Students label a map with Montana geographic features they already know. Then, they watch a video about the geography of the state. In partners, they work to label the rest of the map.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana Unit 2: Geography", which will introduce students to Montana’s unique geographical features and how they have changed over time.
3.2: Locate on a map or globe physical features (e.g., continents, oceans, mountain ranges, landforms), natural features (e.g., flora, fauna), and human features (e.g., cities, states, national borders).
Helena District 3.2: Locate states on US map; identify state; national, and other boundary lines; use maps and globes to differentiate between physical and geographic features.
- Video: Great States | Montana Geography
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of the Regions of Montana Map handout
- Distribute the Regions of Montana Map handout and divide students into pairs. Assess prior student knowledge by asking students to label with a pencil any of the following terms on the board that they and their partner can label with confidence:
- Montana’s bordering states/provinces
- Billings, Helena
- Kootenai River, Missouri River, Yellowstone River, Bitterroot River, Big Hole River, Flathead River, Clark Fork River
- Absaroka Range, Beartooth Range, Bitterroot Mountains, Coeur d’Alene Range, Garnet Range
- Then, indicate that they will be watching a short video about Montana’s geography. One partner should be filling in and correcting the map as they watch. The other partner should be taking notes on the characteristics of the Eastern and Western regions—they should not be writing down names of the specific places that are to be labeled on the map; rather, they should note general geographical traits of the region.
Play the video, Great States | Montana Geography. [4:14]
- After watching, have partners share information. Review as a whole class as needed. Point out how the Bitterroot Range separates Montana from Idaho. Contrast this jagged border with Montana’s many straight borders in order to explain the difference between “natural” and “manmade” boundaries. Natural boundaries are made by physical features, such as rivers, mountain ranges, etc. Manmade boundaries are determined by governing bodies. Sometimes, they follow longitude or latitude, and other times they are equal divisions of land by acreage.
This labeled region map includes extra features not mentioned in the video, in case students label features based on their prior knowledge.