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.
Maryland Unit Study
Maryland became the 7th state to join the union on April 28, 1788. One of the 13 original colonies, Maryland was named for the wife of King Charles I of England — Queen Henrietta Maria. Maryland is considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, when it was formed by George Calvert in the early 17th century as an intended refuge for persecuted Catholics from England. Our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., was established on land donated by the state of Maryland.
Maryland ranks 42nd in size in the nation with a total area of 12,407 square miles. It is located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. Maryland is divided into roughly two equal parts by the Chesapeake Bay. East of the bay is a low and flat coastal plain. Much of the western side is made up of a mountainous panhandle. More than 40% of Maryland is forested. Maryland contains more than 3000 miles of coastline because of the Chesapeake Bay. Only 31 miles of its coastline is along the Atlantic Ocean.
Maryland is often referred to as “America in miniature” because the state is comprised of so many different habitats. From sand dunes and sea grass to marshlands with cypress trees, oak-covered hills, and pine forests in the mountainous regions, Maryland is rich with an interesting and diverse flora and fauna population. There are no natural lakes in Maryland though. There are plenty of ponds, but glacier activity in the United States did not extend down as far as Maryland, so no large craters were carved out of the landscape. There are however, many man-made lakes and reservoirs.
Population: 5, 976,000
Nickname: Old Line State
According to some historians, General George Washington bestowed the name “Old Line State” and thereby associated Maryland with its regular line troops, the Maryland Line, who served courageously in many Revolutionary War battles.
Motto: “Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine” Manly Deeds, Womanly Words
Agriculture: Poultry and eggs, dairy products, nursery stock, soybeans, corn, tomatoes, apples, seafood, cattle
Fishing Industry: crabs, oysters, rockfish
Industry: Real estate, federal government, health services, business services, engineering services, electrical and gas services, communications, banking, and insurance. The federal government is one of the area’s largest employers.
Mining: coal, stone, gravel, cement
Have your students color and label an outline map of Maryland. Include the state capital of Annapolis, largest city of Baltimore, Hagerstown, Frederick, the Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna River, Potomac River, and Assateague Island.
The state flag of Maryland consists of the heraldic banner of George Calvert, Lord Baltimore (1579–1632). The flag was officially adopted by the Maryland General Assembly on November 25, 1904.
The Great Seal of Maryland is used by the Governor and the Secretary of State to authenticate Acts of the General Assembly and for other official purposes. The Secretary of State is the designated custodian of the Great Seal, and provides guidance on its use. Only the reverse of the Great Seal is used officially. In 1959, however, the obverse was described in statute and has been considered part of the Seal. Often, it adorns public buildings.
In 1959, the General Assembly adopted the seal by statute and codified its description. Revisions to the law were enacted in 1969
Maryland State Bird: Baltimore Oriole
Maryland State Flower: Black-eyed Susan
Maryland State Tree: White Oak
Maryland, My Maryland was written by a 22 year-old schoolteacher named James Ryder Randall. Excited by a story of the passage of Union troops through the city of Baltimore, he composed a bitter poem and published it in a New Orleans newspaper. As he described it later, he composed the poem “under what may be called a conflagration of the senses, if not an inspiration of the intellect.” It is set to the traditional tune of “Lauriger Horatius” (O, Tannenbaum). In 1939, Maryland offically adopted it as the State Song.
Learn about Maryland’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
There are approximately 120 species of trees naturally occurring in Maryland. The most common tree species include Eastern White Pine, Pignut Hickory, Loblolly Pine, Eastern Hemlock, White Oak, Red Maple, White Ash, Sweet Gum, Tuliptree, American Beech, and Sassafras.
Wild horses live on the islands off the coast of Maryland, but they are not native to the U.S. The horses are the offspring of Spanish stock brought over by explorers. The horses are allowed to live on the islands because of their historical importance.
Mammals native to Maryland include fishers (a weasel-like animal), raccoons, striped skunks, foxes, nutria, squirrels, porcupines, opossums, woodchucks, voles, moles, mice, and rats. A total of 436 bird species have been documented in Maryland. Learn more about the birds of Maryland here.
Famous People from Maryland
Frederick Douglass (social reformer, abolitionist)
Harriet Tubman (abolitionist, spy)
Thurgood Marshall (Supreme Court Justice)
Babe Ruth (baseball player)
Benjamin Banneker (scientist/astronomer)
Francis Scott Key (writer of the Star-Spangled Banner)
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip Maryland
If you have a chance to visit the state of Maryland, 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.
Maryland Historical Society collections include more than 350,000 objects and 7 million books and documents, ranging from pre-settlement to the present day and representing virtually every aspect of Maryland history and life.
The B&O Railroad Museum brings alive the magic and adventure of railroading every day! This historic national landmark allows you to see, touch, hear and explore the most important railroad collection in America.
Whether you are a history buff, a military history fan, or looking for an adventure for the whole family, Maryland’s Civil War Trails have something for everyone.
Glimpse monuments commemorating navy heroism. Take a guided tour that brings you into the very dormitory where midshipmen spend four years. Visit the Naval Academy Museum, with two floors’ worth of world-class exhibits covering the history of the Naval Academy and the U.S. Navy. Catch the excitement of one of 50-plus Navy Men’s and Women’s sporting events.
The Annapolis Maritime Museum is a free museum that educates curious visitors of all ages about Annapolis’ rich maritime heritage and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay, particularly the Bay’s all-important oyster and its harvesters.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment and people of the Chesapeake Bay.
As the State of Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage, the Banneker-Douglass Museum serves to document, to interpret, and to promote African American history and culture (particularly in Maryland) through exhibitions, programs, and projects in order to improve the understanding and appreciating of America’s rich cultural diversity for all.
For half a century, SERC scientists have taken on environmental issues on Chesapeake Bay and around the world and uncovered new ways to protect the planet. Learn more about SERC’s history and discoveries.
Assateague Island wild ponies travel the beach near Chincoteague, Virginia & Ocean City, Maryland. Assateague’s south entrance is a 1/4 mile east of Chincoteague, its north entrance is eight miles from Ocean City. Chincoteague and Ocean City are gateways to Assateague Island and provide vacation lodging for outdoor recreation, nature tours to see wild ponies, and more.
At the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, you’ll find something quite rare. A fun-filled experience where you and your entire family will become part of one of the most important stories of our nation’s history – the sewing of the flag that inspired our National Anthem.
The Crystal Grottoes Caverns were founded in 1920 when the State Roads Commission was quarrying for limestone to build up and pave State Route 34. After successfully quarrying back a cliff that was 35 to 55 feet high and 150 feet deep, an unusual event occurred. The next time they started to drill, they lost their drill bits in the cave. Later, when dynamite was detonated in the drill holes, the first entrance was produced.
With an extensive history in both Washington, DC, and Baltimore, today the National Aquarium carries on the legacy of the nation’s first aquarium. As a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the National Aquarium champions environmental initiatives by engaging with visitors, volunteers, students and citizens from around the world to actively participate in the preservation of our natural resources and living systems.
Interesting Facts about Maryland
General George Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army at the state house in Annapolis.
On January 14, 1784, the signing of the Treaty of Paris at the state capitol ended the Revolutionary War.
On September 13-14, 1814, in the Harbor of Baltimore opposite Ft. McHenry, Francis Scott Key was detained aboard a British ship of war during the bombardment of that fort during the War of 1812. After watching the battle, he wrote the famous poem which was later set to music and became known as the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Since May 30th, 1949 the United States flag has flown continuously over the monument marking the site of Francis Scott Key’s birthplace. The flag flies at Terra Rubra Farm, Carroll County, Keymar, Maryland as mandated by a Joint Resolution of Congress.
The 1,200 foot Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the second longest continuous truss bridge in the nation.
Washington, DC originally sat on land that was given by Maryland to build the capital of the United States.
Maryland’s state house is the oldest still in use.
The Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, took place near Antietam Creek outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s first 13 miles of track connect Baltimore to Ellicott City, where America’s first railroad terminal opened in 1831. Watch this video to learn the history of America’s first railroad.
Camp David, the country retreat of the President of the United States, is located in wooded hills about 62 miles north-northwest of Washington, D.C., in Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont, Maryland.
The first dental school in the United States opened at the University of Maryland.
Arts, Crafts, and Cooking
Use this tutorial to make an American Flag chalk pastel.
Learn about Freedom Quilts and then make one.
Make a crab out of paper plates.
Create a glow-in-the-dark Big Dipper.
Learn the art of catching blue crabs.
Watch famous ponies swim in Chincoteague Island tradition.
Go to a baseball game.
Explore the Supreme Court with this interactive website.
Print out this free activity book about Chesapeake Bay.
Maryland Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
B is for Blue Crab by Shirley Menendez
A Picture Book of Frederick Douglass by David A. Adler
Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall by David A. Adler
Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner by Monica Kulling
By the Dawn’s Early Light by Steven Kroll
Marshall, the Courthouse Mouse: A Tail of the U.S. Supreme Court by Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Assateague: Island of Wild Ponies by Andrea Jauck and Larry Points
Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth by Robert Burleigh
Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll
Book Basket (NonFiction)
The Maryland Colony by Kevin Cunningham
Maryland (Hello U.S.A.) by Joyce Johnston (currently out of print but may be available at your library)
Maryland Facts and Symbols by Muriel Dubois (currently out of print but may be available at your library)
Maryland’s Sights and Symbols by Jenny Deinard
Awesome Chesapeake: A Kid’s Guide to the Bay by David Owen Ball
Walking Baltimore by Evan Balkan
Baseball: Then to WOW! by Sports Illustrated
The Stars by H.A. Rey
Birds of Maryland and Delaware Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
Maryland and DC Wildlife by James Kavanagh
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
Who Was Harriet Tubman by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Francis Scott Key by David R. Collins
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Mary Young Pickersgill Flag Maker of the Star-Spangled Banner by Sally Johnston
Who Was Babe Ruth? by Joan Holub
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.
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (available free to Amazon Prime members)