Read this selection about the geography of the United States.Think about the meanings of the words in bold type.
Why did Katherine Lee Bates write America the Beautiful in 1893? Can you describe America from “sea to shining sea?” We sing this song to praise this country’s land and all its beauty. It is a vast, or enormous, land of great contrasts—of mountains and valleys, of rivers and lakes, of deserts and forests, of volcanoes and tundra. It is a land of many wonders!
Begin at the Atlantic Ocean in Maine and fly over the forests, farms, and rivers of the Northeast. Head south over the Appalachian Mountains of the mid-Atlantic states. See the fertile farmlands and great forests of the Southeast. Fly farther south over the swamps and marshes, or bayous, in states along the Gulf of Mexico.
Then head west and cross the great Mississippi River to the grasslands, deserts, and ranches of the Southwest region. See the Grand Canyon carved by the Colorado River—a natural wonder of the world. Then fly to the west coast over California. You will see forests, farmlands, snow-covered mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. If you continue west, you will fly to Hawaii with its islands of huge farms, forests, and volcanoes.
WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity
Sample PDF Activity
Fly north over the Pacific to Alaska and see snow-covered Mt. McKinley— the highest mountain in North America. See huge forests, glaciers, and the tundra. Then head back over the Northwest to see the giant trees and orchards of Washington and Oregon. Fly east over the Rocky Mountains—the longest mountain range in North America. In the Rocky Mountain region, you will see snow-capped mountains, plateaus, deep valleys or gorges, and deserts. Flying over the Midwest, you see a striking change from the rest of the country. This is a land of farms and ranches, but also of hills and lowlands around the tributaries of the Mississippi. The land turns to forests and green fields in the North and the area of the Great Lakes.
As you head back to the east coast, you know you have seen the beauty of America “from sea to shining sea!”
Pieces of American Pie
Label the drawing with the vocabulary words.
Also . . .
- How would you describe something that is vast?
- What is a synonym for the word contrasts?
Pieces of American Pie, p. 2
Match the description with the vocabulary word.
- large ice forms that cover some parts of Earth ________.
- large land area with Arctic climate, frozen several inches down and bare of grass or trees ________.
- grassy swamps or marshes along a river inlet ________.
- large, enormous ________.
- differences between things ________.
- flat, straight lands high above sea level ________.
- fairly flat lands with tall grasses ________.
- soil that is good for planting crops ________.
Find on a land map a state or a region of the country for each vocabulary word or phrase.
- bayous _.
- grasslands _.
- glaciers _.
- plateaus _.
- fertile farmlands _.
- tundra _.
- deserts _.
- vast forests _.
How many other words can you find in the selection that describe the geography of the United States?
Pieces of American Pie – Answer Key
Answers read across and from top to bottom:
- Answers will vary.
- Typical answer is differences.
Answers will vary:
- Louisiana / Mississippi
- Texas / Kansas
- Nebraska / Minnesota
- Georgia / California
- Arizona / New Mexico
- Washington / New York