Regions of the U.S. - Midwest

Contributor: Jodi Powell. Lesson ID: 10679

The U.S. Midwest Region has several descriptive nicknames, including "Heartland," "America's Breadbasket," and "Middle America." After online research and games, you will complete 2 creative projects!


United States, United States

learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


The Breadbasket of America. Where rock and roll music began, and the Mall of America resides. Where tornadoes are frequent, and the Mt. Rushmore Memorial stands tall.

The Great Plains, the Badlands, and the Black Hills all make up this unique central section of the U.S.

Explore the geography, history, and culture of the Midwest!

map of the Midwest

  • Have you ever driven across the country?
  • Did you drive for hours and hours through flat farmlands?

 If so, you were probably in the Midwest!

The Midwest is often referred to as the Breadbasket of the United States, because so many of the country's crops are produced here.

The Midwest region of the U.S. is located in the northern central region of the country and consists of twelve states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Watch this short video about the Great Plains. Take notes as you watch this video as well as the other videos in the lesson. Continue your notetaking as you read the articles as well.

Introducing the Northern Great Plains from World Wildlife Fund:

Geography Lying just east of the Rocky Mountains, the Midwest is covered in very flat land. The flatness makes the region susceptible to tornadoes that these states experience often. In fact, Dodge City, Kansas, is considered the windiest city in the country!

The area around Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma is known as "Tornado Alley" because this area has more tornadoes than anywhere else in the country!

In addition to the flatlands, the Midwest has many natural and manmade bodies of water. Minnesota, in fact, has over 10,000 lakes, and the Midwest is home to the massive Great Lakes.

The Midwest climate has long, cold winters, and very hot summers. This climate, however, is perfect for cultivating crops.

Check out what this Midwestern United States link at the New World Encyclopedia site has to say about the geography of the Midwest. Read the first three sections: the introduction, "Geography," and "Physical features."

Watch The Midwest: Landforms and Manmade Features, from Studies Weekly, to learn more about the physical features of this region:

Cities The Midwest is home to some very large and some very historic American cities. Chicago, Illinois, another windy Midwestern city, is the third-most-populated city in the United States.

Other large cities include Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Detroit, and St. Louis. Scroll down to the Ten largest cities and metropolitan areas section at the New World Encyclopedia site to view this list.

Detroit (Motown or Motor City) is historically known for the automotive industry, and is the location where some of the nation's most popular music acts got their start.

Cleveland, Ohio, is home to the "Rock and Rock Hall of Fame," and St. Louis, Missouri, holds the iconic Gateway Arch. This 630-foot monument is the only one of its kind in the U.S.

The BuzzFeed article, 10 Midwest Cities You Should Visit, by Lara Parker, recommends ten Midwestern cities worth visiting, some that are not typically at the top of the large city list.

History The Midwest was historically home to many Native American tribes. Several of these states became a part of the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

Go back to New World Encyclopedia and read the History section to learn more.

Travel The Midwest Living article, Readers' 15 Favorite Midwest Getaways, identifies 15 don't-miss tourist destinations in the Midwest.

Now that you've been immersed in the Midwest, continue on to the Got It? section to test your knowledge!

Elephango's Philosophy

We help prepare learners for a future that cannot yet be defined. They must be ready for change, willing to learn and able to think critically. Elephango is designed to create lifelong learners who are ready for that rapidly changing future.