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South Dakota for Teachers and Travelers

Updated on December 30, 2015
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Are you looking for fun worksheets, books, video clips, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about South Dakota? Included are links to wonderful worksheets, book suggestions for children, YouTube videos, DVD and CD recommendations, and more -- all related to the state of South Dakota! This is part of a series of pages I created while teaching about the fifty states. You can find the links for my pages for each of the 50 states at Teaching the 50 States of America .

Have You Visited South Dakota Yet?

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Mount Rushmore Image Credit: http://www.theexpressionist.com/
Mount Rushmore Image Credit: http://www.theexpressionist.com/

What Makes This State Special: Mount Rushmore

In order to generate tourism in South Dakota, sculptor Gutzon Borglum carved the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln into Mount Rushmore. He passed away before it was completed, so his son lead his father's crew in finishing the sculpture.

Tour of Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Our Favorite Picture Book on Mount Rushmore

Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore
Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore

This was our favorite picture book about the creation of Mount Rushmore. It is told from the perspective of Lincoln Borglum, the son of sculptor Gutzon Borglum. It is written in an interesting manner and has wonderful illustrations!

 
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Four Famous Faces by Jean L.S. Patrick - Images are from amazon.comWho Carved the Mountain?: The Story of Mount Rushmore by Jean L. S. PatrickMount Rushmore by Thomas Kingsley TroupeMount Rushmore by Marion Dane BauerCurious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H. A. Rey
Four Famous Faces by Jean L.S. Patrick - Images are from amazon.com
Four Famous Faces by Jean L.S. Patrick - Images are from amazon.com
Who Carved the Mountain?: The Story of Mount Rushmore by Jean L. S. Patrick
Who Carved the Mountain?: The Story of Mount Rushmore by Jean L. S. Patrick
Mount Rushmore by Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Mount Rushmore by Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Mount Rushmore by Marion Dane Bauer
Mount Rushmore by Marion Dane Bauer
Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H. A. Rey
Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H. A. Rey

Additional Great Children's Picture Books on Mount Rushmore

Four Famous Faces by Jean L.S. Patrick is a cute picture book about a group of animal friends explore the state of South Dakota and eventually discover Mount Rushmore. It includes more than just Mount Rushmore. We also enjoyed the following picture books: Who Carved the Mountain?: The Story of Mount Rushmore by Jean L. S. Patrick, Mount Rushmore by Thomas Kingsley Troupe, Mount Rushmore by Marion Dane Bauer (a simple reader), and Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H. A. Rey (just for fun because he flies his hot air balloon over Mount Rushmore).

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Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #1: The Mount Rushmore Calamity by Jeff Brown - Images are from amazon.comThe Mystery at Mount Rushmore (Real Kids! Real Places!) by Carole Marsh Run for the Hills, Geronimo! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 47) by Geronimo Stilton Message in the Mountain (Time Spies) by Candice RansomRushmore by Lynn Curlee
Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #1: The Mount Rushmore Calamity by Jeff Brown - Images are from amazon.com
Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #1: The Mount Rushmore Calamity by Jeff Brown - Images are from amazon.com
The Mystery at Mount Rushmore (Real Kids! Real Places!) by Carole Marsh
The Mystery at Mount Rushmore (Real Kids! Real Places!) by Carole Marsh
Run for the Hills, Geronimo! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 47) by Geronimo Stilton
Run for the Hills, Geronimo! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 47) by Geronimo Stilton
Message in the Mountain (Time Spies) by Candice Ransom
Message in the Mountain (Time Spies) by Candice Ransom
Rushmore by Lynn Curlee
Rushmore by Lynn Curlee

Our Favorite Chapter Books on Mount Rushmore

Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #1: The Mount Rushmore Calamity by Jeff Brown (96 pages) is part of a fun series that is great for if your children are ready to move on from The Magic Tree House series level. In this book Flat Stanley and his family visit Mount Rushmore and have a Wild West adventure. The Mystery at Mount Rushmore (Real Kids! Real Places!) by Carole Marsh (158 pages) This is about a group of children who solve a mystery while learning all about the history and geography of South Dakota. Run for the Hills, Geronimo! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 47) by Geronimo Stilton (128 pages) is about an adventurous mouse who goes on a treasure hunt in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is part of a cute series. Message in the Mountain (Time Spies) by Candice Ransom (144 pages) is about a group of children who travel back in time to 1934 so they can help Gutzon Borglum as he sculpts Mount Rushmore. Rushmore by Lynn Curlee (48 pages) is actually a picture book rather than a chapter book, but it has so many words that only my older children were interested in reading it.

Sue T-Rex Image Credit: http://www.dinotalk.com/
Sue T-Rex Image Credit: http://www.dinotalk.com/

What Makes This State Special: Dinosaurs Like T-Rex Sue

Numerous fossilized remains have been found around the state including the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex, Sue.

A Dinosaur Named Sue: The Find of the Century (Hello Reader!, Level 4) (Scholastic Reader Level 3) by Fay Robinson with the SUE Science Team of The Field Museum - Image is from amazon.com
A Dinosaur Named Sue: The Find of the Century (Hello Reader!, Level 4) (Scholastic Reader Level 3) by Fay Robinson with the SUE Science Team of The Field Museum - Image is from amazon.com

Our Favorite Children's Books on Sue the T-Rex

Do note that all of these books contain "millions of years." I just changed those words. Our favorite book on Sue was A Dinosaur Named Sue: The Find of the Century (Hello Reader!, Level 4) (Scholastic Reader Level 3) by Fay Robinson with the SUE Science Team of The Field Museum. We also enjoyed reading A T. Rex Named Sue: Sue Hendrickson's Huge Discovery by Natalie Lunis, Digging Up Dinosaurs (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Aliki, and Dinosaur Named Sue: The World's Most Complete T. Rex by Pat Relf.

Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial | Source

What Makes This State Special: The Crazy Horse Monument

Not far from Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument is getting carved. It is a slower process because the sculptures refuse to use federal funds for the project. When finished, the monument will be the world's largest sculpture.

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What Makes This State Special: The Black Hills

Seen from a distance, the Black Hills, rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie, appear black. Gold has been found and mined there.

The Corn Palace Image Credit: http://www.cornpalace.com/index.php
The Corn Palace Image Credit: http://www.cornpalace.com/index.php

What Makes This State Special: The Corn Palace

The Corn Palace in Mitchell is decorated with "Crop Art." The murals decorating the building are made from corn and other grains.

Animals of South Dakota: Bison & Black-Footed Ferrets

Bison Image Credit: http://www.doorsopening.wordpress.com/
Bison Image Credit: http://www.doorsopening.wordpress.com/

What Makes This State Special: Bison and Black-Footed Ferrets

Custer State Park is home to a herd of 1,500 free-roaming bison. Also, an attempt to repopulate the endangered black-footed ferret is underway in the state.

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Buffalo Music by Tracey E. Fern - All images are from amazon.com unless otherwise notes.Bison at Hollow Hill by Drema HazelwoodGrandfather Buffalo by Jim Arnosky (This image is from scholastic.com.)Phantom of the Prairie: Year of the Black-Footed Ferret by Jonathan LondonWild and Free: The Story of a Black-Footed Ferret (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection) by Jo Ellen C. Bosson
Buffalo Music by Tracey E. Fern - All images are from amazon.com unless otherwise notes.
Buffalo Music by Tracey E. Fern - All images are from amazon.com unless otherwise notes.
Bison at Hollow Hill by Drema Hazelwood
Bison at Hollow Hill by Drema Hazelwood
Grandfather Buffalo by Jim Arnosky (This image is from scholastic.com.)
Grandfather Buffalo by Jim Arnosky (This image is from scholastic.com.)
Phantom of the Prairie: Year of the Black-Footed Ferret by Jonathan London
Phantom of the Prairie: Year of the Black-Footed Ferret by Jonathan London
Wild and Free: The Story of a Black-Footed Ferret (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection) by Jo Ellen C. Bosson
Wild and Free: The Story of a Black-Footed Ferret (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection) by Jo Ellen C. Bosson

Our Favorite Books on Animals of South Dakota

Buffalo Music by Tracey E. Fern actually takes place in Texas rather than South Dakota, but it was our favorite book on buffalo (bison). It is about a pioneer woman who raises and protects orphan bison and eventually sends some to repopulate the species in Yellowstone National Park. We also enjoyed reading Bison at Hollow Hill by Drema Hazelwood and Grandfather Buffalo by Jim Arnosky. Phantom of the Prairie: Year of the Black-Footed Ferret by Jonathan London and Wild and Free: The Story of a Black-Footed Ferret (Smithsonian Wild Heritage Collection) by Jo Ellen C. Bosson are both wonderful picture books that describe the life of a black-footed ferret.

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What Makes This State Special: Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park has almost 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes.

South Dakota's State Flag and State Quarter

South Dakota's state flag is sky blue. It contains the state seal, which is surrounded by gold triangles representing the sun's rays. South Dakota used to be nicknamed "The Sunshine State" before it became known as "Mount Rushmore State." The state seal, in the center of the flag, includes a river with a boat, a farmer and cattle, a hill, and a mine. The represent South Dakota's industries and natural resources.

South Dakota's state quarter features Mount Rushmore, the state bird (a ring-necked pheasant), and the state grass (wheat).

Our Favorite Children's Books on South Dakota

Our Favorite Picture Book on South Dakota

M is for Mount Rushmore: A South Dakota Alphabet (Discover America State by State)
M is for Mount Rushmore: A South Dakota Alphabet (Discover America State by State)

This is my favorite series on individual states. Each page has a simple rhyme concerning the word starts with that letter and then includes a bit more about that particular regional animal, location, etc. It provides a wonderful overview of what makes each state unique. Both modern and historical aspects of the state are includes. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful!

 
Dakota Dugout by Ann Turner
Dakota Dugout by Ann Turner

More Good Picture Books on South Dakota

Dakota Dugout by Ann Turner could take place in North or South Dakota. A grandmother tells her granddaughter what life was like when she first got married and lived as a pioneer in a dugout on the Dakota prairie. Also look for My Prairie Year: Based on the Diary of Elenore Plaisted by Brett Harvey, Alfred Visits South Dakota by Missie Mcpherson, and How to Draw South Dakota's Sights and Symbols by Stephanie True Peters.

Best Book for Preschoolers, Toddlers, and/or Babies

Good Night South Dakota (Good Night Our World)
Good Night South Dakota (Good Night Our World)

This is perfect if you have a preschooler or younger. It's a sturdy board book that features what is notable about South Dakota. It includes places such as Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Black Hills National Forest, Corn Palace, Wind Cave National Park, and more.

 

Our Favorite Chapter Book on South Dakota

Wright on Time, Book 4: South Dakota
Wright on Time, Book 4: South Dakota

(126 pages) This is part of a fun series about a homeschooling family who is traveling to each of the 50 states in their RV. In each state they solve mysteries as they visit the main sites of the state and learn about them. In this book they visit South Dakota and learn about the main sites and the history of the state -- all while trying to solve a mystery!

 
Little Town on the Prairie (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Image is from amazon.com
Little Town on the Prairie (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Image is from amazon.com

Chapter Books Related to South Dakota

Little Town on the Prairie (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder (320 pages) is the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's time in De Smet, South Dakota. Also look for her other books that take place in South Dakota: The Long Winter (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder (352 pages), These Happy Golden Years (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder (304 pages), and On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 by Laura Ingalls Wilder (120 pages). We listened to the entire Little House Series on audio CD and loved it! Prairie Winter by Bonnie Geisert (224 pages) is part of a trilogy based on the events of the author as she grew up on a farm in a small town in South Dakota during the 1950's. Grasshopper Summer by Ann Turner (176 pages) takes place in 1874. It is about an 11 year old boy and his family as they move to the Dakota Territory and must deal with the grasshopper plague.

Our Favorite Free Worksheets and Lapbook Pages on South Dakota

A page from my son's notebook on South Dakota
A page from my son's notebook on South Dakota

Great Worksheets and Lapbooks on South Dakota That We Used When Creating Notebooks on Individual States

All About South Dakota provides great links to printable worksheets, book suggestions, and activity ideas about South Dakota.

South Dakota for Teachers includes wonderful printable worksheets, activity ideas, and book suggestions.

South Dakota State Facts & Trivia lists numerous points of interest about South Dakota. The site also includes a number of helpful worksheets, links, and information.

Good Family-Friendly Video Clips Giving an Overview of the State

Excellent Overview of the State

When searching out YouTube video clips that provided helpful information about South Dakota and were completely child-friendly, these were our favorites.

History Channel States Documentary: South Dakota starts at 32:51.

Aerial Footage of South Dakota by Skyworks

Where is Pierre, the capital of South Dakota?

A markerPierre, South Dakota -
Pierre, SD 57501, USA
get directions

© 2012 iijuan12

What do you first think of when you think of South Dakota? - Or just let me know you dropped by. I LOVE getting feedback from you!

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      iijuan12 5 months ago from Florida

      We hope to see Mount Rushmore someday -- and getting to pair it with seeing Calgary would be marvelous! Thank you!

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      Mary LB Duncan 5 months ago

      Planning to see Mount Rushmore on the way back from Calgary visiting cousins in Canada. I'm a retired teacher but still tutoring and will use some of your ideas. Thanks.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Seems to be a beautiful. Videos are present quite interesting images and the animals are wonderful!