Name/Title: Geography Twister

Academic content: Social Studies

Purpose of Event: To help reinforce states and cardinal directions.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of names and locations of the 50 United States.

Suggested Grade Level: 3-5

Materials Needed: Giant US map on playground, bag/cards with names of all 50 states

Physical activity: Locomotor (running, skipping, etc) & Non-locomotor (Bending, leaning, etc.)

Description of Idea

Each student will be given the name of a state to stand on using the giant US map outside. This will give an idea of how familiar the students are with state locations. All students should be instructed to stand facing North in the map to begin the activity. Once students are at their designated spots, cardinal directions will be given and the students must touch the state that corresponds with the direction. (i.e. “Put both hands on the state that is to the east of you or touch your left leg to the state that is to the south of you”). In between each new move, the teacher will draw a state name from the bag. If a student is standing on that state, they will come up and draw another state name and will travel to their new spot using a different locomotor movement each time. The game continues as the teacher calls more cardinal directions for children to use with non-locomotor movements to reach each state.


If students are having trouble remembering the names of states, you can incorporate the “Fifty Nifty United States” song into the lesson by having students run to the states as they are called.

Assessment Ideas:

Have students fill out a blank map of the US map. To assess their skill acquisition, ask them questions such as:

1. Do you think it is easier to lean forward, to the side, or backwards? Why?

2. Is it easier to balance when your feet are together, shoulder width apart, or spread really far apart?

3. When using both hands and feet to balance on the ground, is it harder to move your arm somewhere else or is it harder to move your leg somewhere else?

Teaching Suggestions:

If you do not have a blacktop map to use, you can print out states and tape them down to the gym floor to use.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities can verbally say the names of states or use other body parts to show cardinal directions.

Submitted by Lauren Garner in Piedmont, SC. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 5/23/2009.
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