Welcome to Notebooking Across the USA, a series of unit studies covering each state in the U.S. in order of admission to the union. You can find the landing page for this series with links to each states unit study as they are published, along with tips, suggestions, and recommended resources for this series here: Notebooking Across the USA. These unit studies are written with homeschool students grades 3-8 in mind.
The most recommended resource for this series is the USA States Pack, and while I believe it will be very helpful if you will be studying all of the states, it is not required. If you do wish to purchase the pack, use the code benandmeUSA for a 25% discount.
New Jersey Unit Study
One of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey became the 3rd state on December 18, 1787. It became known as the Cockpit of the Revolution because there were so many battles fought on its soil during the Revolutionary War. The area now known as New Jersey was first colonized by Dutch settlers around 1613. The colony was called New Netherland, and also included parts of modern-day New York. Later named New Jersey, it was named for the island of Jersey in the English Channel.
Located in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, New Jersey is bordered on the north and east by New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania, and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state but is 11th in population with 8,958,013 residents recorded in July, 2015. It is the most densely populated state in the United States. Because of it’s beautiful coastline, New Jersey is a popular vacation destination, with over 50 seaside resort towns including Asbury Park, Atlantic City and Cape May.
Summers are hot and humid. Winters are typically cold, especially in the northwestern part of the state. During winter and early spring, New Jersey can experience “nor’easters”, which are capable of causing blizzards or flooding throughout the northeastern United States.
Nickname: The Garden State
New Jersey was given the nickname “Garden State” following remarks made by Abraham Browning during Jersey Day at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Calling New Jersey the Garden State, Browning compared the state to an enormous barrel, filled with good things to eat, open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other.
Motto: “Liberty and Prosperity”
Agriculture: nursery and greenhouse stock (ie: sod), fruits and vegetables, equine, poultry and eggs, and dairy
Manufacturing: chemical products, food processing, electric equipment, printing and publishing
Mining: willemite, iron, zinc, coal
Have your students color and label an outline map of New Jersey. Include the state capital of Trenton, the largest city of Newark, as well as Jersey City, Atlantic City, the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, and the Hudson River.
The state flag of New Jersey was adopted on in 1896. The buff-colored field represents the uniforms worn by New Jersey troops during the American Revolution. The three plows, horse’s head, and goddess Ceres holding a horn of plenty signify the agricultural importance of New Jersey. On the left, stands Liberty, and 1776 was the year New Jersey signed the Declaration of Independence.
The Great Seal of the State of New Jersey was designed by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere and presented in May, 1777, to the Legislature, which was then meeting in the Indian King Tavern in Haddonfield. The three plows in the shield honor the state’s agricultural tradition.
State Bird: American Goldfinch
New Jersey designated the eastern goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) as the official state bird in 1935. Also called a wild canary or American goldfinch, the goldfinch eats primarily seeds from dandelions, sunflowers, ragweed, and evening primrose.
State Flower: Violet
New Jersey designated the common violet as the state flower in 1913.
State Tree: Northern Red Oak
New Jersey designated the red oak as the official state tree in 1950.
State Song: New Jersey is the only state that does not have a state song
Learn about New Jersey’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
New Jersey’s common trees include Emerald Green Arborvitae, Tulip Tree, Silver Bell, Ginkgo Biloba, Flowering Dogwood, Leyland Cyprus, American Holly, and Red Oak.
Common New Jersey mammals include black bear, white-tailed deer, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhog, fox, coyote . Bald eagles, blue herons, red cardinals, and American goldfinches are common birds.
Historical Timeline (source)
One of the first Indian reservations in the United States was established in Burlington County in 1758 for the Lenni-Lenape tribe. The first and only reservation in New Jersey, the Brotherton Reserve was sold back to the state in 1801 by the remaining members of the tribe, who moved up north to join relatives in New Stockbridge, New York.
The “Crossroads of the Revolution,” New Jersey was the site of more than 100 battles during the fight for American independence.
The world’s first boardwalk was constructed in Atlantic City in 1870 merely to reduce the amount of sand tracked into nearby hotels and railroad cars. As hotels, shops, restaurants and casinos sprouted up along the seaside, Atlantic City became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. As of 2012, the boardwalk remains the longest in the world—stretching for six miles.
During the last quarter of the 19th century, Thomas Edison generated hundreds of inventions in his Menlo Park laboratory, including the phonograph, which recorded and played back sound, and an electric-powered railway. While most recognized for perfecting the incandescent light bulb using a bamboo filament and providing a system of distributing electricity on a mass scale, Edison was awarded more than a thousand patents during his lifetime on inventions large and small.
Opening to traffic between New Jersey and New York on November 13, 1927, the Holland Tunnel became the first mechanically ventilated underwater tunnel. At its maximum depth, the tunnel lies roughly 93 feet beneath the Hudson River.
Famous People from New Jersey
James Fenimore Cooper (author of The Last of the Mohicans)
Thomas Edison (inventor)
Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President of the United States)
Mary Ludwig Hays (patriot)
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Tourism: Road Trip New Jersey
If you have a chance to visit the state of New Jersey, be sure you don’t miss these sites. If you won’t be visiting, take a virtual field trip by clicking on the name of the site. Have your student create Travel Journal notebooking pages to record what they learn.
Through the beauty of its natural setting, the diversity of its wildlife, and the scope and quality of its educational programs, demonstrations and research, Duke Farms inspires people to transform their approach to conservation and to start building a more sustainable future.
Adventure Aquarium is just minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the Camden Waterfront and features one-of-a-kind exhibits with more than 8,500 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water. The Aquarium is home to the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, including the only Great Hammerhead Shark on exhibit in the United States, the only aquarium in the world to exhibit hippos and one of only six facilities in the US to have Little Blue Penguins as permanent residents.
Historic estate offering undeveloped natural habitats, gardens, outdoor activities & workshops.
View thousands of beautiful and bizarre exotic insects from all over the world. Play bug games on touch-screen computers. Pretend you are a termite as you crawl through the mudtube. Watch ants forage for food and build tunnels in a live ant nest. Safely get up close to the observation hive and see the busy bees. Or spy on many other live insects.
America’s most decorated battleship, at the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial not only do you see exhibits of artifacts from the ship’s past, but you are put into the exhibit as you go through the tour route. Sit in the chair from which Admiral Halsey commanded the fleet. Stretch out on the bunks where the sailors slept. Climb into the 16” gun turret and learn how the projectiles were loaded.
Liberty State Park is a green oasis in the middle of Metropolitan northern New Jersey. With the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as a spectacular backdrop, Liberty State Park is one of the state’s most dramatic parks.
Morristown National Historical Park commemorates the sites of General Washington and the Continental army’s winter encampment of December 1779 to June 1780, where they survived through what would be the coldest winter on record. The park also maintains a museum & library collection related to the encampments & George Washington, as well as items relating to pre- and post-Revolutionary America.
Located in some of the most beautiful areas of the state, visitors are amazed by the 11 majestic lighthouses that have guarded mariners sailing the Atlantic Ocean and intercoastal waterways for over a century.
Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory are a step back in time, when machines were run by belts and pulleys and music was played on phonographs. Where to the passerby, the buildings betray little evidence of the industries they once started. Discover where America’s greatest inventor changed our world forever.
Arts and Crafts
Interesting Facts about New Jersey
There are more horses per square mile in New Jersey than any other state.
New Jersey has the highest urban population of any state. Ninety percent of it’s residents live in cities.
About 10% of the country’s cranberries come from New Jersey. Learn more about the history of this fruit, one of only 3 native to North America (the other 2 are the concord grape and blueberry).
The first dinosaur skeleton found in North American was excavated in Haddonfield in 1858. It was named Hadrosauraus in honor of the discovery site. Learn more in this video.
Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in Menlo Park, New Jersey in 1879.
One of the busiest highways in the U.S. is the New Jersey Turnpike.
Salt water taffy originated on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the 1880s.
Take a virtual tour of New Jersey’s capital
Play a game of Monopoly after reading how the streets in the game were named for real streets in Atlantic City.
Watch this video to learn how cranberries grow: How Does It Grow: Cranberries
Make homemade cranberry sauce.
Read about the history of the George Washington Bridge.
New Jersey Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
G is for Garden State: A New Jersey Alphabet by Eileen Cameron
New Jersey by Nora Campbell
Heroes of the Surf by Elisa Carbone
The Legend of the Cape May Diamond by Trinka Hakes Noble
Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin (don’t miss the cranberry bread recipe in the book!)
Who Grew My Soup by Tom Darbyshire
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift
Book Basket (NonFiction)
New Jersey Facts and Symbols by Shelley Swanson Sateren
Time For Kids: Thomas Edison: A Brilliant Inventor by Editors of Time
New Jersey Jography!: A Fun Run Thru Our State by Carole Marsh
Smithsonian Handbook: Shells by Peter Dance
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars: Take-Along Guide by Christiane Kump Tibbitts
Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test by Carol A Johmann
Electricity Demystified by Stan Gibilisco
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Thomas Edison Young Inventor by Sue Guthridge
The Boardwalk Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries) by Gertrude Chandler
Molly Pitcher: Young Patriot by Augusta Stevenson
I Survived: The Shark Attacks of 1916 by Lauren Tarshis
I suggest creating a “unit study book basket” (a laundry basket will do) to fill with books from the book basket lists. You can use these books in your instructional time, for reading aloud, or for reading time for your students. Some of the nonfiction books have activities, experiments, and other hands-on learning opportunities to enrich your unit study.
New Jersey History for Kids interactive site
Did you see something important I missed? Share in the comments and I may add it!