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West Virginia Lesson and Classroom Resources

Updated on June 2, 2016
Image credit of the New River Gorge Bridge: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/west-virginia-guide/
Image credit of the New River Gorge Bridge: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/west-virginia-guide/

Are you looking for fun worksheets, books, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about West Virginia? Included are links to wonderful worksheets, book suggestions for children, YouTube videos, and more -- all related to the state of West Virginia! Whether you're a school teacher, homeschooling parent, involved parent, librarian, lifelong learner, or a student searching for ideas and books on West Virginia, look no further! 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 .

I have been to West Virginia. Have you?

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Image credit of Berkeley Springs: http://www.berkeleyspringssp.com/
Image credit of Berkeley Springs: http://www.berkeleyspringssp.com/

What Makes This State Special: Natural Springs

West Virginia has more than 200 natural springs. One of its most famous natural springs, Berkeley Springs, was a favorite vacation spot of George Washington. The springs flow out at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit and were once believed to help relieve various maladies.

Berkeley Springs State Park Warm Mineral Springs

Coal Mining Image Credit: http://www.2daynewsupdates.blogspot.com/
Coal Mining Image Credit: http://www.2daynewsupdates.blogspot.com/

What Makes This State Special: Coal Mining

West Virginia is known for it's coal mines. It is the second biggest coal producing state in the country (after Montana), producing 15% of the nation's coal production. Coal mining has shaped the lives of those living in the state for many years, and it continues to do so today.

This shows a coal mining operation in PA rather than WV, but it is the best clip I could find on coal mining.

Source

What Makes This State Special: The New River Gorge Bridge

The picturesque New River Gorge Bridge is the longest steel arch bridge in the world. Every October on Bridge Day, the bridge is closed to traffic to allow people to parachute & bungee cord jump off the bridge.

Golden Delicious apple
Golden Delicious apple | Source

What Makes This State Special: Golden Delicious Apples

In 1905 the Golden Delicious variety of apple was created on the Mullins' family farm in Clay County, West Virginia. It is locally known as Mullin's Yellow Seedling. Fun fact: As of 2010, the Golden Delicious apple has the highest number of genes (57,000) of any plant genome.

What Makes This State Special: Tall Tale Figures John Henry and Tony Beaver

John Henry was rumored to have raced and won against a steam-powered hammer while working on a railroad tracks through West Virginia. Tony Beaver was the supposed cousin of Paul Bunyan.

Harper's Ferry
Harper's Ferry | Source

What Makes This State Special: Harper's Ferry

Harper's Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia is most well know for John Brown's Raid in 1859 when the abolitionist led 21 men to raid the arsenal.

Model of James Rumsey's steamboat image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmpowell/3782412725/
Model of James Rumsey's steamboat image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmpowell/3782412725/

What Makes This State Special: The invention of the Steamboat

In 1787, James Rumsey launched his new invention, a steamboat, on part of the Potomac River in what is now West Virginia.

West Virginia's State Flag and Quarter

West Virginia's State flag is white (symbolizing purity) with a blue border (symbolizing the Union.) It has Rhododendron maximum wreathes, which are the state flower and includes red ribbons with the state's name and its Latin motto which translates to mean "Mountaineers are always free."The center has an boulder covered in ivy and includes the date of West Virginia's admission to the Union as a state. It has two crossed hunting rifles and a Phrygian Cap of Liberty to represent its fight for liberty. A farmer (with an ax, plow, and cornstalk) and a miner (with a pickax, anvil, and sledge hammer) represent agriculture and industry.

West Virginia's State quarter features the New River Gorge Bridge.

Our Favorite Children's Books on West Virginia

Our Favorite Picture Books on West Virginia

M is for Mountain State: A West Virginia Alphabet (Discover America State by State)
M is for Mountain State: A West Virginia 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!

 
When I Was Young in the Mountains (Reading Rainbow Books)
When I Was Young in the Mountains (Reading Rainbow Books)

This is the story of the childhood of the author living with her grandparents in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. In the story her grandfather is a coal miner, her grandmother kills a large snake, she gets baptized at the local swimming hole, and more.

 
Click thumbnail to view full-size
John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads (Audio CD Included) (The John Denver & Kids Series) by John Denver - Images are from amazon.com.John Henry (Picture Puffins) by Julius LesterTony Beaver Griddle Skater by Elizabeth and Carl Carmer A is for Appalachia: The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage by Linda Hager PackAppalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia RylantSilver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia RylantThe Rag Coat by Lauren MillsNight in the Country by Cynthia RylantHow to Draw West Virginia's Sights and Symbols (Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Stephanie True Peters
John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads (Audio CD Included) (The John Denver & Kids Series) by John Denver - Images are from amazon.com.
John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads (Audio CD Included) (The John Denver & Kids Series) by John Denver - Images are from amazon.com.
John Henry (Picture Puffins) by Julius Lester
John Henry (Picture Puffins) by Julius Lester
Tony Beaver Griddle Skater by Elizabeth and Carl Carmer
Tony Beaver Griddle Skater by Elizabeth and Carl Carmer
A is for Appalachia: The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage by Linda Hager Pack
A is for Appalachia: The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage by Linda Hager Pack
Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant
Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant
Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant
Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant
The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills
Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant
How to Draw West Virginia's Sights and Symbols (Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Stephanie True Peters
How to Draw West Virginia's Sights and Symbols (Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Stephanie True Peters

More of Our Favorite Picture Books on West Virginia

John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads (Audio CD Included) (The John Denver & Kids Series) by John Denver includes the lyrics of John Denver's song set to quilt-like illustrations of the county roads of West Virginia. The illustrations follow a family as they head to a family reunion. A CD with John Denver's song is included.

John Henry (Picture Puffins) by Julius Lester was our favorite picture book about John Henry. My children love tall tales, so we also read "John Henry, Hammerin' Hero: The Graphic Novel" by Stephanie True Retold by: Peters, "John Henry" by Brad Kessler, and "John Henry: An American Legend" by Ezra Jack Keats.

Tony Beaver Griddle Skater by Elizabeth and Carl Carmer was our favorite book on Tony Beaver. We also enjoyed reading "Tony Beaver - West Virginian" by Mary E. Cober and "The Song of Paul Bunyan and Tony Beaver" by Ennis Rees.

A is for Appalachia: The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage by Linda Hager Pack has delightful, folksy illustrations and focuses on the history of West Virginia.

Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds by Cynthia Rylant is a sweet description of life in Appalachia.

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant tells the story of a boy's anticipation of annual visit of "The Santa Train," (which does actually exist) as it brings gifts to the poorest children. After he grows up, he returns to his hometown to assist with bringing joy to the local children.

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills is about a young girl who cannot attend school after her coal-mining father dies of lung disease - because she does not own a coat. Local moms quilt a coat for her, so she can go to school. The children tease her abourt her coat, but she explains how the community came together to make her coat.

Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant describes the common nighttime scenes of the Appalachian area including fireflies, cool nights, and more.

How to Draw West Virginia's Sights and Symbols (Kid's Guide to Drawing America) by Stephanie True Peters is a wonderful book that combines geography with simple art lessons. Each page includes a photo of a symbol of the state, a description about that item, and them step-by-step instructions on drawing it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
You Wouldn't Want to Be a 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!: A Dangerous Job You'd Rather Not Have by John Malam - Images are from amazon.com.Shovelful of Sunshine (Mom's Choice Award Recipient) by Stacie Vaughn Hutton Boy of the Deeps by Ian WallaceAmerica at Work: Mining by Ann LoveIn Coal Country by Judith Hendershot
You Wouldn't Want to Be a 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!: A Dangerous Job You'd Rather Not Have by John Malam - Images are from amazon.com.
You Wouldn't Want to Be a 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!: A Dangerous Job You'd Rather Not Have by John Malam - Images are from amazon.com.
Shovelful of Sunshine (Mom's Choice Award Recipient) by Stacie Vaughn Hutton
Shovelful of Sunshine (Mom's Choice Award Recipient) by Stacie Vaughn Hutton
Boy of the Deeps by Ian Wallace
Boy of the Deeps by Ian Wallace
America at Work: Mining by Ann Love
America at Work: Mining by Ann Love
In Coal Country by Judith Hendershot
In Coal Country by Judith Hendershot

Great Picture Books on Coal Mining

You Wouldn't Want to Be a 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!: A Dangerous Job You'd Rather Not Have by John Malam provides a humorous but educational look at what life was like for coal miners in the 1800's. It is a longer picture book but even my younger children enjoyed listening to the book, and my oldest child loved the comical illustrations and comments. It takes place in England, but the information about coal mining is the same as what a coal miner in West Virginia would experience. We also enjoyed reading Shovelful of Sunshine (Mom's Choice Award Recipient) by Stacie Vaughn Hutton, Boy of the Deeps by Ian Wallace, America at Work: Mining by Ann Love, and In Coal Country by Judith Hendershot.

Chapter Books Related to West Virginia

Shiloh (The Shiloh Quartet)
Shiloh (The Shiloh Quartet)

(144 pages) This Newbery Award winning book is about an 11 year old boy in West Virginia. He comes across an abused beagle and must decide between keeping the dog or returning it to its unkind owners. This book describes aspects of living in rural West Virginia.

 

More Chapter Books Related to West Virginia

A Blue-Eyed Daisy by Cynthia Rylant (112 pages) is about a young girl living in a coal-mining town in West Virginia. Her father, a coal miner, drinks too much, and her family is not supportative. It includes her struggles as she grows into a teenager.

But I'll Be Back Again by Cynthia Rylant (80 pages) is an autobiography about the author growing up in West Virginia.

The Coffin Quilt: The Feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys by Ann Rinaldi (240 pages) describes the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys along the Kentucky - West Virginia line.

Star Fisher by Laurence Yep (160 pages) is about a fifteen year old girl who is a Chinese American. Her family moves to a small town in West Virginia in 1927, and they must make many adjustments as they come across prejudice. Also look for Dream Soul, which is the sequel to this novel.

If you're looking for chapter books related to coal mining, try to find Coal Camp Girl by Lois Lenski, Canary in the Coal Mine by Madelyn Rosenberg, and Up Molasses Mountain by Julie Baker.

Free Worksheets and Lapbook Pages We Used When Making a Notebook About West Virginia

One of the pages from my son's notebook on West Virginia
One of the pages from my son's notebook on West Virginia

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

West Virginia for Teachers includes wonderful printable worksheets, activity ideas, and book suggestions.

Lapbook for "When I Was Young in the Mountains" offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for "When I Was Young in the Mountains" by Cynthia Rylant. This is the story of the childhood of the author living with her grandparents in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. In the story her grandfather is a coal miner, her grandmother kills a large snake, she gets baptized at the local swimming hole, and more.

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

More Good Video Clips Giving an Overview of West Virginia

The History Channel States: West Virginia starts at 32:57.

This is Our West Virginia

Where is Charleston, the capital of West Virginia?

A markerCharleston, West Virginia -
Charleston, WV, USA
get directions

Have you ever been to West Virginia? Did I miss any great resources on West Virginia? - Or just let me know you dropped by. I LOVE getting feedback from you!

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    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

      Very beautiful!

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 5 years ago

      Haven't been there, but I would like to see it in the future

    • sociopath-free profile image

      sociopath-free 5 years ago

      I've passed through. That first pic of the bridge and clouds is spectacular.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Very nise!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a resource you have shared here.

    • profile image

      jessicahoward 5 years ago

      that was very beautiful and sure i will visit it in near by future.......thanks for sharing nice information.................

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      The outdoors in West Virginia are great. Thanks for an informative lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I drove through once, on my way to Pittsburgh. The scenery was nice.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Thanks for teaching me about West Virginia. I have never been there, but would like to some time.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      West Virginia sure looks beautiful. Someday I hope to visit. Great lens with so much wonderful information. :)

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      What a great lens, itâs so full of helpful information. Thank you for sharing, I learned a lot here. Congratulations on making Popular Pages - Featured Lenses.

    • MoniqueDesigns profile image

      MoniqueDesigns 5 years ago

      Great lens, I've never been there.

    • profile image

      justin-yao 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • CCTVwebmaster profile image

      CCTVwebmaster 5 years ago

      Never been, but would love to visit one day!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would like to this cool lens with my friends on Facebook, thanks for sharing.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      I like how you assembled this unit on WV, even including things that would involve the family in the learning experience.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've been to the New River Gorge bridge, it's incredible. My husband's father has rappelled off the bridge!

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 5 years ago from USA

      Several times. I live about a hour away from there.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi lot of nice places to visit in West Virginia.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I have never been, but would like to.

    • Michelle Hogan profile image

      Michelle Hogan 5 years ago

      I have been to West Virginia a number of times in the last few years and other than a few speed traps, (that have not caught me yet), I have loved every minute of my time there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      No, not yet. Bul I hope I will some day.

    • profile image

      datakrunch 5 years ago

      I haven't been to West Virginia, but it looks great.

    • nicks44 profile image

      nicks44 5 years ago

      I think you got most of them ... And did a very nice job putting them together as well. Good work with that!

    • profile image

      coolmon2009 lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens on West Virginia

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 5 years ago from State of Confussion

      Never officially visited, however have driven through. And to be honest what drew me to this lens was the Great picture that you chose.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I was born in West Virginia and now I'm having flashbacks to my sixth grade history class. That was in 1963, West Virginia's Centennial celebration year. I made a wonderful scrapbook for the occasion. We still have lots of relatives in the Mountain state so I visit when I can. Loved this lens. Thanks for the memories!

    • autofanatic profile image

      autofanatic 5 years ago

      I visited West Virginia once with a friend when I was stationed in Washington, DC. It was a beautiful and memorable drive. Thanks for the great lens.

    • profile image

      coincrazy98 5 years ago

      Great lens! As a native West Virginian I can relate to nearly all you've featured. One suggestion: Tamarack, near Beckley, features all the best of West Virginia and could prove a valuable resource for teachers or travelers. There you'll find arts & crafts, native foods, coal mining (including history), books on the state, information on all its wonders and natural resources, and much more. It's quite an impressive facility.

    • Lareene profile image

      Lareene 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Very good lens thanks.

    • stennajohns profile image

      stennajohns 5 years ago

      It's Look Amazing

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      I've only been to Nevada and neighbouring California

    • profile image

      seemarahate 5 years ago

      thanks for share!

    • GaryHollingsworth profile image

      GaryHollingsworth 5 years ago

      West Virginia is such a beautiful state. Great lens.

    • bjesparza profile image

      bjesparza 5 years ago

      Looks like a good list! Especially for any teachers out there!

    • Musicalcroc LM profile image

      Musicalcroc LM 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for the guide. If I ever travel to the U.S., this will be useful.

    • cmcyclist profile image

      cmcyclist 5 years ago

      We homeschool our kids. This will make a great reference for some of our state studies we like to do. West Virginia is a beautiful state.

    • profile image

      tonyplaysthemambo 5 years ago

      I live in West Virginia. I think a little bit more history could be used, particularly how the state was founded.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @tonyplaysthemambo: Thank you for the suggestion! Yes, how it was created during the Civil War/War of Northern Aggression is definitely important.

    • profile image

      sandi_x 4 years ago

      Great guide, I found a lot of new information.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @sandi_x: Thank you!

    • profile image

      anilsaini 4 years ago

      nice lens

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @anilsaini: Thank you!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Love the Gorge Bridge; it's a beautiful state to travel through. I live in the south but family lives up north, so I've driven the interstates in every season. There's never a bad view!

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @captainj88: Thank you for dropping by!

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