then do a final project, for which several ideas are listed below:

  • Make a relief map of Virginia, labeling the regions
  • Draw a picture of each region, including industries, geographical landmarks, and others
  • Write a paragraph about how each region is different

This should mostly conclude a geography unit, although review may be mandatory in later months.

See also: U.S. states/Virginia/Geography/Water Features