Introducing Industries


Students will explain the effect of temperature/climate, physical features, and economic resources on industries in the United States.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


Students will explain the effect of temperature/climate, physical features, and economic resources on industries in the United States.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Art


  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 121-150 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Economic resources (natural, capital and human)
  • Goods
  • Production
  • U.S. geography
  • U.S. regions

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • The Great Lakes
  • Industry
  • Water-lined
  • Landlocked
  • Economic resources
  • Natural resources
  • Capital resources
  • Human resources
  • Production
  • Interdependence
  • Region


  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Michigan quarter reverse
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Overhead transparencies (or photocopies) of three or more additional state quarter designs
  • Copies of the Michigan quarter reverse
  • Blue and green crayons and/or colored pencils
  • Copies of the "Introducing Industries" chart
  • Copies of the "All About Michigan" page
  • 1 copy of the "Introducing Industries" chart key
  • Copies of the "Region Cards"
  • Adhesive note paper (3 squares per student)


  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Michigan quarter reverse.
  • Arrange for students to conduct research either in the school's library or computer lab.
  • Prepare a list of appropriate web sites or ask the librarian to pull a selection of appropriate books to help students with their research.
  • Make copies of:
    • The Michigan quarter reverse (1 per student).
    • The "All About Michigan" page (1 per student).
    • The "Introducing Industries" chart (1 per student).
    • The "Region Cards"(1 card per student).


Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

Session 1

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Then display the transparency or photocopy of the Michigan quarter reverse. Locate Michigan on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school's location.
  2. Distribute a copy of the Michigan quarter reverse to each student.
  3. With the students, examine the design on this coin's reverse. Have the students point out the water and the land on this map. Direct them to color the water blue and the land green on their copy of the coin design.
  4. Display the images of several (three or more) coin reverses from the 50 State Quarters Program. Point out that these quarters all carry symbols that are important to the state.  Ask the students why they think Michigan chose to feature its physical geography rather than another aspect of its culture.
  5. Give students a very basic introduction to the Great Lakes, explaining that they are five extremely large freshwater lakes. Using a class map, have students identify other states which border the Great Lakes. Explain that these lakes impact the lives of those who live around them.
  6. Discuss the word "resource" and ask the students to recall the definition. Students should arrive at the idea that a resource is something that can be sold and used in its original form, or can be used to create goods that people need. Review the differences between natural, human, and capital resources with your students.
  7. Write the following statement on the chalkboard: "The Great Lakes are important because their resources and industries impact the lives of everyone in the region and people throughout the world."
  8. Underline the words "industries" and "region," and explore these terms with the students.
  9. Re-read the sentence and ask the students what they think might determine the types of industries that exist in a region. Write a list of the students' responses. Students should arrive at the idea that temperature/climate, physical features, and economic resources play a great part in determining the industries in this area.
  10. Distribute a copy of the "Introducing Industries" chart to each student. Model the process of completing the chart using your home state as an example.
  11. Distribute a copy of the "All About Michigan" page to each student and direct students to read this independently or with a partner. Students should underline any references to temperature/climate, physical features, or natural resources in Michigan.
  12. Direct the students to complete the "Introducing Industries" chart with the information that they have identified in their reading.
  13. Regroup and compare the information that should be listed in each column of the chart.
  14. Ask the students to consider the following question: "Are the industries that are based around the Great Lakes Region the same as those in the rest of the country?" Explain that they will be exploring this question over the next few days.

Session 2

  1. Distribute a "Region Card" to each student. Direct students to assemble into groups by finding other students with the same region card.
  2. In his or her regional group, each student should select a different state to research. They will be exploring the aspects of that state that affect its industries.
  3. Ask students to retrieve their "Introducing Industries" chart from the previous session.  Direct the students to write the names of their selected states in the appropriate field on this chart.
  4. Take students to either the school library or computer lab to conduct their research and complete the chart for their assigned states.

Session 3

  1. As a class, develop a chart of symbols for the whole class to use when recording the industries of their assigned states.
  2. Distribute three squares of adhesive note paper to each student.
  3. Refer the students to their "Introducing Industries" charts. Direct the students to draw one symbol on each adhesive square, representing the top three industries in their assigned states. The students should place their symbols on the class map in the appropriate state.
  4. As a class, examine the completed map. Introduce the terms "water-lined" and "landlocked" and ask the students whether or not all water-lined states have the same industries. What might be the cause of these similarities or differences? Are the industries in landlocked states the same as water-lined states? Why or why not?
  5. As students are discussing this information, ask those who studied water-lined or landlocked states to speak to the climate and physical features of their state.
  6. Direct the students to independently look at the completed class map and write an essay comparing the similarities and differences between the state that they explored and Michigan.
  7. Students should consider the regions where these states are located and discuss how the physical similarities and differences impact the industries of that region.

Differentiated Learning Options

Students can work in pairs to research the states.


Select a single industry (such as the automotive or shipping industry) and explore in depth the ways that they benefit from the resources, climate and land in Michigan.


Use the worksheets and class participation to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.