Learning the States and Capitals

Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!

Did you have to memorize the 50 states and capitals?  I did in third grade.  I still remember it.  I am not great at remembering things and I remember it took me the whole year to memorize them.  Our teacher gave us special prizes (bags of licorice, trips to Burger King, etc.) once we memorized all 50.  I always got confused on North and South Dakota and North and South Carolina.  But I memorized them.  And haven't forgotten them.  I can still rattle them off.  I even called into a radio station (I must have been in high school maybe) and they were having a contest called 5 in 5.  They would give you 5 states and you had to list the capitals in 5 seconds.  All these people were calling in and failing miserably.  I thought, I can do this.  Sure enough I did and won tickets to a movie and a coupon for a free pizza.  So those memorization skills way back in 3rd grade have come in handy, I tell ya!!  My husband had to memorize them too and I remember when we both figured this out when we were dating we would quiz each other (dorky I know but he was working out of town the first few months that we started dating/talking so had a lot of time on the phone to kill).  We only recently discovered that he not only had to memorize the state and capital, but the location on the map.  And that stuck.  And he can find them on a map.  I didn't have to memorize the location and well, let's just say that as an adult I can't even tell you where every state is located.  Fail!  I know.  I guess that is a little lesson in the real world application for memorizing things.

Anyway, I took that trip down memory lane for a reason.  The 4th grader that I tutor has to memorize her states and capitals this year.  They are broken down by region and spread throughout the year.  However, they are cumulative so she can't memorize a region and forget it.  She needs to know it for future tests too.  Most of the practicing is done outside of school and rarely in tutoring because she has so much other work to do.  I downloaded THIS freebie and then ended up buying her THIS which was the entire product from MrsLaFave on TpT.  The flashcards have been really helpful to her.  She uses them to study for each test so I rarely work on them with her.  But then I created fraction task cards with QR codes for her sister and she wanted something she could use my phone to scan.  She had another state and capital test coming up so I decided to create some task cards for her with the QR codes.

Since she needs to know the location of the state and the capital, I decided to create multiple options in the same product.  First, I used a map of the United States and used arrows and numbers to point to the various states in the region.  I gave her a recording sheet and asked her to write down the name of the state for each number.  Since using a map versus task cards didn't really lend itself to QR codes, I made a separate sheet with all the QR code answers for the state identification.  I also included a traditional answer key if other teachers didn't want to use the QR code option.
Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
I didn't get a picture of her scanning her answers because it didn't dawn on me that I couldn't take a picture of her with my phone while she was using it.  So I thought ahead the next week and brought my camera and my tablet in addition to my phone.

The next week we worked on some capital review of the regions she already learned.  She had a test coming up and seemed to have a good handle on the new region but I wanted to make sure she hadn't forgotten what she had already learned.  Spelling counts on her tests so I wanted to make sure she remembered how to correctly spell everything, too.  I gave her the task cards for just one region at a time so I didn't overwhelm her.
Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
As you can see, I designed the task cards with minimal color to make it printer/ink friendly.  Each region has a different silver sparkle background design so you can tell them apart.  I also put what region it is right on the cards so that they can easily be sorted.  
Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
Once she went through all the task cards for the Northeast region, I gave her my tablet and let her go through and check her answers and her spelling.  I had her make any changes right on her recording sheet.
Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
She loved using my tablet since it doesn't sound like something she does at school or at home.  It was so simple, yet kept her engaged and ultimately, she did all the work on her own.  Yes, I was standing there because it was a tutoring session but realistically she could have practiced and checked her work on her own without any help from me (or a classroom teacher).  I showed her how to scan a QR code and what button to push to go back and scan another one and that was all she needed.
Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
Sorry about that glare.  I was trying to get a picture of her taking a picture but the lighting in the room wasn't cooperating.

Learning the states and capitals by region can be so much fun by using task cards with QR codes!
This was her corrected version.  Then I could easily tell her mom that she knew the capitals but needed to work on spelling them correctly.  I gave her the additional task cards to practice at home.  I showed her mom how to download a QR reader for free and how to scan and check the answers so that hopefully she would let her daughter use her phone to practice at home.  Is it necessary? No.  Does it make it more fun and engaging?  Yes!!

When I started creating this product for her, it was smaller in my head.  But then it just got bigger and bigger.  I knew I wanted to have different task cards for each region, but what if a teacher didn't teach by region?  Or wanted to review all 50 states and capitals?  I knew she needed to practice locating the state on a map but I didn't want it to be too much to locate it and identify the capital and then scan the qr code all on one task card.  So I decided to make lots of mini products all in one.  Here is what I included:

-State Identification (map with separate QR codes) for all 50 states

-State Identification (map with separate QR codes) by region

-Capital task cards (ex. What is the capital of Michigan?) with QR codes for all 50 states

-Capital task cards with QR codes for each region

-Student recording sheets

-Traditional answer keys

I kept traditional answer keys in there so that you can still use this if you don't have access to a QR code reader on a tablet/iPad/phone.  

In creating this, I learned that the states can be divided many different ways.  The regions the girl I tutor uses were slightly different than other products I found, which was different than the way the clipart I bought divided it into regions.  Ultimately, I found the most popular way to divide the states and went with that.  Again, I included the same product not divided by region in case anyone wants to break the regions down differently.

This product has them divided into 5 regions (Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Southwest and West).

Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia 

Northeast: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont 

Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas 

West: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

I decided to put the West region task cards up as a free sample if anyone wants to try the product out before buying the whole thing.  You can find that by clicking HERE.

If you are looking for task cards for all the regions of the United States, you can find the full product HERE: