Where are the major physical features of the US? Free for classroom and student use.

"Make your own USA" helps students gain a real understanding of the locations of the major physical features of the United States. 

Select the desired map and size below, then click the print button.


Print out for each student:
'US Map Background' on normal copy paper, and 'US Features' on tracing (or other transparent) paper. You might want to also print out US Rivers on plain paper to provide a guide or a map with rivers already drawn in.
Students will need scissors, glue stick or transparent glue.

First the students, using a blue marker, the students should follow the river outlines to color in the major rivers. The US Rivers map shows the rivers and their names. The students should then cut out (using wide margins, not on the edges of the features) each of the features on the US Features page and paste them in the appropriate places on the outline map, starting with the major mountain ranges, the Rocky mountains and the Appalachian mountains. Note that the Rocky Mountains are one mountain range, but in 3 parts that should be cut out in one piece. It is easier to label all of the features—rivers, mountains, etc., after everything is pasted in place, because otherwise the mountains may cover up the names of the rivers.

Unfortunately, many common brands of tracing paper (Utrecht, Strathmore, and Calque, for example) are sold in 9" X 12" sheets, which must be trimmed to go through a standard computer printer.  A paper trimmer will do 10 or more sheets at a time, and the Features page is designed so that nothing is on the edge—the trimming does not have to highly exact.  Some brands of "vellum", on the other hand, are already 8 ½" X 11", so it can be used as is. The vellum gives a thicker and much stiffer item to paste.

If students have trouble labeling all of the features because the page is too crowded (too many things too close to each other), they can make two separate maps.  Students would make one map showing just the rivers, labeling the rivers, and a second  map with the rivers drawn in, but not labeled, adding the physical features (mountains, lakes, etc.) and labeling only these features.

If tracing paper is not available, students can do just the major rivers part of the lesson, marking and labeling the rivers. Or you can use most regular copy paper—the outline map and rivers will still show through, although not quite as clearly.

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