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The world and our location in it has an immense impact on every facet of our lives. To understand more about their part of Idaho, students need to understand more about the state as a whole. Geography will show students the diversity and beauty of Idaho. It will discuss the important concepts of location, place, range, resources and the human environment.


After viewing Geography, students will be able to:

  1. Describe where Idaho is in relation to the United States and the rest of the world.
  2. Identify and describe Idaho's key physical features.
  3. Appreciate the different lifestyles in Idaho which are the result of the diverse physical features.
  4. Describe significant geo-economic aspects of Idaho, including how systems of transportation, agriculture, business and industry are impacted by the physical features of the state.

Geography is designed to give students a vision of Idaho. It uses the National Geographic Society's five themes of geography (location, place, human-environment interaction, movement and regions) as its basis. This episode opens with a quick look at some of Idaho's symbols. The host, Phyllis Edmundson, is at the top of Mount Baldy. She begins with establishing Idaho's relative and actual position in the world.

The video goes on to review some of the sites of early Idaho settlements. It then looks at mining and timber areas. Transportation has always been a challenge in Idaho. The video examines the state's river and lake system, focusing on the Snake.

Next, the video looks at Idaho's many mountain ranges and their impact on settlers. It also reviews the states desert areas and range lands. In closing, the video highlights various parts of the state, state government, and lifestyles.


(Before Viewing)

  1. Look at maps and globes to help orient students to Idaho's location.
  2. Have students list all they know about the geography of Idaho. Have them group related items and label each group.
  3. Ask if students have relatives or friends in other parts of the state. Have them describe how that part of the state looks and how their lifestyles are different.

(During Viewing)

  1. How do you think these land forms affected the people who first came to Idaho?
  2. Where do you suppose they settled?
  3. How would development change an area's geography?
  4. Why do you think Idaho's capital was moved from Lewiston to Boise?
  5. Why do you think it was named the Snake River?
  6. Can you think of other ways humans have changed the environment?
  7. What kind of plants grow here?
  8. What kind of animals live here?
  9. Why do you think Idaho has two different time zones?
  10. What's the difference between a city and a county?

Geography - The study of the earth and all the living things on it
Irrigation - A way of supplying water to farm land using canals or pipes
Parallel - Imaginary lines that circle the earth to mark latitude
Vineyard - An area where grapes for making wine are grown


(After Viewing)

  1. What is Idaho's absolute location? What is it near?
  2. How are parts of the state different? Think in terms of physical AND features, economic interests, and cultural aspects. Begin a list of QUESTIONS these for each section of the state.
  3. How has human settlement changed the Idaho landscape?
  4. How do people get around Idaho? What problems have they encountered in trying to get around? How have they solved transportation problems?
  5. What is it like to live in different parts of the state? How and why have regions formed? Are there "regions" within your area?
  1. Make a relief map of Idaho using the following recipe for the base:

Cornstarch clay: 2 parts table salt; 1 part cornstarch; 1 part water. Mix and cook over low heat until stiff. Add a few drops of cooking oil to delay drying. Shape map relief when clay is cool. Dry for 2 days. Food coloring may be added to any portion.

Flour and water paste: 1/4 cup flour; 1 cup water. Mix thin and runny. Add 5 cups hot water, gently boil, stir for 2 3 minutes until mixture thickens. Cool before using.

  1. Have the students draw on a road map how they would get from their town to three other cities in different regions of Idaho. Have them find an alternative route. Calculate the mileage of both routes.
  2. Discuss how geography affects the weather. Have students look in the newspaper to find the temperature and forecast for different parts of the state.
  3. Have the students draw a postcard depicting where they live.
  4. On the back of the postcards, have the students describe where they live and ask questions about how other people live. Mail the postcard to another fourth grade class in a different part of the state.

Materials needed:

Blank map
Master Map
Special Purpose maps (1,2,3,4)

Mystery Valley
The data on the special purpose maps are accurate to some location in Idaho. Students are to work in small groups, each with a set of maps, to explore the following question: "Where would people settle in this valley and what would they do for a living?"

Each group is given a blank map of the region depicted in the special purpose maps to sketch in their ideas in answer to the question.

Each special purpose map (1, 2, 3, and 4) is given to the group one at a time. The group then rethinks its answer to the question. Give each group about five minutes with each new map. After all the maps have been used and their responses are on the blank outline map, present the following discussion questions to them in the class group:

  1. What information caused you to change your responses to the question as you received each special purpose map?
  2. Where do you think this area is really located? (See Teacher's Master Map).