The Fascinating North Central Region

Contributor: Ryann Maginn. Lesson ID: 12358

Have you ever seen a plain? Not a "plane" in the sky, but a flat land? Do you know what a "breadbasket" is? Visit the Midwestern Region of the United States to find food, fun, and lots of large lakes!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • What area of the United States has few trees but lots of wheat, hot summers and frigid winters, dry land and huge lakes?

The North Central Region, better known as the Midwest, is known for its temperate weather and plentiful crops.

The soil in the Midwest is ideal for farmers growing corn, soy, and wheat. One state in this region, Wisconsin, is famous for the cheese that is produced there.

Review the map below to see the 12 states that make up the Midwest:

Midwest states

The states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan all have borders along the Great Lakes to the north. This area is considered the "East North Central Region."

Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas are part of the "Great Plains States" because of their flat, treeless, shortgrass lands. These states are also thought of as the "West North Central Region."

Minnesota is the largest state in the Midwest; however, Chicago, Illinois, is considered the most populated city in the region.

Major landforms

The Great Plains

  • As described above, the Great Plains are large, flat grasslands that contain rich soil. In addition to the soil, the climate in this region is ideal for growing grains; that is why it is called the "Breadbasket of North America."
  • This area makes up the largest biome in North America, where grass can grow as tall as seven feet high.

A biome is a naturally-occurring community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment in which they exist.

Great Plains

Great Lakes

  • The Great Lakes in the Midwest include Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior. These famous lakes contain up to 250 species of fish.

(For more information about the Great Lakes, visit the Elephango lessons found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.)

  • A fun way to remember each of these lakes is by using the acronym HOMES:
    • Huron
    • Ontario
    • Michigan
    • Erie
    • Superior

Great Lakes lighthouse


People living in the Midwest are able to experience all four seasons.

The summers can be very hot and humid. In the fall, the days are crisp and the leaves on trees begin to change color. The winter months in this region can be very cold with blistering snow. Finally, the spring is warm with frequent precipitation.

Since this region is prone to the weather conditions of all four seasons, it can also experience extreme weather such as thunderstorms and tornadoes.

As you watch The Great Plains, from Studies Weekly, take notes of interesting facts you learn as well as major landforms and what this region is known for:

  • If you were a farmer in the Midwest, what type of farm would you want?
  • Would you be a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and make delicious cheeses?
  • Or would you want to grow corn in Illinois?

Move on to the Got It? section to test your knowledge of the Midwest.

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