Connecting arithmetic skills with state facts is an engaging way to make more time for cross curricular math and social studies practice that both my students and I love.
Fit it all in with Cross Curricular Math and Social Studies
I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time during the school day to “fit it all in.” Over the years, one of the ways I made more time was by including as many cross-curricular activities in my lesson plans that I could. When I taught fourth grade, our social studies instruction focused on the U.S. regions. Students needed to learn all the states and capitals from each region. To make it more fun, I wanted students to learn some of the basic facts like the state’s nickname, state animal and state bird for each state as well.
I wouldn’t have time to look at each state individually with my students…unless…it connected to another academic area. That’s why my students started completing math about the states. I love this cross curricular math and social studies activity and so do my students! You can even connect it to reading, too, by reading a book from each state.
How Math About the States Works
I love these math activities because it gives students practice with basic arithmetic skills with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. My students always benefit from this additional practice and when it is tied to learning about the states, they are more engaged, too! They have a booklet with recording information for each state. Once they complete each math worksheet, they check their answers, and then record the information they learned in their state
booklet. They also get a chance to find the state on the map and color it in.
There is even more math hidden past basic computation within this practice because students use place value skills to determine what fact goes with their answer. Below you see an example from Wyoming math. In this case, students need to take the answer and find it written correctly in written form to discover Wyoming’s capital. Other place value questions include finding the place and value of digits, rounding, and comparing the numbers.
Ways to Use Math about the States
- You can complete state math just for your state. One year, I had an Illinois birthday party for its 200th year of statehood. We completed Illinois math as part of our math practice during the party. It is easy to incorporate just your state’s page into instruction and a great way to introduce facts about your state.
- You can have students complete these pages as homework. Organize the practice based on the region you are studying or based on the math skill you are working on. Have students check their work in class and then fill out their booklets. Last year, my students completed these pages as homework tied to our read aloud. We read a book from each state and we used the matching state for math practice. You can read more about how these pages tied into my read aloud schedule here.
- You can have students jigsaw their practice. If you are learning about the Northwest states, assign each student one of the states from the Northwest to complete. For example, some students would complete math about Maine while others would complete math about Vermont. Once students finish their state, they can check their answers with other students who completed the same state. Once they are confident they have the correct answers, they share the state facts with the class. The class can record this information in the state booklet. This is a great way to differentiate skills because you can assign different states to students based on the computation practice they need.
- Use these pages as math centers. When I have students complete a state math page as center work, I like to include the answers in a manilla folder. Once they complete their work, they can check their answers right away. This is a great way to cut back on time used going over work or grading and gives students instant feedback. You can assign the state for each day or have students work through them as they go. Students can color in a state map to keep track of what states they have completed.
I love cross curricular math and social students resources (or any cross curricular!) and lessons. Math about the States has been such a fun addition to my classroom over the years. If you are interested in adding this to your lesson plans, be sure to grab Math about Illinois for FREE. This will show you the set-up of these activities. I’d love to hear about the ways you use it in your classroom!