The Northeast Region
From rugged seashores to cranberry bogs, explore the natural resources of the Northeast Region. Learn about the varied climate, the landforms, and the industries that make this region unique.
Explore the environment, climate and natural resources of the Northeast Region of the United States.
- Students will understand that the Northeast region is divided into two areas called New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut make up New England. The Mid-Atlantic includes the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
- Students will know about the physical features that are present in the Northeast. The Appalachian mountain chain is a dominant feature in this region; this chain runs through almost every state in the region. Formed over 250 million years ago when earth's crust shifted and buckled, The Appalachian Mountains consist of many smaller mountain ranges, including: The Allegheny Mountains, The Green Mountains, The White Mountains, The Pocono Mountains, The Adirondack Mountains, and The Catskill Mountains. After the Appalachians were formed, earth's climate became very cold, causing the formation of glaciers. These glaciers eroded the Appalachians, wearing them down to the size they are today. The northeastern shore contains many rocky beaches, but farther south, the rough shores give way to the flat coastal plain. Also, the northeastern coast includes many bays and harbors.
- Students will know that the Northeast region's climate varies. The Northeast experiences all four seasons, it can be very cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer. Rain falls during every season in the Northeast, making it a great home for many forests.
- Students will realize that the Northeast region contains many important natural resources.
- Soil/Crops — Though New England has mainly poor, rocky soil, blueberries, apples, corn, oats, potatoes, and even cranberries are successful crops in this region. The Mid-Atlantic states have much better soil; therefore, they grow a larger variety of crops: The coastal plain's rich sandy soil is ideal for growing fruits and vegetables. Inland from the coastal plain is a region called the Piedmont; its rich, fertile soil produces large crops of apples. The soil in southeastern Pennsylvania is some of the richest in the world; it produces large harvests of corn and wheat.
- Timber — Forests cover a large portion of the Northeast. These forest include two main types of trees: broadleaf (maples, oaks, willows, and hickories) and needle leaf (pines, firs, and spruces). These forests produce a great deal of timber.
- Rocks — There are many quarries in New England (New Hampshire and Vermont) that are used to mine marble and granite.
- Steel — Iron, coal, and limestone are prevalent in western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. These three resources are used to produce steel. Steel is very strong material that is used to build bridges, buildings, and machines.
- Students will understand how industry affected the Northeast region's population and contributed to the rise of big cities. From the earliest days, cities in the Northeast have been centers for trade because of their location, near a river or bay. These cities began to grow up around industries like fishing, shipbuilding, and trade. Immigrants and citizens that moved to these cities to find jobs, caused the city populations to swell. The Industrial Revolution brought power-driven tools to the factories; flowing water from rivers was used to power many of these tools. The Industrial Revolution led to the growth of industry throughout the United States. More cities and new industries began to spring up across the country, including the Northeast region. Growth of the cities in the Northeast became so large that individual metropolitan areas grew together, forming what is known as a megalopolis. Today, the power sources and the products manufactured in the Northeast have changed, but this region still remains a center for manufacturing, and it still contains some of the most populated cities in the nation.
- Students will understand the importance of transportation to the Northeast region and recognize how it changed over time. The Northeast economy relies on transportation to move natural resources into its numerous factories, and to ship the goods those factories produce all over the world. When North America was being colonized by Europe, cities grew near bays, harbors, and rivers providing easy access for trade ships. As the United States grew and its borders stretched farther inland, it became increasingly important to have a method for transporting goods from the cities to settlements throughout the United States, especially to the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, trade ships could not navigate the rivers that led to the Great Lakes, and traveling over land was slow and expensive. However, in 1825 the 350 mile-long Erie Canal was finished. Trade ships were able to enter New York Harbor, travel up the Hudson River to Albany, and then use the Erie Canal to access the Great Lakes. Today, many forms of transportation are used to move people and goods throughout the region, the country, and the world. People and goods can travel by plane, train/subway, automobile, and boat.
- Have students work in groups to prepare a creative extension to any one of the topics covered in the video. For example, students who choose climate might build a model town that has been destroyed by tornado. Students who choose natural resources may want to present the class with examples and explain their importance (i.e. granite pieces, cranberries, etc.)
- Have students work alone or in groups to plan a trip to the Northeast Region. Research airfare, transportation, etc. Ask students to prepare a budget and itinerary for their trip.