Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.
Michigan like so many of the northern most states is full of wonderful wildness. This is a point of pride for Michiganders. While I am continually surprised by each state, Michigan, is perhaps the first one that took my breath away with its beauty and diversity.
1. Books and Videos
- Exploring the States Michigan by Amy Rechner – Our library carries the whole set of these state books. Ruth loves them. She can’t wait to look at each new one’s recipe, fun facts, and did you know sections. They work well for emerging or reluctant readers.
- Lake Michigan by Anne Ylvisaker – Even if you did take a look at the Great Lakes when we did Ohio, take some time and focus on Lake Michigan. I love the way this little book takes you on a tour of Lake Michigan. There is even a fun game in the back!
- M is for Mitten by Annie Appleford – We no longer attempt any state study in our US Geography tour without one of these books. My children enjoy looking at them long after we have read them for our study.
- Little Michigan by Denise Brennan-Nelson – A companion board book to M is for Mitten, Little Michigan is not just for your toddler. The fun riddles and lovely pictures will draw in your elementary travelers too.
- US Embassy Vienna Michigan
2. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison was one of Michigan’s most famous residents. Although his famous lab, now a national historic site, is in New Jersey, he grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. There was so much to learn about this amazing man, but perhaps our favorite thing to do was following in his footsteps as we created our own inventions with things lying about the house.
Here are a few resources to get you started.
- Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? by Margaret Frith
- A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison by Don Brown
- A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison by David A. Adler
- Thomas Edison National Historic Park – Spend some time exploring this site. Be sure to check out the multi media section for sound recordings of Edison’s talking dolls.
- Make a Thomas Edison timeline – Perhaps inventing isn’t your thing. Or the thought of random pieces of old cd players and telephones scattered all over your dining room table sends you running for the hills. Try a nice quiet timeline instead. Make it a scavenger hunt through books to find Edison’s best, worst, and most influential inventions. Try making one as a family and present it to Dad when he gets home.
- Inventor Box – This is just a place to start. Gather what you can find around the house, some tape, glue gun, ribbon, and various plastic recyclables. Some other ideas are mint tins, spare hardware, old electronics, and cardboard.
3. Henry Ford Museum
Henry Ford also hailed from Michigan. I thought it would be fun to read The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford by Suzanne Slade. It was so new, I didn’t get it in time for this state study, but it looks so good!
- The Henry Ford Museum – Explore the many exhibits that can be seen at the Henry Ford Museum.
- Henry Ford and the Model T by Michael O’Hearn – Ruth loves this comic book style history series.
- Joy in the Journey assembly line activity – Ford is credited with creating the assembly line. Experiment with this fun activity. Bonus it fits with our modern history cycle this year!
4. Snowmobile Racing
Snowmobile Racing is quite the sport in Michigan. I had no idea. Watch some YouTube videos to get a feel for this snowy sport.
5. Legend of Michigan books
Who knew Michigan had so many legends? These will all make a great addition to your US Geography study of Michigan. After reading one, or all, try making up your own legend.
- The Legend of Michigan by Trinka Hakes Noble
- The Legend of Sleeping Bear by Kathy-Jo Wargin
- The Legend of the Petoskey Stone by Kathy-jo Wargin
- The Legend of Mackinac Island by Kathy-jo Wargin
- Basic How-to on Legends
6. Blueberry slushy
Blueberry slushy has to be the easiest, tastiest, healthiest state food yet! We learned in our Main study, that blueberries are an important crop for that state, but Michigan produces even more blueberries than Maine! Enjoy this very tasty blueberry treat.
3 cups frozen blueberries
3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar, or even a little less
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Freeze in ice cream maker until soft serve consistency. Store in a freezer container in the freezer. Serve when mixture is firm, about 2 hours.
7. Innovative Michigan Food
New Jersey may hold the most patents per capita, but Michiganders are also very innovative. Especially in one of my favorite areas, food.
- W. K. Kellogg History Maker Bios by Laura Hamilton Waxman – Breakfast cereal was first made by the Kellogg brothers in Battle Creek, Michigan. Be sure to also watch Corn Flakes Factory Tour YouTube video.
- Vernors Ginger Ale – America’s first soft drink has an interesting history. Find out how the civil war brought us soda pop.
- Jiffy Mix – Chelsea, Michigan is the home to America’s first baking mix. Visit their website and take a virtual tour here.
8. Wildlife and Landforms
Michigan has so many different landforms and wildlife. Spend some time making a list of all the landforms and wildlife you find in this state. Later, for a special project, make a salt map of Michigan. Add all the landforms you have learned about. Make models of the many different and amazing animals Michigan is home to, or use plastic models you may already have. This is a great project for presentations, geography fairs or just something to show grandma!
Michigan: The Great Lakes State (Exploring the States)Lake Michigan (Land and Water: The Great Lakes)M Is For Mitten: A Michigan Alphabet (Discover America State by State)Little Michigan (Little State)Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas EdisonA Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison (Picture Book Biographies)The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry FordHenry Ford and the Model TW. K. Kellogg
8+. Great Lakes and Paddle to the Sea
Head on over to my Paddle to the Sea section from my Ohio US Geography post. If you didn’t get to it for Ohio, it is well worth doing for Michigan.
What crazy inventions did your kids come up with for Michigan?
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