Subject: U.S. Geography
Knowledge: Identifying state nicknames, state birds, and state flowers, connections to symbolism in literature
Skills: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Oral Communication
Grade Levels: 2-8 (Ages 7-14)
Time: 40 minutes (first time); 20-30 minutes (playing time)
Objective: Students will recall state nicknames, birds, and flowers by region as well as understand why learning this information is important.
Standards: Varies by state
Preparation: One or more boxes of GeoPlunge cards. The number of boxes will depend on the number of students playing and the number of cards being used. Use the GeoPlunge state cards only.
Use the “Introduction to GeoPlunge Cards” lesson prior to practicing with these cards. This activity may be done as a whole class or a small group.
Connection: Before playing the first time, teacher will engage students by asking probing question(s). Use any or all:
Playing the Game: We will play a game where we will learn the state symbols and nicknames. Remind students where to find the information on the GeoPlunge cards.
Create teams of 1-3 students. Two teams play against each other. If there is an odd number of teams, that team becomes the teacher helpers for the game and rotate in the next round. The objective is for each team to use clues such as state nickname, state bird, or state flower to guess the name of the GeoPlunge state held by its opponents.
Step 1: Determine who guesses first. (A fun way to do this: Say: “Whichever team has a player whose birthday is closest to today goes first.” or “Whichever team has the tallest/shortest player goes first.” or “Whichever team has a player with the longest/shortest feet/hair.” etc.) Deal each team one GeoPlunge card face down. Teams may look at their card but should NOT show their opponent.
Step 2: The first guessing team will have up to three guesses to correctly identify the state of the GeoPlunge card held by its opponent. Before each guess, the clue-giving team provides one clue: state nickname, state bird, or state flower in any order. If the guessing team cannot identify the state held by its opponent, a different second clue is given. If necessary, a different third clue is given. The clue-giving team cannot give the same clue twice.
Step 3: After the first guessing team correctly guesses the name of the state held by its opponent or has made 3 incorrect guesses, the teams switch roles with the first guessing team then providing clues regarding its state. The second guessing team does not continue to guess once it has won or lost even if it has not made all three guesses.
Step 4: After playing, collect the GeoPlunge cards. Hand out new GeoPlunge cards to each team and play again. Play the game for a designated time period.
Determining a Winner: Whichever team guesses the state of the GeoPlunge card in the other team’s hand in the fewest guesses wins the contest and earns 2 points. If neither team guesses correctly or each team guesses correctly using the same number of guesses, the contest ends in a tie and each team receives one point. Play until a team earns 10 points.
Follow up: After playing the game each time, provide a brief opportunity for students to share their experience. Use the “GeoPlunge Self Assessment” resource. Or have a quick class discussion with possible. (Connections to the real world, improvement in content mastery, learned strategy, error analysis, funny story, self-reflection, etc.)
Introduce another GeoPlunge game or learning activity.
Breaking down the deck: There are four US Regions based on the United States Census Bureau. Different resources, however, identify different regions and states per region. Use the resources that work best for your learning goals.
Northeast (10 states): Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware
South (15 states): Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee , Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
Midwest (12 states): Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota
West (13 states): Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii