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U.S. Puzzle Map
Bulletin Board



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
    --Visual Arts
  • Social Studies


  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Research the states, then create a U.S. puzzle map bulletin board for fun and reference.



  • learn and write about U.S. states -- their similarities, differences, and what makes them unique.
  • understand each state's location in relation to its neighbors.


U.S., states, map, region, United States

Materials Needed

  • U.S. outline map (see resources below)
  • overhead projector or computer projector
  • colored construction paper
  • white drawing paper
  • crayons, markers

Lesson Plan

In this lesson students will create a U.S. puzzle map by tracing the outlines of individual states on chart paper or drawing paper. They will cut out the states and write "state reports" inside the cut-out shapes. Then students will put together their state puzzle pieces to form a large U.S. map on a bulletin board or wall.

Creating the Puzzle Pieces
Project a U.S. outline map (alternate map) onto a wall or bulletin board. Project the online resource directly from your computer or print the map onto a transparency and use an overhead projector to project the map on the wall. Be sure the projector remains stationary so the states remain in perspective as they are traced. Hang chart paper or construction paper so each student can trace the state that he or she is charged with researching. After tracing the state, students will cut out the state around its outline.

Writing State Reports
Each student will write a brief report about his/her state on the outline of the state. You might allow students to choose the format for their state reports or you might ask that all students include the same information (for example, state name, state population, state capital marked with a gold star, largest city, state nickname from its license plate, state flower, state animal, chief products, a drawing of the state flag, famous people from the state). Students who are writing about smaller states might need to write their reports on a separate sheet of paper; those papers can be posted outside the U.S. border areas and a strip of paper might connect the report to the location of that state on the map. If you have a class of about 25 students, each student might be responsible for writing two reports; you might assign each student one small state and one larger one.

Creating the "U.S. Map Puzzle" Bulletin Board
Have each student mount his/her state outline on a large sheet of colored construction paper. Then students will trim the construction paper to create a one-inch border around all edges of the states' borders. That way, when the map puzzle pieces are posted, there will be clear delineation between states; the colored paper edging around each state will break up and add some color to the "sea of white state puzzle pieces." When it comes time to put the puzzle pieces together, start with the east- or west-coast states and move in the opposite direction. Project a U.S. map for students to use as a guide and have students mount their state(s) in the proper position relative to its neighboring states.


You might create a quiz/work sheet with questions about the states. The questions should be based on the information on the class's U.S. Map Puzzle bulletin board. Students will use the bulletin board as a resource as they answer the questions.

Have students use the bulletin board as a resource for filling out a U.S. outline map (source 1, source 2). Did they fill in the state names correctly?

Students in the intermediate grades and above might take an online test. Can they correctly place all 50 states on an outline map of the U.S.? Use the online resource, Place the State, for this purpose. This map game/activity keeps score as students drag state maps into position.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards 

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
\NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions

See more Lesson Plans of the Day in our Lesson Plan of the Day Archive. (There you can search for lessons by subject too.)

For additional social studies lesson plans, see these Education World resources:

  • Lesson Planning: Social Studies
  • Social Studies Subject Center
  • Teacher-Submitted Lesson Plans: Social Studies
  • Geography A to Z
  • Where in the World Is Mrs. Waffenschmidt?
  • Mystery State
  • Work Sheets from Teacher Created Materials: Social Studies

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    Copyright © 2005 Education World

    Originally published 10/26/2005
    Last updated 11/24/2008