Regions of the United States: Midwest

Contributor: Jodi Powell. Lesson ID: 10679

Discover why the U.S. Midwest region has several descriptive nicknames, including Heartland, America's Breadbasket, and Middle America.


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!

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Known as the Breadbasket of America, where rock and roll music began, the Mall of America resides, 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 called the Breadbasket of the United States because so many 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 about the Great Plains. Continue your note taking throughout the lesson.

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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.

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!

Besides the flatlands, the Midwest has many natural and artificial bodies of water. Minnesota has over 10,000 lakes, and the Midwest is home to the massive Great Lakes.

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

Discover more about the geography of Midwestern United States. Stop reading after the Physical features subtopic.

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The Midwest is home to some very large and 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.Explore the Ten largest cities and metropolitan areas of the Midwest to see their populations.

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

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.

Check out 10 Midwest Cities You Should Visit to discover some that are not typically at the top of the large city list.

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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.

Read all the sections on the History of the Midwest to learn more.


Check this slide show of 25 Perfect Weekend Getaways for don't-miss tourist destinations in the Midwest.

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

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