July 08, 2008

US Geography: The Lucrative Way

My eight year old discovered the state quarters recently, when his great-aunt from Arizona gave him a newly minted Arizona quarter. Since then he has become some what obsessed with his collection of state quarters.

His collection has grown rapidly. He hit up his grandfather for quarters and came away a great start to the collection. He's been doing extra chores and saving change to buy state quarters from his parents and when we recently went to a grown-up friend's birthday party, he told the guests he was collecting the quarters and came home with eleven he didn't have yet.

If he were only collecting coins, this wouldn't be much of an educational experience, but he's used his collection to start an interest in the history of the states and when they joined the Union, and also US geography. Thanks to a book called the Scrambled States of America and his quarter collection, he's really getting a sense of the US, where the states are located and generally what's what.

This morning I offered to print out a blank map for him so he could fill in the states. He was thrilled at the idea and sat right down to fill it out. He wasn't perfect. He mixed up New Hampshire and Vermont and on the first try moved Georgia to Missouri. He also needed to be reminded that state names are proper nouns.

I didn't start learning states and their capitols until fifth grade, so I think my rising third grader is doing pretty well, but I always new he was a kid who liked to learn on his own and he needs only a little help a guidance to get ahead. I didn't devise this US geography lesson, but I think it has actually been a great system for getting a kid interested in the States. The knowledge he's gained has been rather costly to his friends and relatives though.


I dunno - moving states seems like it could have benefits. Maybe we could move certain politically leaning states to where they truly belong.

Say, California to Cuba, for instance? It would certainly cut the travel time to go see my in-laws.

Posted by: skinnydan at July 8, 2008 08:27 AM

I say lets move em haha

Posted by: Kelset at July 8, 2008 11:14 AM

Scrambled States is one of our bed-time regulars. I usually read it doing my Hal Holbrook voice, which seems to fit pretty well.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at July 8, 2008 11:42 AM

Since you're interested in art, you could debate the merits of the various state motifs on the backs of the quarters.

Virginia's is a lovely flotilla of ships. Louisiana's is a mishmash of mixed themes.

Posted by: Janis Gore at July 8, 2008 03:53 PM

When we drove to OH to visit my family, I printed a map for Jay and outlined the states as well as wrote the state names prominently. Paul had already told him we were going on 77, so he had that down and can still locate I-77 on a US map. It's good, not just for geography, but for reading and math, the way I see it ;)

Posted by: Lenise at July 10, 2008 07:26 AM