Title: Mapping West Virginia's Natural Resources

Author: Kathryn Stalknaker

Big Ideas: Develop mapping skills to identify and diagram regions and resources of West Virginia

Essential Question: How does geography affect natural resources in West Virginia?





SS.3.G.3 label maps to demonstrate knowledge of map skills (e.g., label cardinal directions, intermediate directions, borders, continents, oceans, equator, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, North Pole, South Pole and Prime Meridian).


SS.3.G.6 use a map scale to determine the distance between two given points.


Social Studies


SS.3.WV.3 identify 4 physical regions of West Virginia, the major communities, and the natural resources in each


English/Language Arts


ELA.3.SL.C13.3 report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an explanation with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly and at an understandable pace (CCSS.SL.3.4)

Learning Plan

Students will create a detailed map of West Virginia's 4 geographic regions and the natural resources located in each region.


Students will need background knowledge in basic mapping skills and terminology including:

Mapping Skills: Students will need to have basic map reading skills. They must have a working knowledge of terms, use of a compass rose, and the ability to determine directions using a map.

Terminology: latitude, longitude, region, rural, urban, valley, plateau, highlands, natural resources, geographic features.


Prior to lesson discuss: What type of information can be gathered from the use of a map? What information can be gathered from a map of geographic features? What information can be gathered from a natural resources map? How would geographic features and natural resources be related?


Initiate lesson by creating a list of natural resources in West Virginia and a separate list of geographic features in West Virginia. Create a *KWHL as to how the two topics are related.


*KWHL Chart - This is a chart in which students will list what they "K"now, what they "W"ant to know, "H"ow the can find out, and what they "L"earned. The first three columns are listed at the beginning of the lesson. The fourth column is completed as the lesson progresses or at completion of the lesson.


Divide students into 4 groups (1 group/region - Allegheny Highlands, Ohio River Valley, Potomac Section, Allegheny Plateau)


Distribute individual maps of West Virginia to each group.


Assign each group the tasks:

  • Locate their region on their map
  • Research and list geographic features of their region
  • Research and list natural resources of their region
  • Create a map key for features and resources


As a class discuss/decide upon map symbols that represent various geographic features (e.g., mountains, rivers, lakes, etc.). Location of map key on individual map should be determined and explained to students (e.g., lower left hand corner, lower right hand corner).


Present findings to class/Add to large class map (prior to class presentations agree on symbols for map key).

Notes to Instructor

As students are researching regions, guide students to resources necessary for collecting correct information for project completion. How will students conduct research? Using technology? Will students find their own resources or will the teacher provide the resource? If the teacher will provide these resources, what resources will be used?


Possible resources include: WV Encyclopedia, National Geographic sites, hardback encyclopedias (if available). Question students to determine understanding of collected information while working on project and during group presentations. As students are creating large class map, assure that geographic regions are correctly placed and aligned to correspond and match up with each other.


Extended activities:

Include the effects of economic development on natural resources in each region.


SS.3.E.4 use charts, maps, and other data sources to correlate occupations with the economy and the available resources of a region. Include immigration/settlement effects of natural resources on each area.


SS.3.H.CL1.2 determine settlement patterns based on natural resources


Follow up activities:


Students choose one of West Virgina's natural resources and track its process from raw material to final product.


SS.3.E.3 sequence the path of a product from the raw material to final product.


Students write a narrative story about life in their region.


Students individually complete lesson for another state and complete a class book of all 50 states.

Student Materials

Large classroom map of West Virginia


Individual maps of West Virginia


Access to the internet, encyclopedias, atlases


Pencils, colored pencils, markers