Students compare a terrain map to a population density map of Oregon in order to draw conclusions about how physical geography influences settlement patterns. Then, students label the five most populous cities in Oregon on a county map.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 1: Introduction to Oregon." In this introductory unit, students will look at what makes Oregon special. Students will learn about early Oregon history, settlement patterns, and cultural groups who live there. The materials and activities in this unit will give students a more nuanced understanding of how to set about learning about their state.
4.10: Compare and contrast varying patterns of settlements in Oregon, past and present, and consider future trends.
- Map: Oregon’s Terrain
- Map: Oregon’s Population Density
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show images to the class
- Class set of Oregon County map handout
Project the map, Oregon’s Terrain. Point out that much of the western portion of the state is flat and on rivers or the Pacific Coast. Ask students to indicate what region of the state appears to be most conducive to human settlement.
Next, project the map, Oregon’s Population Density. Indicate that the highest population density in the state is located in the flat, western regions with water access.
Distribute the Oregon County map handout and instruct students to label the cities Portland, Salem (should have a star), Eugene, Gresham, and Hillsboro (the five most populous cities in Oregon).
Show the Oregon’s Terrain map again. Guide students to the understanding that human settlement is most readily achieved in flat areas with access to fresh water for drinking, trade, and transport.