Eight for Each State – Arkansas

Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.

Arkansas, I think, is one of those states gets overlooked way too often. With Texas right next door and the deep south to contend with, Arkansas gets a bit lost. We enjoyed so many things about this state. So much in fact, there are several places we would love to visit. Something we just might get to do because it is on one of the routes we take to visit family out west.

US Geography Arkansas Feature

Enjoy some of these resources for your US Geography tour as you look at just a few of the amazing things about Arkansas.

1. Books

A good introduction to a state helps whet our appetite for what we are about to delve into. And after studying so many states, it is helpful to have a quick and easy way to set our current state apart. Here is our favorite book to get us started.

Arkansas (Hello U.S.A.) by Domenica Di Piazza – This is our go to series for information and quick facts such as state flower, flag, tree, famous people ect… It is above the beginning readers, but limits information more than the larger thick state books at the library. Find a good series for your child’s level and stick with it.

 

N Is for Natural State: An Arkansas Alphabet by Michael Shoulders – If your library does not have this series, consider investing in this collection. My girls love these books. They poor over each one. The text is interesting and the illustrations never disappoint.

2. State Video by Socratica

Socratica Visit the 50 states video – Short, sweet, fun.

3. Diamonds and Diamond Mines

Arkansas is the only state in the US where you can mine your own diamonds and keep what you find. What fun! It is also the only place outside of South Africa where diamonds have been found at their source.

US Geography Arkansas Diamonds

4. Confederate State Capital building

When I think Confederate State Capitol, Arkansas is not one of the words that pops into my head. To clarify, when Little Rock was captured by the Union Army, the state of Arkansas set up their Capital in Washington, Arkansas. I was glad Sarah Joan’s notebooking pages pointed us to this interesting landmark.

The Capitol building as well as many other historic buildings are now located at Historic Washington State Park. Take some time to click around, explore, and be sure to add this attraction to your list of places to see on your US Geography tour.

For another view of Arkansas during the Civil War, try Sarah Campbell: Tale of a Civil War Orphan by Nancy Dane

5. Festivals

Most towns in the US boast a festival or two a year. Arkansas, has some of the most unique festivals I have ever heard of. Have some fun exploring some, pretend you are at one, or make one up unique to your family.

USA State Study Notebooking Pages

  • Rodeo of the Ozarks – Grab your boots, hat, hat and lasso! This rodeo festival has history! After you explore, watch a little rodeo on YouTube.
  • Hope Watermelon Festival – Enjoy reading about the history of watermelon growing in Arkansas and then try your had at a few of the contests such as, seed spitting and watermelon tossing.
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival – At 22 years old, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is America’s oldest non-fiction film festival. Watch some of the trailers for this year’s documentaries and then try your hand at making one of your own!
  • World Championship Cardboard Boat Races – Now doesn’t this sound fun? I actually considered having us do this. This would be a great activity for older students! You could build a model boat, or go for a big one! Here is a video of one of the races.

6. The Little Rock Nine

Throughout our US Geography tour I have tried to include history from the era we are studding (this year it is modern times.) This is the perfect opportunity to introduce more information on the Civil Rights Movement. The Little Rock Nine were the first African American high school students to be integrated into the white schools in Arkansas.

This is also a great opportunity to use the library to look up information and make a notebook page or present what was learned orally. These primary source documents may be interesting to an older student.

7. Rice Pudding

One of the main crops in Arkansas is rice. Our favorite state cookbook suggested making chocolate rice pudding. However, my children much prefer my grandmother’s recipe when it comes to this dessert. So, that is what we made instead.

US Geography Arkansas Rice Pudding

Grandma’s Rice Pudding

1 cup white rice

1 cup white sugar

6 cups whole milk

1/2 cup butter cut into pieces

1 t. cinnamon

Mix sugar and rice together in a 9×13 pan. Add milk, butter and cinnamon. Stir to combine. There will still be cinnamon and butter that isn’t really mixed in. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Stir at 15 minute intervals. Cool slightly, serve warm.

8. Scott Joplin

I just love it when our US Geography tour matches up with something else we are doing in our homeschool. In this case, our study of Arkansas matched up perfectly with our SQUILT Volume 4 lesson on Scott Joplin.

Scott Joplin is a featured person in our state alphabet book N is for Natural State. This son of former slaves made Ragtime famous in the United States. The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag are perhaps some of his most well known works.

Arkansas (Hello U.S.A.)Arkansas (Hello U.S.A.)N Is for Natural State: An Arkansas Alphabet (Discover America State by State)N Is for Natural State: An Arkansas Alphabet (Discover America State by State)DK Eyewitness Books: Crystal & GemDK Eyewitness Books: Crystal & GemSarah Campbell: Tale of a Civil War OrphanSarah Campbell: Tale of a Civil War OrphanThe United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 StatesThe United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts From All 50 States

What amazing match-ups has your US Geography tour had?

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  • Sarah says:

    This looks great 🙂 As an Arkansas native, it looks like you hit a lot of the high points. One I was surprised to see left out is the Altus Grape Festival! There are several winemakers in the Altus area, and they have several unique activities like a grape stomping contest!

    • Jessica Lawton says:

      It is always good to hear from a native! Thanks for the positive feedback. Here is the link for any who would like to check out the grape festival. http://www.altusgrapefest.com/

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