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.
South Carolina Unit Study
Carolina became the separate colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina in 1710. South Carolina became the 8th state when it joined the Union on May 23, 1788 and was named for King Charles I of England (in Latin, “Charles” translates to “Carolina”).
South Carolina ranks 40th in size in the nation with a total area of 31,189 square miles. It ranks 5th in population as a part of the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by the state of North Carolina to the north and northwest, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, and the state of Georgia to the southwest and west.
South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures in South Carolina’s six geographical regions vary based on elevation, distance inland from the coast, and the time of year. The majority of the state averages a temperature of 90 °F in the summer months. The winter months, however, do not share common temperatures in all areas of South Carolina. The coastal region will see temperatures as high as 60 °F and lows around 38 °F. The other regions of the state, depending on their distance from the coast, experience average daytime temperatures of 50 °F and 32 °F at night.
Population: 4,896,146 million
Nickname: Palmetto State
Legend has it that South Carolina earned its nickname during the Revolutionary War when colonists on Sullivan Island defended Charleston Harbor, defeating a British fleet, from a small fort built from palmetto trees.
Mottos: “Animis Opibusque Parati”, meaning Prepared in Mind and Resources. On the right, “Dum Spiro Spero”, meaning While I Breathe I Hope. Both mottos are found on the state seal.
Agriculture: Broilers (chickens raised for meat), turkeys, greenhouse/nursery products (especially turf for golf courses), cotton, corn, cattle, soybeans, peanuts, chicken eggs, wheat, and tobacco
Fishing Industry: Shrimp, clams, crabs, oysters and snapper
Industry: Tourism, chemicals, textile production, wood, pulp and paper products.
Mining: Granite, limestone, and gold
Have your students color and label an outline map of South Carolina. Include the state capital, and largest city, of Columbia. Also include the cities of Charleston, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Lake Marion, the Edisto River, and the six geographical regions of the state (Blue Ridge, Piedmont, Sandhills, Inner Coastal Plain, Outer Coastal Plain, and the Coastal Zone)
The state flag of South Carolina was designed by Colonel William Moultrie during the Revolutionary War. The blue background matched the uniform color of the South Carolina troops. The crescent shape was taken from the silver emblem on the soldier’s caps and the palmetto tree symbolizes the victory against the attack of the British in 1776.
The South Carolina state seal is round with two oval areas. The are linked together by branches of the palmetto tree. The left oval is the palmetto tree with a fallen oak at the base. The right oval is the goddess Spes (Hope) walking on the beach at dawn over discarded weapons. The State’s two mottos surround the elliptical shapes. On the left is “Animis Opibusque Parati”, meaning Prepared in Mind and Resources. On the right, “Dum Spiro Spero”, meaning While I Breathe I Hope.
South Carolina State Bird: Carolina Wren
South Carolina designated the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) as the official state bird 1948, replacing the Mockingbird. The Carolina Wren can be heard year-round, day and night, in all kinds of weather.
South Carolina State Flower: Yellow Jessamine
The SC General Assembly adopted the Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) as the official State Flower in 1924. The flower naturally grows in every part of the State.
South Carolina State Tree: Sabal Palmetto
The Sabal Palmetto (Inodes Palmetto) was designated as the official State Tree in 1939. It is also commonly known as the Cabbage Palmetto. The tree symbolizes the defeat of the British fleet at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. The fort was built of Palmetto logs, which absorbed the impact of the cannon balls.
Learn about South Carolina’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
South Carolina’s most common trees include Loblolly pine, Heritage River Birch, Leyland Cypress, Flowering Dogwood, Southern Magnolia, Live Oak, and American Holly. For more information on tree identification in South Carolina, click here.
Mammals common to South Carolina include beaver, black bear, white tailed deer, opossum, river otter, eastern gray squirrel, big brown bat, gray fox, southern fox squirrel, and bottle nosed dolphins. Common birds include wild turkey, mourning dove, mockingbird, wood duck, northern cardinal, ruby-throated hummingbird, and the carolina chickadee.
South Carolina History
In the 16th century, French and Spanish explorers arrived in what is now North and South Carolina. When they came ashore, they found native Americans inhabiting the land. The largest tribes were the Catawbas and the Cherokees.
In 1670, a permanent English settlement was established on the coast in the vicinity of present-day Charleston. That colony was named Carolina after King Charles I. In 1710, the land was divided into two separate colonies – North and South Carolina.
South Carolina became one of the most prosperous of the thirteen colonies. Farmers and merchants across the state contributed several leaders in the fight for independence against the British. More Revolutionary War battles and skirmishes were fought on South Carolina soil than any other site during the war.
May 23, 1788, South Carolina ratified the United States Constitution and became the 8th state in the union.
December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the union based on restrictions on free trade and the abolition of slavery. Slavery plays a large part of South Carolina’s history. On June 2, 1863, Harriet Tubman, who had been born into slavery, led Union troops on a raid to Hilton Head, South Carolina. The raid liberated 800 men, women, and children from slavery.
Confederate troops fired the first shot of the Civil War on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor on April 12, 1861. The Civil War ended on May 9, 1865 and South Carolina rejoined the Union on July 9, 1868.
It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that South Carolina began to recover from the devastation of the war. At that time, the textile industry began to develop and by 1915, the city of Greenville was known as the “Textile Center of the South.” Tourism also became a lucrative business for South Carolina as people discovered the mountains and the beaches in the state.
On September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall just north of Charleston, South Carolina at Sullivan’s Island as a Category 4 storm with estimated maximum winds of 135-140 mph.
Famous People from South Carolina
John C. Calhoun (Vice President under John Adams and Andrew Jackson)
Dizzy Gillespie (Jazz musician)
Andrew Jackson (7th President of the United States)
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson (famous baseball player)
Ronald McNair (NASA Astronaut )
Francis Marion (Soldier in the Revolutionary and French & Indian Wars – known as “the Swamp Fox”)
Robert Mills (architect of the Washington Monument)
Charles Pinckney (a principle author and signer of the U.S. Constitution)
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip South Carolina
If you have a chance to visit the state of South Carolina, 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.
The Civil War began at Fort Sumter. Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back. Learn about the WebRangers program if you are unable to visit and the Junior Rangers program if you are.
Bishopville, SC is home to the state cotton museum where you can learn the history of cotton in the state of South Carolina and see the world’s largest Boll Weevil.
What once housed an antebellum slave auction is now home to shops and vendors, including the “sweetgrass ladies” making their treasured baskets.
Though there is some debate about it’s age, the Angel Oak tree is thought to be one of the oldest trees in the United States. It stands 66-1/2 feet tall and measures 28 feet in circumference.
South Carolina State Museum and EdVenture
The SC State Museum recaps the history of South Carolina. On the same property, you will find EdVenture, an interactive children’s museum.
South Carolina claims to be the birthplace of barbecue. Whether you like mustard, vinegar and pepper, light tomato or heavy tomato sauce, the BBQ trail has a taste for everyone.
Home to the USS Yorktown, the USS Clamagore Submarine, the USS Laffey Destroyer, aircraft, Vietnam Experience exhibit, and the Medal of Honor museum Patriot’s Point is a must see when in the Charleston area. Tours to Fort Sumter also leave from Patriot’s Point.
Located in Caesars Head State Park, Raven Cliff Falls is the highest waterfall in South Carolina. If you like to hike, take the 2.2 mile Gum Gap/Foothills Trail to the top of the falls.
Astonishing biodiversity exists in Congaree National Park, the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain, carrying nutrients and sediments that nourish and rejuvenate this ecosystem and support the growth of national and state champion trees.
Download and print Junior Ranger books for your children to explore more about this National Park.
Interesting Facts about South Carolina
The first public library in South Carolina was opened in Charles Town on November 16, 1700. It remained open for 14 years.
The first scientific recording of weather including temperature, rainfall, atmospheric pressure, humidity and wind direction was done in the Charleston home of Dr. John Lining in April of 1737.
In January of 1773, America’s first museum was opened to the public in Charleston. The Charleston Museum opened around the time of the American Revolution displaying exhibits that emphasized the history, science, and natural resources of the SC Low country.
The only commercial tea plantation in America is on Wadmalaw Island, near Charleston. You can take a trolley tour through the tea bushes, tour the factory where the tea is made, and visit the gift shop. All other tea plantations in the world are in Asia, Africa, and South America.
The first golf club was created by Scottish settlers in Charleston in 1786. Today golfers can choose from one of 477 golf courses across the state of South Carolina.
Blue Cheese was first cured in the south inside a tunnel. Located in the Upstate of South Carolina, Stumphouse Tunnel was originally constructed for railroad travel spanning from Charleston to Knoxville and then on to Cincinnati. Lack of funding and the start of the Civil War halted construction. In 1951, Clemson University purchased the tunnel and used it to store and age their famous blue cheese. Cheese is no longer stored there, however, the tunnel is open to visitors daily from 10 am to sunset.
Arts, Crafts, and Cooking
Here are a few ideas to get you started as you learn about arts and crafts in South Carolina.
Learn how to dance The Carolina Shag (the SC state dance)
Learn how Indigo is grown and processed and then enjoy creating a beautiful tie dye shirt or other project with this Indigo Tie Dye Kit (watch this video to learn how to tie dye). You can even try your hand at growing your own indigo flowers.
Your older children might be inspired by this “rainbow row” watercolor tutorial
Have your child visit the Student Connection page on the South Carolina State House website. Here they can learn about the state’s legislature, find out more cool facts, take a photographic tour of the state house, and download coloring pages of some of the state symbols.
Visit Discover South Carolina where you can learn more about places to visit and things to do.
Take a virtual tour of the South Carolina State House.
Enjoy a game of Battleship.
Watch this documentary on the History of Cotton.
Learn how to use a hurricane tracking map.
Take an architectural tour of South Carolina, beginning with designs by Robert Mills.
South Carolina Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
The Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina by Melinda Long
Net Numbers: A South Carolina Number Book by Carol Crane and Gary Palmer
P Is For Palmetto: A South Carolina Alphabet by Carol Crane and Mary Whyte
Good Night South Carolina by Adam Gamble, Mark Jasper and Cooper Kelly
If You Lived with the Cherokee by Peter Roop
Circle Unbroken by Margot Theis Raven
The Pink House by Kate Salley Palmer
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Palmetto: Symbol of Courage by Kate Salley Palmer (currently out of print but may be available from your library)
If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War by Kay Moore
B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet by Patricia Bauer
Civil War Uniforms Coloring Book by Peter F. Copeland
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue
Yesterday We Had a Hurricane by Deirdre McLaughlin Mercier
The Mighty Hugo Comes to Town by Jereleen Miller (currently out of print but may be available at your library)
Book Basket (NonFiction)
The South Carolina Colony by Kevin Cunningham
What’s Great about South Carolina? by Rebecca Felix
South Carolina by Janelle Cherrington
South Carolina: The Palmetto State by Kristin Schuetz
Coastal Birds of South Carolina by Roger S. Everett
Shots Fired at Fort Sumter: Civil War Breaks Out by Wendy Vietow (currently out of print but may be available from your library)
The Civil War for Kids by Janis Herbert
Dizzy by Jonah Winter
Cotton Now & Then: Fabric-Making from Boll to Bolt by Karen B. Willing
Robert Mills: America’s First Architect by John Bryan (currently out of print but may be available from your library)
The Washington Monument by Kristin L. Nelson
Hurricanes by Seymour Simon
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
Young Andrew Jackson in the Carolinas:: A Revolutionary Boy by Jennifer Hunsicker
In the Spirit of Ronald E. McNair- Astronaut: An American Hero by Carl S. McNair
The Hurricane Mystery (The Boxcar Children) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
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.