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West Virginia Lesson and Classroom Resources

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

Image credit of the New River Gorge Bridge:

Image credit of the New River Gorge Bridge:

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 .

Image credit of Berkeley Springs:

Image credit of Berkeley Springs:

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:

Coal Mining Image Credit:

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.


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

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

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:

Model of James Rumsey's steamboat image credit:

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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 Picture Books on West Virginia

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

This is Our West Virginia

Where is Charleston, the capital of West Virginia?

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!

Shannon (author) from Florida on August 24, 2012:

@captainj88: Thank you for dropping by!

Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on August 24, 2012:

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!

Shannon (author) from Florida on June 29, 2012:

@anilsaini: Thank you!

anilsaini on June 29, 2012:

nice lens

Shannon (author) from Florida on June 28, 2012:

@sandi_x: Thank you!

sandi_x on June 28, 2012:

Great guide, I found a lot of new information.

Shannon (author) from Florida on June 24, 2012:

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

tonyplaysthemambo on June 24, 2012:

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

Chris Morris from Nashville on June 17, 2012:

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.

Musicalcroc LM on June 16, 2012:

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

bjesparza on June 16, 2012:

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

GaryHollingsworth on June 15, 2012:

West Virginia is such a beautiful state. Great lens.

seemarahate on June 15, 2012:

thanks for share!

UKGhostwriter on June 15, 2012:

I've only been to Nevada and neighbouring California

stennajohns on June 14, 2012:

It's Look Amazing

Lareene from Atlanta, GA on June 14, 2012:

Very good lens thanks.

coincrazy98 on June 14, 2012:

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.

David Bynon from Prescott, Arizona on June 14, 2012:

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.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 14, 2012:

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!

PaigSr from State of Confusion on June 14, 2012:

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

coolmon2009 lm on June 13, 2012:

Nice lens on West Virginia

nicks44 on June 13, 2012:

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

Dana Marie from St. Peters, MO on June 13, 2012:

Would love to visit some day. Thinking I will definately pass on the bridge jumping though :)

datakrunch on June 13, 2012:

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

anonymous on June 13, 2012:

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

Michelle Hogan on June 13, 2012:

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.

WriterJanis2 on June 13, 2012:

I have never been, but would like to.

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on June 12, 2012:

Hi lot of nice places to visit in West Virginia.

ryokomayuka from USA on June 12, 2012:

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

anonymous on June 12, 2012:

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

Fay Favored from USA on June 12, 2012:

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

anonymous on June 12, 2012:

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

CCTVwebmaster on June 12, 2012:

Never been, but would love to visit one day!

justin-yao on June 12, 2012:

nice lens

MoniqueDesigns on June 11, 2012:

Great lens, I've never been there.

Kumar P S on June 11, 2012:

Amazing place ! Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

dellgirl on June 11, 2012:

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.

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on June 11, 2012:

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

pawpaw911 on June 11, 2012:

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

anonymous on June 11, 2012:

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

Michey LM on June 11, 2012:

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

jessicahoward on June 11, 2012:

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

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2012:

What a resource you have shared here.

biminibahamas on June 10, 2012:

Very nise!

sociopath-free on June 10, 2012:

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

cleanyoucar on June 10, 2012:

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

randomthings lm on June 10, 2012:

Very beautiful!

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