Skip to main content

Visit Michigan Now: Michigan for Teachers & Travelers

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Muskegon Pier Lighthouse

Muskegon Pier Lighthouse

Are you looking for fun worksheets and lapbooks, children's books, and You Tube video clips for teaching and/or learning about Michigan? Whether you're a school teacher, homeschooling parent, involved parent, librarian, lifelong learner, or a student searching for ideas and books on Michigan, 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 .

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes

What Makes This State Special: Fresh Water Shoreline

With 3,288 miles of fresh water shoreline, Michigan has the longest fresh water shoreline in the world. After winning the title of "The Most Beautiful Place in America" from Good Morning America in 2011, Sleeping Bear Dunes became one of the more popular shorelines among tourists. They overlook Lake Michigan. They are also popular because they are the only sand dunes east of the Mississippi River that allow for you to drive across them.

Ford Model T Assembly Line

Ford Model T Assembly Line

What Makes This State Special: Henry Ford & the Model T

At his factory in Highland Park, Henry Ford produced millions of Model T cars, which are considered to be the first automobile that was affordable to the common person. Detroit is still considered to be the car capital of the world. Today many tourists enjoy visiting the Henry Ford Museum which exhibits focusing on "America's traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation."

Henry Ford and the Model T (Inventions and Discovery) by Michael O'Hearn - Image is from

Henry Ford and the Model T (Inventions and Discovery) by Michael O'Hearn - Image is from

Our Favorite Children's Books on Henry Ford & the Model T

Henry Ford and the Model T (Inventions and Discovery) by Michael O'Hearn was our favorite picture book because it is written in comic book format (graphic illustrations) and contains plenty of historically accurate information. We also enjoyed reading Along came the Model T!: How Henry Ford put the world on wheels by Robert M Quackenbush, Eat My Dust! Henry Ford's First Race (Step into Reading) by Monica Kulling, Henry Ford: Young Man With Ideas (Childhood of Famous Americans chapter book) by Hazel B. Aird, Henry Ford: Big Wheel in the Auto Industry (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors and Scientists) by Mike Venezia, and Mama and Me and the Model T by Faye Gibbons.

Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes

Kellogg's Toasted Corn Flakes

What Makes This State Special: Kellogg's Cereal

Battle Creek is considered to be the "Cereal Capital of the World" thanks to the Kellogg brothers who founded the dry cereal industry with their toasted corn flakes.

Biography on A&E presentation of "Corn Flake Kings: The Kellogg Brothers"

Peat Image Credit:

Peat Image Credit:

What Makes This State Special: Peat

Michigan leads the nation in peat production. Peat is used for fuel and for gardening. It also leads the nation in magnesium production.

What Makes This State Special: The Historic Lumber Industry

In the late nineteenth century, Michigan was known for its lumber industry. Thousands of lumberjacks rushed to Michigan to make their fortunes felling the white pine trees, which are now the state's official tree. More money came from the lumber industry in Michigan than from the California Gold Rush. Some historians claim the legend Paul Bunyan was based on a Michigan lumberjack. Because of the booming industry, most of the white pine trees were cut down. Now most of them can only be found in state parks such as Hartwick Pines State Park.

Michigan's Lumbering History

Scroll to Continue

What Makes This State Special: Il Gavallo

Il Gavallo, a 24-foot replica of a horse statue originally planned by Leonardo da Vinci, can be seen in Grand Rapids.

What Makes This State Special: Mackinac Island

Located in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. It is one of the few places in the United States that has banned most motor vehicles. Instead, locals and tourists travel mostly by bicycle, horse, or horse-drawn carriage. It is well known for its beautiful Victorian village, natural scenery including Arch Rock, Grand Hotel, historic Mackinac Fort, and more. The island was first settled by Native Americans, became an important position for fur trading, and served as a battle site during the American Revolution and War of 1812.


Michigan's State Flag and State Quarter

Michigan's state flag shows the sun rising over a lake and peninsula. A man is holding up his hand to represent peace, and he is holding a gun to represent how the people of Michigan have had to the fight as a frontier state. The elk and moose come from the Hudson's Bay Company coat of arms, and are both animals found in Michigan. The bald eagle represents the United States. Also included are three Latin phrases. "E Pluribus Unum," (Out of many, one) is America's motto. "Tuebor" means "I will defend." "Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice" (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.) is the state motto.

Michigan's state quarter features the Great Lakes that border Michigan.

Our Favorite Picture Book on Michigan

More Good Options

The Legend of Sleeping Bear by Kathy-Jo Wargin is the Ojibwe's legend behind the creation of Sleeping Bear Dune. All of Wargin's books are fun to read, though I did occasionally change or leave out words due to our differing worldview. This is one of many books by Kathy-Jo Wargin, who has written a number of delightful children's books focused on various legends.

Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling is a longer picture book that follows a toy canoe as it travels through the Great Lakes and out to the Atlantic Ocean. The animals, geography, and industries of the Great Lakes area are included in the story.

The Michigan Counting Book (America by the Numbers) by Kathy-jo Wargin is similar to "M Is For Mitten: A Michigan Alphabet" but it includes numbers rather than the alphabet to go through various aspects of the state.

The Legend of Mackinac Island by Kathy-jo Wargin describes a Native American legend of how Mackinac island was formed. It involves a wise turtle named Makinauk on whose back was placed the island.

The Legend of the Petoskey Stone (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales) by Kathy-jo Wargin is written as an Anishinabe Native America legend and includes some of the history of the people who lived on the shores of Lake Michigan focusing on the son of a Native American princess and French fur trader.

The Legend of Michigan (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales) by Trinka Hakes Noble is written as a Native American legend about the area being too cold for people to live there until an old warrior and a young boy traveled through the cold land with warm hearts and old mittens.

Mackinac Bridge: The Story of the Five-Mile Poem (Tales of Young Americans) by Gloria Whelan takes place in the 1950s and is about a boy whose father operates a ferryboat between Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas. He is torn between the fascination of watching the Mackinac Bridge being built and the realization that the bridge's completion will mean the end of his father's career.

The Edmund Fitzgerald: Song of the Bell by Kathy-Jo Wargin is the true story of a ship that was sailing from Superior, Wisconsin to Cleveland, Ohio but never made it. The ship and all who were on board sunk while crossing Lake Superior. The ship's bell is displayed at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point, Michigan.

The Voyageur's Paddle (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales) by Kathy-Jo Wargin takes place during the seventeenth century. It focuses on the son of one of a fur trader.

The Outdoor Museum: The Magic of Michigan's Marshall M. Fredericks (Great Lakes Books Series) by Marcy Heller Fisher tells the story of a young girl noticing all the sculptures around the Great Lakes that were created by artist Marshall M. Fredericks.

A Place Called Home by Janie Lynn Panagopoulos takes place during the American War for Independence Revolution and tells of the families who built the lumber mill on Mackinac Island.

Mail by the Pail by Colin Bergel is about a daughter trying to send her father a birthday card. Her father is a sailor who works on a lake freighter that delivers iron, stone, and coal to the cities along the Great Lakes. This book follows her birthday card as it is delivered via the mail delivery system for Great Lakes freighters.

The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco is about a Jewish Russian family who live in Michigan as they celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas.

Best Board Book for Preschoolers, Toddlers, and Babies

More Good Board Book Options for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Little Michigan (Little State) Board book by Denise Brennan-Nelson uses riddles and rhymes to go through the state bird, flower, animal, etc.

What am I? Michigan (My Look and See State Book) by Anne Margaret Lewis is a lift-the-flap book that includes the state bird, Mackinac Bridge, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and more.

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (288 pages) takes place during the Great Depression in Flint, Michigan. It is about a 10-year-old boy who rises about racism to pursue his dreams. This book is a Newbery Medal winner.

Keeper of the Light by Patricia Curtis Pfitsch (144 pages) is about a girl who must take over the lighthouse duties at a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after her father passes away. A replacement is sent, so she and her mother move to town. Meanwhile, she longs to return to the lighthouse.

The Mystery on the Great Lakes: Michigan,Superior, Huron, Ontario, Erie (Real Kids, Real Places) by Carole Marsh (160 pages) is about a family as they must solve a mystery while sailing the great lakes and exploring shipwrecks, haunted lighthouses, and more. Plenty of geography and history is weaved into this story.

A page from my son's notebook on Michigan

A page from my son's notebook on Michigan

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

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

The Bee Tree Lapbook offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco. Also look for the free lapbook on The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco at the same website.

Thunder Cake Lapbook offers free lapbook pages and activity ideas for Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.

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

Our Favorite Video on Michigan: History Channel's Documentary on States

Where is Lansing, the capital of Michigan?

© 2012 Shannon

Related Articles