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Delaware – A Mini Unit Study
This mini unit on DELAWARE uses the cross curricular approach to education. There are several activities from different academics subjects for you to choose from. One of the most important things is to have fun!
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Delaware was the only state to belong to Sweden and Holland. England won the area that is known now as Delaware from the Dutch in 1664. About 100 years later, the American flag was first displayed in battle at the Revolutionary Battle of Cooch’s Bridge. Named for Lord De La Warr, Delaware was the first state to ratify the new constitution in 1787.
Wilmington, the largest city, is the home of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chemicals. The DuPont family has had economic and political influence on the state for many years.
On the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, Delaware is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, as well as by the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Delaware's location affords easy access to the major metropolitan areas of the Northeast. Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore are all within a 2-hour drive.
Below are some activities to help you study DELAWARE. You may choose to do all, some, or none of the activities. You can also alter the activities to better suit your individual child’s needs. Some of these activities overlap each other, choose the one you think that you and the children will enjoy most. The main point of this unit is to make learning about DELAWARE fun and enjoyable for all who are participating.
Alaska's State Flag
Adopted on July 24, 1913, the state flag of Delaware has a background of colonial blue surrounding a diamond of buff color in which the coat of arms of the state of Delaware is placed. Below the diamond are the words "December 7, 1787," indicating the day on which Delaware was the first state to ratify the federal Constitution. Because of this action, Delaware became the first state in the Union, and is, therefore, accorded the first position in such national events as presidential inaugurations. According to members of the original commission established to design the flag, the shades of buff and colonial blue represent those of the uniform of General George Washington as shown on a specific plate from an official U.S. Army publication.
Create a State “Infodesk”:
Before you begin this unit you may want to set up a research area. Place a desk or table in front of a bulletin board area. This will be where you can place relevant books, magazines, photographs, posters, newspaper articles, maps, scrapbooks, games, puzzles, computer software, task cards, travel brochures, etc. that you collect.
Print a blank map of the state, or draw one on tag board, that you can place on the bulletin board. As you study the political and physical features of the state, have the children fill in the name of the state capital, large cities, and major geographical features. Color the map using different shades for varying elevations.
Place a chart next to the map called “State Facts.” List any information on here that you would like to be able to find at a quick glance. Have the children fill this chart up as the unit progresses.
Build a Mini Museum
Build a mini museum to exhibit any artifacts or memorabilia about the state you are working on. Label the items with a date and a brief explanation of their history. Also display any state maps and projects made by the children.
Create a Unit Portfolio
During this unit, you can have the child(ren) prepare a portfolio to keep their notes and completed projects in. Include an outline map of the state or a copy of the state flag to go on the cover of the portfolio. Have them include the date they begin and complete the unit.
Use any or all of the following sub-topics to gather information on the state. This can even be used as your “State Facts” sheet mentioned in “Infodesk” section above.
1. State Name:
2. State Nickname:
4. Rank in population:
5. Total Area:
6. Rank in size:
10. Capital City:
12. Manufactured Goods:
13. Agricultural Crops:
17. State Motto:
18. State Flower:
19. State Bird:
20. State Tree:
21. State Song:
22. Date State Entered Union:
23. Tourist Attractions:
24. Historical Facts:
25. Largest Cities
§ By area
§ By population
26. State Preserve:
27. State Seashore:
28. State Monuments:
29. State Parkway:
30. State Wonders
31. Average January Temperature:
32. Average July Temperature:
33. Endangered Species:
34. National Parks:
35. National Historical Parks:
36. National Memorials:
37. National Historical Sites:
38. Famous People:
39. Amazing Facts:
40. U.S. Representatives:
41. U.S. Senators:
42. Electoral Votes:
44. Annual Events:
45. Name and address of state’s tourist information center:
When you have completed gathering the above information, you could do use the facts to:
§ Create a “State A to Z Fact Book” with a person, place, or fact for each letter of the alphabet.
§ Create a “State Book of Facts” by cutting paper into the shape of the state and writing one interesting fact along with an illustration on each page. Bind the pages together in a cover of the same shape as the pages.
§ Use the facts to help with other activities in this unit.
List what you know before you begin the unit and what you would like to learn during the unit and then when the unit is over what you learned throughout the unit.
Information Scavenger Hunt:
As an ongoing part of this unit, have a “state scavenger hunt” to answer questions about the state. State archives, history books, museums, artifacts, photographs, old newspapers and magazines, and experts on various topics of interest will help gather an overall picture of the state.
Set up categories (i.e., in the beginning, early immigrants, statehood, geography, famous people, etc.) and provide containers (i.e., folders, boxes, etc.) to keep the material and information you gather in to keep them organized.
Information you gather on your “scavenger hunt” can be used to prepare reports on the state. The complexity and method of presentation of the reports will depend on the level of your child(ren).
As you work on this unit, gather information, you may wish to create a state timeline so that you can see important events in the states’ history presented in a chronological format.
Timeline Example #1
Timeline Example #2
The First Inhabitants:
The first inhabitants of the United States were Native Americans, also called Indians. Native Americans were the descendants of nomadic tribes who crossed the Bering Strait’s land bridge between Russia and what is now the state of Alaska thousands of years ago. When Columbus sailed, there were approximately 350 Native American tribes in North America.
Determine what tribes lived this the state originally. Gather as much information on this/these tribe(s) as possible. Explore both the history of the tribe and life for the tribe members. Some questions you may wish to consider in this area are:
§ Was the state named after an Native American tribe or some aspect of Indian history or culture?
§ As European settlers arrived in the state, what happened to the Native American population and why?
§ How did the Native American culture influence the state’s culture?
§ Describe life of the Native Americans in the state today.
§ What problems do Native Americans face in the state today?
To enhance this part of your study, you may wish to construct a shoe box diorama of an Indian village as it would have been long ago. Find out what their particular dwellings looked like (i.e., wigwam, adobe bricks, log cabin, etc.). What would the vegetation have looked like?
The First Pioneers:
Arriving in America was just the beginning for many immigrants. Many settlers began their treks in different ways, using different means of transportation, and coming and going in many different directions.
Who were the first pioneers to arrive in the state? When did they come? Why did they come? How did they get there?
Use encyclopedias, history books, internet search engines, etc. to answer the above questions and to find out about particular groups that immigrated to the state and when.
One question you might find interesting to answer is to find out whether you have any family or family roots (also known as genealogy) in this state. [For an interesting mini unit on Genealogy check out /article1099.html.
Find a description of how the state applied for and achieved statehood.
Delaware's admission to the union
What were the main reasons that this state applied for statehood? Identify the possible political, social, and economic reasons why a territory applied for statehood.
Historical Monuments and Natural Wonders:
Research how historical signposts and markers are used. Find several examples in your own area. Historical monuments are sometimes marked with signposts or even become the centerpiece of a state or national park.
Delaware State Parks
Now that you know what a historical place is, research some of the historical places and monuments in this state. You may wish to check the National Park System website at http://www.nationalparks.org/index.html for help in this area. The URL http:// www.nps.gov may also prove useful as soon at the National Park Service reopens their sites.
States are not only filled with historical monuments and sites, but with natural wonders. For example, Arizona has the Petrified Forest, Kentucky has Mammoth Cave, and Florida has the Everglades. Look at a map, an encyclopedia or atlas, or various travel books and brochures to find the natural wonders of the state you are researching. Choose one or more of the following activities to complete:
* Choose one natural place and write a descriptive essay explaining what they like about that particular place. Create a picture to accompany the essay.
* Create a mobile with pictures showing the highlights from their chosen natural place.
* Collect postcards of natural wonders from the state or make your own picture postcards.
Some of the people who have made great contributions to our country may have lived and/or worked in the state you are researching. You may wish to make a set of flash cards using tag board or index cards to complete this section.
Make photocopies of pictures of famous people from the state.
Glue the picture to one side of a 3” x 5” piece of tag board or an index card.
Be sure to include the individual’s name, the dates that they lived, and a list of the individual’s accomplishments on the side opposite of the picture.
Make up your own games using your homemade flashcards.
Famous Folks of Delaware
Land Form Maps
Making state maps of various kinds is an excellent way to learn about land forms, locations, and state resources. A “land form” map shows the shape and height of the land. It shows mountains, plateaus, hills, plains, rivers, etc.
State Map of Delaware
Create your own landform map of the state’s geographical features.
1. Determine the state’s features by looking up a state map in an atlas, an encyclopedia, or a geography book.
2. Make a landform key at the bottom of your blank map form. Include symbols for each of the different landform types in your state.
3. Color in the areas in your state to match the key. Your key should be color-coded. Make the highest land form the darkest color and the lowest land form the lightest color. You can use colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc.
4. Label the large rivers and mountain ranges with their names.
You could also make a relief map of the state. A relief map is a 3D version of a landform map. You could use paper mache or salt dough to make your own relief map.
Historical Maps of the US
State Resource Map:
Resources are things that people use every day. Resources are found and developed from the land itself, or made into other things we use.
1. What resource or manufactured good is your state best known for?
2. How does this resource or product affect the state’s economy?
3. How does the state’s resources/products affect how people live?
4. What products from neighboring states are used by the state?
Make a product map:
1. Look in an atlas, encyclopedia, or geography book to find a map showing the location of products raised or produced in the state.
2. Create a product map showing where these products are grown or manufactured in the state. Use a symbol key to represent the products on your map.
3. Show important cities situated near these resources on your map.
Agriculture -- broilers, soybeans, corn, milk.
Fishing Industry -- crabs, clams.
Manufacturing -- chemicals, food products, paper products, rubber and plastics products, primary metals, printed materials.
Mining -- sand and gravel, magnesium compounds.
Make a mineral map:
1. Look in an atlas, encyclopedia, or geography book to find a map showing the location of minerals in the state.
2. Create a minerals map showing what minerals are mined in the state, if any. Minerals are natural substances obtained by mining such as coal, ore, salt, or stone. Use a symbol key to represent the minerals.
3. Show important cities situated near these resources on your map.
Names, Nicknames, Mottos, and Songs:
Each state’s name has its origin in some part of American history. Some states were named after explorers, and some after monarchs, kings, or presidents. Many states’ names have Indian or Spanish origins. Every state also has a nickname, a motto, and a state song.
Find out this state’s name, nickname, motto, and song and then find the origins of each. A great internet search engine that can help with this is www.google.com . An online encyclopedia and/or a printed encyclopedia or atlas can help with this research as well.
Delaware’s State Song and Music
"The First State": Delaware is known by this nickname due to the fact that on December 7, 1787, it became the first of the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
"The Diamond State": This nickname was given to Delaware, according to legend, by Thomas Jefferson because he described Delaware as a "jewel" among states due to its strategic location on the Eastern Seaboard.
"Blue Hen State": This nickname was given to Delaware after the fighting Blue Hen Cocks that were carried with the Delaware Revolutionary War Soldiers for entertainment during Cock fights.
"Small Wonder": This nickname is basically a new nickname. It was given to Delaware due to its size and the contributions it has made to our country as a whole and the beauty of Delaware.
The state seal was first adopted on January 17, 1777, and contains the coat of arms. It also bears the inscription around it "Great Seal of the State of Delaware" and the dates 1793, 1847, and 1907. A description of the contents of the seal are as follows:
The Wheat Sheaf -- was adapted from the Sussex County seal and signifies the agricultural vitality of Delaware.
The Ship -- is a symbol of New Castle County's ship building industry and Delaware's extensive coastal commerce.
The Corn -- is taken from the Kent County seal and also symbolizes the agricultural basis of Delaware's economy.
The Farmer -- with the hoe represents the central role of farming to the state.
The Militiaman -- with his musket recognizes the crucial role of the citizen-soldier to the maintenance of American liberties.
The Ox -- represents the importance of animal husbandry to the state economy.
The Water -- (above the Ox) stands for the Delaware River, the main stay of the state's commerce and transportation.
The Motto -- was derived from the Order of Cincinnati, and approved in 1847.
The Dates -- mark major changes to the state seal. 1793: the farmer and militiaman were omitted. 1847: the two human figures were reinstated, and the motto adopted. 1907: a modernized version of the 1777 seal, with the words "State of Delaware" added.
Each state has adopted one bird that represents their state. Find out what this state’s bird is and then find out the following information:
1. name of state bird
2. bird’s habitat
3. colors and markings of this bird
4. food of choice for this bird
5. enemies this bird may have
6. protective behaviors
8. type of nest
9. egg size and shape, as well as incubation time
10. migration habits
11. beak shape and function
12. feet type
13. adaptations to environment
14. songs and calls
15. other interesting behaviors
16. endangered or not
17. how it became the state bird
Draw a picture of the state bird and write a paragraph about what you have learned. Add this to your unit portfolio.
Adopted on April 14, 1939, the Blue Hen chicken had long been used as a motif in numerous political campaigns and in many publications. During the Revolutionary War, the men of Captain Jonathan Caldwell's company, recruited in Kent County, took with them game chickens that were said to be of the brood of a famous Blue Hen and were noted for their fighting ability. When not fighting the enemy, the officers and men amused themselves by pitting their Blue Hen chickens in cockfights. The fame of these cockfights spread throughout the army and when in battle, the Delaware men fought so valiantly that they were compared to these fighting cocks.
Delaware's State Bird
State Tree and State Flower
Every state has adopted a tree and a flower to represent it. Find out the tree and flower this state chose.
1. Sketch and color a picture of both the state tree and state flower.
2. Label the parts of each.
3. Find out if the tree or flower is on an endangered list, and if yes, what is being done to protect it.
4. If possible, visit a botanical garden to see a real, live example of the tree or flower. Or, look at seed and gardening catalogs to find examples of these.
Passage of the act to adopt the Peach Blossom on May 9, 1895, was prompted by Delaware's reputation as the "Peach State," since her orchards contained more than 800,000 peach trees yielding a crop worth thousands of dollars at that time.
Adopted May 1, 1939, the American Holly (ilex opaca aiton) is regarded as one of Delaware's most important forest trees. Often called Christmas holly or evergreen holly, the tree has dark, thorny-leaved foliage and red berries. In Delaware, the tree can reach a maximum of 60 feet in height and a trunk diameter of 20 inches.
Is this state home to any endangered species? If yes, what are they? What is being done in this state to protect the endangered species? Where are these endangered species located?
You could make your own flashcards on the endangered species of this state by drawing or pasting a picture of the plant or animal on the front of an index card and on the reverse, writing some descriptive information.
Every state is affected by conditions of climate and geography. States experience floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, erosion, hurricanes, tornadoes, hailstorms, firestorms, blizzards, drought, mudslides, volcanic activity, and electrical storms.
Make a list different weather types that affect the state you are researching. Look in newspapers, travel brochures and books, tourism sites, etc. to find this information out.
1. Make a table of the state’s average monthly rainfall, then record the information on a bar graph.
2. Make a table of the state’s average monthly temperature, then record the information on a line graph.
3. List various severe weather found in this state and any state-wide plans for dealing with it. For instance, Florida has hurricane evacuation routes in flood prone areas.
Delaware's climate is moderate year round. Average monthly temperatures range from 75.8 to 32.0 degrees. Average temperature in the summer months is 74.3 degrees. About 57% of the days are sunny. Annual precipitation is approximately 45 inches. Temperatures along the Atlantic Coast are about 10 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer. The average growing season varies from 170 to 200 days.
National Crab Day
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/2 lb. crabmeat
Heat cooking oil to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. In separate bowl, beat
the egg and add milk and crabmeat. Stir into flour mixture. Mix well. Drop
mixture from spoon into hot oil, and fry until delicately browned.
Senator’s Sweet Potatoes
Delaware Squash Pie
Delaware Cream Cheese-Pineapple Pie
Historical Maps of the US
Stately Links - Delaware
Info Please - Delaware
The US 50
Great General Resource
Delaware State Unit
School Express Worksheets for Delaware
Lessons from the US Mint
Historical Text Archive
Delaware Elections (.pdf format)
Let’s Put Delaware on the Map
Check out the Delaware Science Page for several ideas.
Also, any chemical or paint experiment can be tied in due to the DuPont connection in Delaware.
Enchanted Learning - Delaware
School Express Worksheets for Delaware
Delaware Word Search
The Lenape Indians by Josh Wilker --about the Lenape or Delaware Indians
Delaware by Dennis Brindell Fradin (Children's Press)
The Colony of Delaware by Susan Whitehurst --An introduction to the lives of
the early settlers in the Delaware Colony, from the early attempts of the
Dutch, Swedes, and English to colonize to Delaware's role in the American
Voices of the River: Adventures on the Delaware by Jan Cheripko--This is the
author's "account of his 10-day, 215-mile trip down the Delaware River with
14-year-old Matt Smith. Both Cheripko and Smith were novicecanoeists and
expected the rapids, weirs, and dams along the river to presenta real
challenge to their skills. Cheripko includes information about the history
of the Delaware, the construction of bridges and dams, and the efforts of
conservationists to preserve the river, as well as descriptions of the
pair's adventures." (Booklist) Index. "Grades five to nine." (SLJ)
Reason for nickname Diamond State is because Thomas Jefferson compared DE to a diamond-small, but of great value. (when he was recalling it as our 1st state)
Residents don't have to pay income or corporate taxes.
Rahobeth Beach is called "the nation's summer capital" because of all the tourists and visitors to the beach over the summer
DE was originally settled by the Dutch in 1631. Later the Leni-Lenape tribe (later known as the DE Indians) drove out the Dutch.
William Penn made DE a separate colony in 1701.
Wilmington is Chemical Capital of the World. (Dupont has been there for 1802-when they built their 1st gun powder mill)