Eight for Each State – Iowa

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

When I think of Iowa, I think corn. I also think about the big nose of the chef who stands in the middle of our country. Below are a few things I have never connected with Iowa, but am glad to have taken a closer look at them with my girls.

Eight for Each State Iowa Us Geography Study Feature

Our Iowa US Geography study was wonderful. I have suggested a few things we did not get to explore, and a few that we did. If you are short on time, I highly recommend reading about Grant Wood in Artist in Overalls by John Doggleby. This is by far the best artist study we have ever done!

1. Numbers in a Row by Patricia A. Pierce

To change up our regular State by State Alphabet books, I sometimes grab one of these number books from the same publisher. They are just as fun and informative. Sarah Joan especially loved this one!

Other books we used to study Iowa:

2. Glen Miller

Glen Miller was the first and greatest, in my opinion, big band leader. I was excited to share his music with the kids. We listened to Glen Miller one morning at breakfast and then I simply mentioned that he was from Iowa.

Our favorite Glenn Miller album is, Essential Glenn Miller.

3. Corn Palaces

Iowa is one of the top producers of corn in America. In the late 1800’s, five corn places were built in Sioux City. The Corn Palace Festivals brought people to Sioux City to enjoy parades, dances, fireworks, and concerts.

Read up on the Corn Palaces here.

Read more about corn with Corn by Gail Gibbons.

After, grab some popcorn, dye it, or not, and make palace murals by gluing corn kernels to paper.

4. Artist in Overalls, The Life of Grant Wood by John Duggleby

The famous artist of American Gothic led a surprisingly quiet life. The girls absolutely loved this book about a truly American artist from America’s heartland, Iowa.

Reading about Grant Wood is a great way to bring an artist study into your US Geography study. I was surprised to learn that his art was inspired by Religious Renaissance art.

If you do one other project for Iowa, this should be it. Artist in Overalls not only details the life of a great artist, but the lives of many hard working Iowans at the turn of the century.

Ruth enjoyed it so much she took herself outside, sat down in front of a tree in our yard, and began to draw exactly what she saw. The results pleased both her and me.

Eight for Each State Iowa Us Geography Study Nature Art

Eight for Each State Iowa Us Geography Study Artist


5. Tulip Festival

The Orange City Tulip Festival had been a happening in Iowa since 1936. Those with a Dutch heritage celebrate with tulips, dancing, food and fun. You can read more about the history of this festival here.

Here are some fun Tulip books and activities.

What is your heritage? Can you think of a festival to celebrate with your neighbors and friends that would show your heritage?



6. Iowa Lunch

The kids were so excited for this special lunch! We had corn dogs to celebrate Iowa’s corn, and Eskimo Pies for desert. Eskimo Pies were invented by Christian Nelson in Onawa, Iowa. Read more about the history of Eskimo Pies at Kidzworld.

Eight for Each State Iowa Us Geography Study Corndogs

7. Black Hawk

Black Hawk was a famous Sauk Indian chief. He fought for the British in The War of 1812 in hopes of pushing settlers off his tribe’s land.

8. Amana Colonies

I am loving our new US Geography treasury. It Happened in America: True Stories from the Fifty States by Lila Perl features the Amana Colonies for the living story for Iowa. It does not go into too much depth, but even just reading a short story about a subject can provide insight into a culture from a long time ago in a state far far away.
USA State Study Notebooking Pages

The Amana Colonies are now a National Historic Site. Spend some time reading and looking at the pictures. What would you need if you lived in a small village that wanted to be self sufficient? Make a list or draw pictures of a village that could survive without trade from other parts of the country.

 Numbers in a Row: An Iowa Number Book (America by the Numbers) Iowa: The Hawkeye State (Exploring the States) Iowa (Hello USA) The Essential Glenn Miller Corn Artist in Overalls: The Life of Grant Wood The Great Tulip Trade (Step into Reading) Famous Indian chiefs It Happened in America: True Stories from the Fifty States


We sure enjoyed Iowa. What are your favorite things about Iowa?



  • Crystal says:

    Thanks for featuring my Tulip Tomatoes! 🙂 Kind of ironic since I’m from Iowa! Great learning post!

    • Jessica Lawton says:

      They were absolutely lovely. 🙂 They would make a great addition to any Iowa dinner.

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