Hi! Future Ticia 2022 here, and the kids and I recently studied Arizona again, and I knew we’d studied the state in the past, so I went back to look at this post and went, “Oh wow, this is such an old post and really not in the best of shape.” I’m basically rewriting this Arizona Unit as part of our overall geography lessons.

Arizona Unit geography lesson

And I’m also folding in my Arizona booklist because it makes no sense for these to be two different posts. So it’s a two-for-one deal! A geography lesson and a book list.

Let’s start our Arizona Unit with a book list!

Growing up as a young child I went to Arizona every summer to visit my Grandma. She lived in a small town just North of the Mexico border. To my mind, Arizona is the place of cactus, the OK Corral, and kachinas. Those are my memories of Arizona, oh and probably somewhat questionable shopping trips across the border where my brother got a bullwhip at six years old.  I wanted to capture some of that with my Arizona books from our library. I did for the most part, but I never found a good book with Kachina dolls, though I found a few with the mythology which made me happy.

(Yes, I literally just copied and pasted that introduction, and just to be clear, there are affiliate links in here)

Nonfiction Arizona picture books

Arizona nonfiction books
  • Petrified National Forest– This was more for inspiration than for actual reading, but I always like this series.
  • Saguaro National Park– Same series, still a good book
  • The Hopi– I checked out several books in this series, the next book I got better use out of.
  • The Zunis– This provided great information about one of the local tribes in the area.  If I really wanted to just studying the different American Indian tribes in the area could take up several weeks of study.  The title is linked to the activity we did with this. Zuni Kachina Mask project
  • The Grand Canyon– This is a good introduction type book.  It covers why it’s important and what you’ll see there. I loved the pictures and information in it.
  • Grand Canyon: Exploring a Natural Wonder– Another great book about the Grand Canyon, it inspired an activity I still want to do, but haven’t gotten a chance to do yet…
  • Cactus Hotel– This is one of those odd ones that is covering nonfiction material, but might be categorized as fiction because of the way it’s written. I’ve got plans to use sandpaper to make a cactus and all that.

Fiction Arizona Picture Books

Arizona picture books for state study
  • Mule Train Mail– A great book detailing how one village in Arizona gets mail still today, a mule train.
  • Is My Friend At Home– I love traditional tales. It interests me to see each culture’s traditional tales, and this book gave us a great insight into Pueblo culture.
  • Warrior Maiden– A young girl has to find a way to protect her village when Apache warriors attack.
  • Possum’s Wild West Adventure–  I really liked this as a short read-aloud sort of chapter book.  It’s not divided up into chapters, but it takes about 30-45 minutes to read aloud (depending on how many questions your kids ask).  They loved it but were disappointed when some of the cowboys were the bad guys at the end of the story. Tombstone project
  • Kate Heads West– we had fun mapping where Kate went, though her adventures were not limited to Arizona.
  • The Secret of the Circle-K Cave– My kids liked this cave much better than the one we visited.  It does a good job of presenting fun information and a small mystery. >> This one is more New Mexico, but here’s the exploring caves activity inspired by this book.
  • How the Stars Fell Into the Sky– My kids loved this one and we talked about it a lot.  I also saw a lot of parallels between what Christians believe about the fall of man and how the Navajo explained it.  So, we discussed that a bunch.  This is another one that I have an art activity planned.  I just need to get those little gold stars for it.
  • Little Gold Star– We’ll be reading this soon, so no review of it yet.  I’ll update once we have.
  • Don’t Call Me Pig– I think I got this as my book from New Mexico on the trip, and this book is part of what convinced me to study both at once.  Both states were trying to claim it as “local interest.”
  • Night Dancer– We all agreed this was fun and wanted to try dancing like that
Arizona Unit geography North America 50 state study

Our original Arizona notebook

original Arizona notebook

Here’s what’s in there:

  • Desert Hotel– love this books, and there’s so much to do with it
  • How the Stars got in the Sky- seriously, the Arizona books were so good.
  • Possum’s Wild West Adventure– the main things the kids remembered about it was of course the gun fight, and the bad guys stole their cows, but they shot him.
  • And our usual:
  • Rattlesnake- our animal book for the state
  • I used the state symbols from the Gila Ben site linked below (I’m not above using someone else’s work if they’ve already done it).
Arizona unit part of 50 state study

Cool stuff for an Arizona Unit I found around the web

  • Gila Ben– I got a bunch of printables here we used
  • Mozi Esme– review of a book taking place in Arizona
  • Arizona Kids– great information and cute pictures

Our modern Arizona Unit

Arizona notebooking pages

Since this was a recreation of old projects, many were inspired by previous lessons.

  • What I observed on my piece of petrified wood- We went to the Navajo and picked up some petrified wood while we were there, but if you don’t have any you can get some from Amazon. It’s an interesting rock because you can still see the grain of the wood.
  • My Navajo Inspired Story- since we both have visited the Navajo several times, and had several traditional Navajo stories they attempted to write their own short story.
  • Javelina vs. Pig- we did a comparison of the Arizona native versus the traditional pig
  • Gun Fight at the OK Corral- we wrote out a first-person report, which was of course quite over the top
  • Draw Your Grand Canyon layers- this was the one activity I super wanted to do, that we never quite got done, much to my dismay. But, I’m still including it.

We then filled out the United States notebooking pages (if you join my newsletter, in one of the very first emails you’ll get a coupon to get it free AND access to the subscriber page which has the Arizona printable).

Arizona Unit

The Grand Canyon Arizona.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0.Copy text


6 responses to “Arizona Unit”

  1. There are so many great books for kids about some states and then nothing about others. The same goes for state websites for kids!

  2. It's neat when you can find so many good books about the place you want to study. We are now “going” to Brazil, and books are great, but… they are all about rainforest 🙂

  3. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog Avatar
    Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    Very cool — thanks for all the links!

  4. I like your scribd activity =)

  5. An Almost Unschooling Mom Avatar
    An Almost Unschooling Mom

    More great links – terrific!

  6. littlewondersdays Avatar

    Impressive lesson plan. I see you're going to be a part of ABC and 123. Congrats!

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