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        Montana | Activity 6.3: Geographical Challenges and Assets for Settlement

        Students study a map of Montana, and learn the reasons people wanted to settle in the state. They then complete a map activity highlighting the positive geographical aspects of Montana that led people to settle there.

        Lesson Summary

        Students study a map of Montana, and learn the reasons people wanted to settle in the state. They then complete a map activity highlighting the positive geographical aspects of Montana that led people to settle there.

        This lesson is part of "Great States: Montana | Unit 6: Settlement & Migration to Montana," a study of how and why Montana attracted diverse settlement.

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards:

        3.2: Locate on a map or globe physical features (e.g., continents, oceans, mountain ranges, land forms) natural features (e.g., flora, fauna) and human features (e.g., cities, states, national borders).

        3.4: Describe how human movement and settlement patterns reflect the wants and needs of diverse cultures. 

        3.5: use appropriate geographic resources (e.g., atlases, databases, charts, grid systems, technology, graphs, maps) to gather information about local communities, reservations, Montana, the United States, and the world. 

        Supplemental Standards:

        Helena District 3.4: Describe how human movement and settlement patterns reflected the wants and needs of diverse cultures in Montana history. 

        Helena District 3.5: Use maps, atlases, graphs, and charts to gather and interpret information about Montana, including Montana Indian reservations. 

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Distribute the Montana Map handout and coloring tools to students.

        1. Explain to students that there are many geographical features in Montana that make it a desirable place to live.

        1. Project the map, Montana’s Topography. Name each of the following features, one at a time, pointing them out on the map as you go. Ask students if they know why the feature would be important for human settlement.

          1. Forests

          2. Water/rivers

          3. Mountains

          4. Vast land

          5. Natural beauty

        1. After each feature is discussed, explain the importance of each:

          1. Forests – beneficial for lumber to build homes, furniture, and other products. Forests are found in the mountains of Montana.

          2. Water – is plentiful in Montana and essential for farming, survival, cleaning, fishing, etc.

          3. Mountains – are common areas for hunting big game (such as deer, elk moose, goat, and mountain lions), which is beneficial for fur trading and meat to eat. Mountains are found in the western part of the state and are home to the state’s forests.

          4. Vast land – the amount of land available is also advantageous to people who want to settle somewhere with land for farming and ranching. The prairies also allow for bison hunting. The northeast corner has vast open land and prairies.

          5. Natural beauty – is an added benefit for people wanting to settle.

        1. Have students identify these areas on the map handout. Instruct students to color over prairies in green, trace rivers in blue, and outline mountains in gray or yellow. Then, have students make a key under the map with these different colors.

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