The Star-Spangled State Book and its companion The Star-Spangled Workbook present a very creative, year-long course for studying the fifty states of the U.S. Created by a homeschooling dad, the course has detailed lesson plans for four days per week for thirty six weeks.
Students in grades four through six learn states and capitals, key data and historical information about each state, the geographical location, and bordering states. During the first semester, students work through two-page lessons on each state, researching in the full-color Star-Spangled State Book and completing activities in the Workbook. For most of the activities on the first page of each lesson students simply locate the information and fill-in-the-blank. The second page requires a lengthier written response to one question, then asks students to write definitions for two words used in the state information students have been reading. They will need a dictionary to look up definitions. Four more activities follow: draw a picture of the state (the outline of the state’s shape), match one or more state names with outlines that are already drawn, find the state from a sectional map showing a number of states with no labels, and unscramble four words that students have encountered in the state’s information. Students who wish to might color in some of the maps and illustrations with crayons or colored pencils.
While The Star-Spangled State Book presents data points about states, most of the information provided is more interesting. For example, for Kentucky, a brief biographical sketch tells about a famous Kentuckian, Abraham Lincoln, and students learn about the Mammoth Caves and other facts such as “More than 100 Kentuckians have been governors of OTHER states!”
After students have completed the first semester’s lessons, they should be knowledgeable enough to try the “Geoquiz” that is built into The Star-Spangled State Book; there are four versions so students will use this at least four times. Geoquiz is a self-checking trivia “game” that reviews content of many of the semester’s lessons. Students use it on their own. Whatever questions they miss should be used for review. A weekly quiz and semester exam check on student mastery of the material.
Second semester lessons have one page each with three activities per day for three days per week and a quiz on the fourth day. The first activity has students identify all bordering states for a particular state, writing the names of those states in their Workbook. The second activity reviews the state’s capital and postal abbreviation. (Postal abbreviations are taught in The Star-Spangled State Book.) The third activity varies sometimes but usually reviews border state identification. A final exam and answer key are included in the Workbook.
The Star-Spangled Workbook is available only on CD-ROM and you may print out the lesson, quiz, and exam pages for your family. (Co-ops and group classes need to inquire about a license for reproduction for an entire class.) You might want more than one copy of The Star-Spangled State Book since it is printed in full-color on glossy paper and you are not given permission to reproduce its pages. Students use it as a reference book, so if more than one student needs to be working in it at the same time, each will need a book. Purchasing the Workbook CD and the State Book as a set saves 10% off the normal price.
Lessons should not take long to complete so this is not your entire social studies program for the year. You would use it alongside another resource.