Natural Resources

The Southeast Region

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The Southeast Region

The mighty Mississippi leads students into the Southeast region to learn about the variety of natural features in this area. A trip to the Everglades and farther south to the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands territory gives students an appreciation for the many resources of this region and the importance of local resources in the economy.

Explore the environment, climate and natural resources of the Southeast Region of the United States.

  1. Students will know the 12 states that make up the Southeast Region; they are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Note that many people consider Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to be part of the Southeast Region. The Virgin Islands are known as a territory; its citizens are citizens of the United States, and U.S. laws govern them. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth; its citizens are citizens of the United States, but they govern themselves.
  2. Students will realize that the Southeast Region has a wide variety of landforms
    1. Rivers: The most important of these rivers is the Mississippi. At 2340 miles, it is the second longest river in the United States. It flows southward from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. During its journey, the Mississippi picks up large amounts of silt, which it deposits at its mouth to form a delta.
    2. Appalachian Mountains: This mountain system is the second largest in North America, and it runs through 8 of the 12 southeastern states.
    3. Piedmont: This area of gentle rolling hills and rich soil lies at the eastern foot of the Appalachian Mountains.
    4. Coastal Plain: Between the Piedmont and the Atlantic Ocean is a large coastal plain. This low, flat land is home to forests and coastal marshes.
    5. Wetlands: Many wetlands, like swamps and marshes, are located within the Coastal Plain and the Mississippi Delta. These wetlands are important because they help control floods by soaking up water. Also, they provide a habitat for many plants and animals. For example, the Everglades in Florida are home to alligators, manatees, turtles, fish, and birds.
    6. Islands: There are many islands off the coast of the southeast. The Barrier Islands, located just off the coast of North Carolina, are made up of sand, silt, and gravel carried by rivers and ocean waves. Each of the Florida Keys was formed by the skeletons of coral.
  3. Students will know about the southeast climate. This region receives more direct sunlight than other parts of the country due to its proximity to the equator. Consequently, the climate is mild, with moderate rainfall. However, there is a threat of hurricanes, which have the potential to destroy everything in their paths.
  4. Students will know about the natural resources that the Southeast Region supports.
    1. Crops: Fertile soil and a long growing season make agriculture a very profitable business. Peanuts, oranges, pineapples, peas, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, and beans are the major crops that grow in the Southeast region.
    2. Livestock: Raising livestock is common on the coastal plain. Beef cattle, dairy cows, hogs, and poultry are all valuable resources to the southeast economy.
    3. Coal/Oil: Much of the country's coal supply comes from the Southeast. Coal is burned to produce electricity for homes and businesses. The Southeast also produces a large amount of oil. Oil is turned into gasoline and other fuels. Another product of oil, petrochemicals, is used to produce plastics, tires, paints, clothing, and medicines.
    4. Lumber: Parts of the Southeast are known for producing lumber, which is used to make paper, furniture, and other products.
    5. Mississippi River: The Mississippi River is an important resource to the Southeast region. Goods are transported down the river to the Gulf of Mexico, where they can be shipped anywhere in the world.

  1. 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 showing the destruction potential of a hurricane. Students who choose natural resources may want to present the class with examples of natural resources and their importance to the region.
  2. Have students work alone or in groups to plan a trip to the Southeast Region. Research airfare, transportation, etc. Ask students to prepare a budget and itinerary for their trip. What cities/national parks would they like to visit? And why?

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