Lesson Plan

Reorganizing the 50 States

An interactive activity to help students identify the 50 states by location.
Kristin L.
Technology coordinator
Show More
My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

As students have been studying their USA states and capitals they have had some exposure to the material and are working toward mastery of placing the correct states in the correct place within a map of the USA.

Students will be able to...

  • Locate the 50 US states on a map
  • Identify each of the 50 states by their state abbreviation
Social Studies
Grades 4 – 5
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Free, Paid

Start by showing students one of the following videos to get them excited about the 50 states and their work to come.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Exploring

Students will participate in some introductory activities to familiarize themselves with the names of the 50 states and capital cities. 

Resources to teach about the 50 states may include text books, books about the 50 states from the library, maps as well as resources found online.

Some online resources that are helpful to teach the 50 states, their physical geographic location and state abbreviations are:




3 Independent Practice

Guide students toward independent work by having them continue to look at resources that will help them identify the 50 states.  Print maps of the USA for students to annotate and practice with.  These sites have some great printable maps:  https://www.teachervision.com/maps/resource/5104.html


If students have access to electronic devices and an internet connection, they can use the flashcards found on Quia to quiz themselves on the states and capitals.  Those online flashcards can be found here:


4 Guided Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Share (and force students to make a copy of) the following Google Drawing with students


In pairs or small groups, have students work collaboratively to correctly match the state abbreviation with the state on the map.  The Google Drawing that was shared with the students is interactive and students should use their mouse or touchpad to move the correct abbreviation to the correct space on the map.  

While students are working in groups teacher is walking around observing the students working and making suggestions for improvement and correcting incorrect placement.

5 Wrap Up

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Using the interactive whiteboard and the interactive GoogleDrawing as shared in the Guided Practice portion of the lesson plan, divide students into 2 teams for a little state competition.

As the map of the USA is displayed with the abbreviations for placement teacher will call upon one member of each team to correctly place the abbreviation in the state identified by the teacher.  For younger students the teacher might want to say "Illinois, IL".  For middle levels, "Illinois".  For a challenge "this state's capital is Springfield".