Teacher Resources for Virginia Studies



Each year, demographers at the Weldon Cooper Center develop and release the official population estimates for Virginia and its counties and independent cities to illuminate population counts between decennial censuses. These estimates, generally released at the end of January, provide the best approximation of the population count on July 1st of the prior year. Population estimates are an important tool used by a variety of state agencies in their planning processes — from developing budgets to determining salaries for public officials.http://www.coopercenter.org/demographics/virginia-population-estimates


Several articles from the 2005 Virginia Geographer, Special Issue: Virginia Studies (vol 33, no 1) may be of interest to teachers:

“Exploring Virginia’s Regions,” by Robert Morrill, Professor Emeritus of Geography, Virginia Tech.

This article discusses the concept of a region and gives examples of some of the systems that help define various types of regions.

“Virginia’s Physical Geography and Five Natural Regions,” by Susan L. Woodward, Professor Emerita of Geography, Radford University.

Descriptions and maps of landform regions, climate, and vegetation regions are provided, as well as a discussion of animal life in the state. The article ends with an overview of the role of natural regions in the colonial settlement history of Virginia.

“First Virginians: The Native Americans of Virginia” by Susan L. Woodward, Professor Emerita of Geography, Radford University.

Somewhat out of date now (Cactus Hill, for example, is not mentioned), this article nonetheless provides useful information on native peoples from PaleoIndians to the Woodland Indians present at the time of contact. The status of Virginia tribes as of 2004 is also discussed.

Open Wide, Look Inside

A blog about teaching elementary math, science and social studies, with heavy emphasis on the integration of children’s literature across the curriculum. http://blog.richmond.edu/openwidelookinside/archivepage

One entry (http://blog.richmond.edu/openwidelookinside/archives/330) deals with “There’s a Map on My Lap” a book by Tish Rabe, using Dr. Suess’s Cat in the Hat character to teach basics about map reading. You can see and hear the book read at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NazvXwWumaQ.


No Borrowed Glory by Judy Bloodgood Bander

Highly recommended by Donna Fontaine, 4th grade teacher at Westside Elementary School, Isle of Wight County Schools. It describes life during the American Revolution and includes Jack Jouett’s ride. See photos from a field trip to historic sites mentioned in the book.

The Battle of Great Bridge: “Boys, stand to your arms”

The latest booklet from Judy Bloodgood Bander. Its 39 pages delve into the history of the battle and contain some maps. Contact the author for information on obtaining a copy of the book (jbander1@verizon.net).

Books across Virginia’s 5 Regions.

An annotated list of books prepared by Donna Fontaine, 4th grade teacher, Isle of Wight County.


Do It Yourself: Some Thoughts to Consider in Lesson Plan Development,” by Robert Morrill, Professor Emeritus of Geography, Virginia Tech. (From Virginia Geographer, Special Issue: Virginia Studies–Lesson Plans, 2005)

Some ideas for integrating the geography SOLs associated with Virginia Studies (in 2004) into your lesson plans.


VGA floor map of Virginia.The map measures 8’ X 16’ and emphasizes the physical features of the state.
Order form

Cactus Hill: Pre-Clovis site on Nottoway River, Sussex County

Werowocomoco: see on new version of Virginia Atlas map (24a), “Colonization of Virginia, earliest settlements 1570-1630.”

Dismal Swamp appears on Virginia Atlas map 12

The route of Jack Jouett’s 40 mile ride from Cuckoo Tavern to Monticello and Charlottesville is well depicted on a map at http://www.jouetthouse.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=6

Great Bridge is shown on an old map at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EasternVirginia1775.jpg.

See also The Battle of Great Bridge: “Boys, stand to your arms” described under BOOKS.

An Atlas of Virginia

Maps and accompanying lesson plans produced by the VGA.

Digital Atlas of Virginia, produced by Virginia View.

Old Maps Online, provides access to some historic maps of Virginia.

Pre-1945 U.S.G.S. topographic maps of Virginia from the Perry-Casteneda Library Map Collection, The University of Texas at Austin. Most maps are from the early 20th Century, a few form late 19th Century. Most are at a scale of 1:62,500 (1 inch to the mile).

See also: Library of Virginia map collections.

COAL” is a PowerPoint presentation prepared for teachers participating in the Transect Virginia course. Prior to arriving and visiting various coal mining sites, presentations introduced teachers to the Southwest Virginia region and the coal industry. While reviewing these slides, be cognizant of the explanatory notes included with each slide.

Virginia’s official state government website: www.virginia.gov
Virginia View. http://virginiaview.cnre.vt.edu. A site devoted to remote sensing with resources to support the K-16 educational community. Includes lesson plans, some keyed to SOLs. Also see the Digital Atlas of Virginia.
Sites with information on habitats, plants and animals:

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