Lesson Plan - Get It!
Virtually all of the U.S. states have been "The West" at some point in our country's history. Because the country's westward expansion continued and eventually ended at the Pacific Ocean, we now have the West we know today. The western region is the largest in the country, covering more than half the land in the U.S. The Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and the Grand Canyon contribute to the physical beauty of this region. Let's find out what else makes the West a unique region of the U.S.
The Wild, Wild West
Have you ever wondered, "What makes the West so wild and fun?"
The West is the largest region of the United States, and consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Due to the vast amount of land covered, this region is very diverse. It spans from the tropical islands of Hawaii, to the Pacific coast of California, the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies, temperate rainforests, the Great Plains, Icecap in Alaska, and several desert regions. Watch this U.S. Geography Pacific West Region video from SchoolTube.com and learn more about the West:
Next, read this Encyclopædia Britannica article, The West.
Geography Check out the diversity in this region's landscape!
Read Western United States (the whole section including its subsections) at New World Encyclopedia.
Next, enjoy the trip as the Travel Channel identifies the Top 10 Wonders of the West.
Cities After viewing the beautiful pictures of the landscape of the West, it may be hard to believe that plenty of cities exist there as well; in fact, some of the country's largest!
Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas, Denver, Portland, and Seattle are just a few of the more familiar cities in the West. Go back to the New World Encyclopedia's Major population centers. In the most-populated cities list, Los Angeles ranks second, Phoenix sixth, San Diego eighth, and San Jose tenth. Despite having four cities in the top ten most-populated cities list, the West is still the least-populated region in the United States.
History Many western states were acquired from the French in the Louisiana Purchase. Westward expansion was a vital period in U.S. history. Read The Importance of the West to learn why (USHistory.org).
People The United States Census Bureau created these demographic maps (below) to show the dispersion of minority groups in the United States, based on the 2000 census. Notice that most of the American Indian, Hispanic, and Asian populations are located in the West:
Image, via Wikimedia Commons, is a work of a United States Census Bureau employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
Read about the Culture of the Western United States from the New World Encyclopedia to learn more.
Take your new knowledge of the West and work with some maps in the Got It? section.