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Maryland: A Unit Study

This mini unit on MARYLAND 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!

Below are some activities to help you study MARYLAND. 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 MARYLAND and enjoyable for all who are participating.

Maryland’s State Flag

The Maryland flag contains the family crest of the Calvert and Crossland families. Maryland was founded as an English colony in 1634 by Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. The black and Gold designs belong to the Calvert family. The red and white design belongs to the Crossland family. Flag adopted 1904.

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:
3. Population:
4. Rank in population:
5. Total Area:
6. Rank in size:
7. Location:
8. Climate:
9. Topography:
10. Capital City:
11. Industry:
12. Manufactured Goods:
13. Agricultural Crops:
14. Livestock:
15. Fishing:
16. Mining:
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
§ Waterfalls
§ Deserts
§ Rivers
§ Volcanoes
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:
43. Governor:
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.

State Reports:

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).

Historical Timeline:

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.

State History:

Find a description of how the state applied for and achieved statehood.

Maryland’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.

Maryland’s Public Lands
Maryland State Parks
Maryland Historic Trust
National Parks in Maryland

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.

Famous People:

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 Maryland

State Maps:

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 Maryland

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.

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.

State Motto Information from Geobop

State Bird:

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
7. size
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.

Maryland’s State Bird

The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) is the official Maryland bird (Chapter 54, Acts of 1947; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-302). The female oriole's feathers are brownish-olive and dull orange, but the male's plumage is black and golden orange not unlike colors in the Calvert shield. This similarity led to its early association with the name of the Maryland proprietor. In 1698, "Baltemore Birds" were among the "Beasts of Curiosity" ordered sent from Maryland to grace the royal gardens (Archives of Maryland 23:455-56). In 1894, Baltimore's major league baseball team was named after the bird. Maryland made special provisions to protect the Baltimore Oriole in 1882 (Chapter 154, Acts of 1882). Since passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the Baltimore Oriole is protected by federal law covering all migratory bird species, and, since 1975, by the State's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act (Chapter 27, Acts of 1975). Despite its special status, since 1966 (and more rapidly after 1980) the number of Baltimore Orioles has been declining. The loss is attributed to destruction of breeding habitat and tropical winter habitat, and toxic pesticides ingested by the insects which constitute the Oriole's main diet.

State Symbols of Maryland

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.

In 1941, Maryland designated the White Oak (Quercus alba) as the State Tree (Chapter 731, Acts of 1941; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-310). Handsome and sturdy, the white oak is named for its whitish bark and grey twigs. White Oaks are large, long-lived, and slow-growing trees, reaching heights of 60 to 150 feet, with diameters between 3 to 4 feet. Their glossy, bright green leaves have rounded lobes, five to seven per leaf. The species is found commonly throughout Maryland. Sometime around its fiftieth year, a white oak begins to produce acorns and may produce 10,000 annually. Crowned with shallow caps that are smooth underneath, these acorns sprout soon after falling from the tree. Sweet to the taste, they are a dietary mainstay for over 80 species of birds and mammals. Native Americans ground acorns into flour, a technique they shared with early European settlers. White oaks produce prime hardwood lumber with a fine, almost watertight grain, excellent for barrel staves.

The Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) has been the official Maryland flower since 1918 when it was designated the "Floral Emblem" of Maryland by the General Assembly (Chapter 458, Acts of 1918; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-305). In his Species Plantarum (1753), the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus described and named the flower Rudbeckia after Olav Rudbeck and his son, both professors at the University of Uppsala, and hirta from the Latin meaning "rough hairy". Black-Eyed Susans are perennial daisies or coneflowers, members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The flower's yellow rays circle a dark-brown, spherical center measuring 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Commonly found in fields and on roadsides, they bloom between May and August, reaching 2 to 3 feet in height. They are native to the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.

Endangered Species:

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.

Craft Ideas:

Lots of wonderful history in Maryland. Ft. McHenry is the birthplace of the National Anthem so any crafts related to the US Flag and flag making would be appropriate.

Clara Barton is also a famous person from Maryland. Any crafts that include first aid supplies or making your own first aid kit would go well with this unit.

Building forts to represent Ft. McHenry and other historical fort from leggos, Lincoln Logs, rolled newspapers, twigs or logs, etc. is a great hands on activity.

Fishy crafts from FamilyCrafts
Ocean ThemeM


Recipes for Maryland Oysters
Recipes for the Maryland Blue Crabs
Maryland Recipes
Favorite Maryland Recipes



History Links:

Walking Tours in Maryland

Baltimore: The City of Firsts: Includes a timeline

War of 1812 connection to Maryland: http://warof1812.casebook.org/

Virtual Tour of Baltimore: http://raven.ubalt.edu/features/es/es.html

Guide to Historic sites: http://raven.ubalt.edu/features/es/maps/history_guide.html

Historical Highlights: http://www.co.ho.md.us/ffhist.html

Maryland the 7th state: http://www.marylandtheseventhstate.com/index.html

Maryland Ships
Ark and the Dove
Colony of Maryland began in 1634 with the arrival of these two English ships

Baltimore Clipper History http://www.intandem.com/NewPrideSite/Other/OtherHistory.html

Burning of the Peggy Stewart http://archive1.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/1545/html/1111.html

Painting by Francis Blackwell Mayer
Lightship Chesapeake http://www.baltomaritimemuseum.org/ches/ches.html Marked the entrances to Chesapeake and Delaware Bays 1933-1971

Original Pride of Baltimore
http://www.intandem.com/NewPrideSite/Pride1/P1Home.html This ambassador of friendship sailed from 1979 until its' loss in 1986

Pride of Baltimore II http://www.intandem.com/NewPrideSite/Navigate/SiteMap.html Baltimore's goodwill ship

U.S.C.G.C Taney http://www.baltomaritimemuseum.org/taney/taney.html Last surviving warship that fought at the Pearl Harbor attack

U.S.S. Constellation http://www.constellation.org/ Last Surviving Civil War Ship

Museums and Historic Sites
Antietam National Battlefield http://www.nps.gov/anti/ Civil War battlefield

B&O Railroad Museum http://www.borail.org/ Birthplace of American Railroading

Baltimore: A National Register Travel Itinerary http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/baltimore/balfirst.htm Two centuries of history in these 40 plus locations

Baltimore Civil War Museum - President Street Station http://www.mdhs.org/explore/baltcivilwar.html 1849 train station and the role Baltimore played in the Civil War

Baltimore Maritime Museum http://www.baltomaritimemuseum.org/ Three historic ships: Coast Guard Cutter Taney, Lightship Chesapeake, WWII submarine Torsk and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse

Baltimore Museum of Industry http://www.charm.net/~bmi/ 250 years of the industrial or "work" history of Baltimore and surrounding areas.

Baltimore Streetcar Museum
On site of the old Maryland and Pennsylvania RR Terminal in Baltimore

Carroll County Farm Museum

Catoctin Mountain Park http://www.nps.gov/cato/
Recreation area first developed by the WPA and the CCC in the 1930's

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Site
184.5 mile canal from Washington D.C. to Cumberland Maryland

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Located in historic St. Michaels

Clara Barton National Historic Site
Home and former headquarters of the founder of the American Red Cross

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Official National Park site for Fort McHenry, birthplace of the national anthem

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Take a virtual tour of the Fort. Patriots of Fort McHenry site.

Fort McHenry Quiz
Well, how did you do?

Fort Washington Park http://www.nps.gov/fowa/
Defense for our Nation's Capital

Jewish Museum of Maryland http://www.jhsm.org/
Exhibitions, programs depicting Jewish history

Great Blacks in Wax Museum
Life-size, life-like wax figures depicting African ancestry and history

Lighthouses: Mid Atlantic Coast
Publicly accessible lighthouses in Maryland, Delaware, southern New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina

Maryland Forts
Brief information on each fort and links when available. From American Forts East

Monocacy National Battlefield
"Battle That Saved Washington"

National Register of Historic Places: Maryland Listing
Select by county. Some are also designated as National Historic Landmarks. From Maryland Historical Trust

Sotterley Plantation http://www.sotterley.com/ Dates from 1717

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House http://www.flaghouse.org/ and 1812 Museum. 1793 House of Mary Pickersgill who sewed the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812.

Thomas Stone National Historic Site http://www.nps.gov/thst/ Plantation of Declaration of Independence signer from Maryland

Baltimore County Museums and Historic Sites http://www.bcplonline.org/info/history/local.html Visit aviation, fire and police museums as well as historical buildings and mansions such as Hampton, Ballestone Manor and other places of historical interest within Baltimore county.

Seal: http://www.marylandtheseventhstate.com/article1035.html

The History of the State Flag

Barons and Lords of Baltimore: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc2600/sc2685/html/balt.html

Constitutional Convention of 1776 http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc2600/sc2685/html/conv1776.ht ml

http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc2600/sc2685/html/contcong.ht ml

Signers of Declaration of Independance: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc2600/sc2685/html/signind.htm l

Signers of the Articles of Confederation 1781 : http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc2600/sc2685/html/signart.htm l

Signers of the Federal Constitution 1787: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/sc2600/sc2685/html/signart.htm l

Clara Barton:

American Red Cross (founded by Clara Barton)
Teacher Information for grades 7-12 from the American Red Cross: International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions Designed for teachers of grades 7 to 12, this 28-page study guide contains background materials, classroom activities, research projects and a glossary of terms. It serves as a primer on International Humanitarian Law, the rules and principles that exist to protect people in armed conflict situations. In today's world, it's more important than ever to teach IHL concepts. http://www.redcross.org/museum/teachers.html

Civil War: http://home.rochester.rr.com/inwoods/civilwar.htm (unit study designed for homeschoolers)


Declaration of Independance:





http://www.historychannel.com/cgi-bin/frameit.cgi?p=http%3A//www.historychan nel.com/exhibits/declaration/main.html

http://www.pluto.no/OFO/CD/Tchaikovsky_1812.html Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture


http://www.midiworld.com/cmc/tchaikov.html to listen online

Transportation in Maryland

Francis Scott Key--Star Spangled Banner

The official story of the Star Spangled Banner: http://www.tc-solutions.com/croom/ssb.html

http://www.bcpl.net/~etowner/patriots.html (plays anthem when opened)
http://www.treefort.org/~rgrogan/web/flag3.htm (plays anthem when opened)
Patriotic Songs and Marches http://garyw0001.simplenet.com/patriotic.html

USA Flag Information:
US Flag changes pictures and information

US Flag color page: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/usa/flags/usa/usaflag.shtml

Blood Donation (Clara Barton)

MARYLAND AT A GLANCE: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/01glance/html/mdglance.html


Info Please – Maryland
Wilton Library
The US 50

On-Line Lessons:

Maryland Education Site: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/education/
They have a unit study called Where do we grow from here? It is a teachers resource guide and CD for high school teachers accompanies "Picture Maryland," a 32 page comprehensive booklet on growth in Maryland. The Resource Guide includes 15 lesson plans that address environmental science, government, geography, writing, math and reading outcomes. The CD includes tools and information for students such as census data, land use/land cover maps, slide shows, and lots of great documents and web sites.

Lessons by State from ProTeach
Historical Text Archive
State Capital Bingo
Great General Resource
Map Lessons
Maryland Sate Unit
Lessons from the US Mint
Historical Text Archive

Science Project:

Fieldtrip Ideas
Maryland’s Energy Site for kids

State Printables:

Thirteen Colonies Word Search
License Plate Maker
A lot of printables from enchantedlearning.com
Label the US map

Suggested Reading:

Here is a reading list called Read Across America. It requires Adobe Acrobat to read. Adobe Acrobat is a free download, you may even have it already on your computer.

Check out various travel guides from your library.

If you, or someone you know, is a AAA member, the travel guides for each state hold a wealth of information!

Other Info:

Kid Site from Maryland Tourism
Maryland State Historic Site for Kids

Maryland Day and Defenders' Day
Maryland Day - March 25.
Celebrates the landing of the Ark and the Dove on March 25, 1634 on St. Clement's Island. A Charter was granted to Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore on June 20, 1632 and finally the two vessels departed from Cowes, England on November 22, 1633.

Defenders' Day - September 12
Anniversary of the Battle of North Point, September 12, 1814 during the War of 1812.

If you have any information or links that you think would enhance this unit, please feel free to contact me through the feedback button in the left hand column.


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