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        Idaho | Activity 2.5: How Has the Geography of Idaho Shaped Where People Settled?

        Unit 2: Geography

        Over the course of this Unit, students will come to understand that the physical environment is not static. Through geological processes and human action, seemingly fixed aspects of the landscape are constantly changing and have always been doing so. As the earth influences how people live, how people live in turn effects the earth.

        Lesson Summary

        Students study two maps of Idaho to compare settlement patterns and the terrain of the state. 

        Standards: Goal 2.1: Analyze the spatial organizations of people, places and environment on the earth’s surface. 4.SS.2.3.1 Analyze past and present settlement patterns in Idaho. 

        Time Allotment

        10 minutes



        1. Distribute the Population and Terrain Maps: Idaho handout.
        2. Ask students to look at the population map and use the legend to understand where the highly populated areas are within the state. 
        3. Have students answer the questions comparing the population map to the terrain map. Have them try to find patterns of where people live and the types of terrain that are populated versus not well populated.
        4. Discuss how the river and (if previously studied) the Oregon Trail path had an effect on settlement patterns.

        Answer Key

        1. Circles should be of the red areas on the map
        2. Rivers, access to fresh water. Low elevation, easier building grounds.
        3. Mountains, hard terrain to settle and lack of natural resources.


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