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.
Vermont Unit Study
Once an independent republic, Vermont was the 14th state to join the Union on March 4, 1791. It was the first state to join the union outside of the original thirteen colonies. Vermont is part of the New England region of the northeastern United States. Ranking 44th in size in the nation, and made up of 9,616 square miles, Vermont is only 160 miles long and 80 miles wide. Its borders include Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and Quebec to the north.
Vermont is a picturesque state with Lake Champlain making up half of its border to the west and the Green Mountains, for which Vermont, gets its name, run north to south the full length of the state. The climate in Vermont is considered Continental Moist, however, it generally has four noticeable seasons. Because of this, Vermont is sometimes referred to as the “four season state.” The summers are usually mild and the winters are cold, often with heavy snowfall. The seasons afford residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy Vermont’s beautiful weather and the various recreational activities available on the lakes and in the mountains.
Population: 625,317 (this makes Vermont the 49th state in the U.S. in population)
Nickname: Green Mountain State
Samuel de Champlain labeled the mountains in Vermont as “Verd Mont” which means Green Mountain in 1647. This is how Vermont got both it’s state name and it’s nickname.
Motto: Freedom and Unity
Agriculture: dairy products, beef cattle, chicken eggs, turkeys, honey, greenhouse and nursery products, hay, maple products, apples, sweet corn, and potatoes
Fishing Industry: brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, and walleye
Industry: insurance, electrical equipment, computer components, machinery, food products, and tourism
Mining: Granite, limestone, marble, sand, gravel, slate, and talc
Have your students color and label an outline map of Vermont. Include the state capital of Montpelier and the largest city of Burlington. Also include the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. Don’t forget to include the town of Waterbury, home of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
The Vermont flag, adopted in 1919, features the state coat of arms, the state motto, the state badge, and the state crest. A field of blue encompasses these items. The coat of arms is a landscape featuring mountains overlooking a field. In the field is a pine tree, three sheaves, and a red cow. The motto, “Freedom and Unity,” is featured on a scroll beneath the coat of arms. The badge is two pine branches that are crossed over each other beneath the shield. The state crest shows a buck’s head. This is over the crest on the flag.
The state seal of Vermont has seen a few revisions since original adoption in 1779. In 1821, the seal that was used was very similar to the original but did not show as much symbolism as the first one. Then in 1937, an exact replica of the original design was created and adopted as the state seal. It is still used today. The symbolism of the seal is as follows: the Green Mountains are shown by the row of hills in the background, agriculture is symbolized by the cow and the sheaves, wavy lines along the top and bottom indicate the sky and water. The pine tree in the center represents it’s own great presence in the state for many years.
Vermont State Bird: Hermit Thrush
In 1941, Vermont designated the Hermit Thrush as its official state bird. The Hermit Thrush is often found in the forests of the north in the summer and ventures across the country in the winter. It is slightly smaller than the American Robin with a delightful song.
Vermont State Flower: Red Clover
The Red Clover became the state flower of Vermont in 1894. The perennial flower is not native to the United States, however, Vermont designated red clover as the state flower in 1894.
Vermont State Tree: Sugar Maple
The sugar maple tree, adopted as Vermont’s state tree in 1949, is a popular in America both commercially and in the residential market. It is claimed more than any other tree as a state tree among the 50 states. It is important commercially for its maple syrup and lumber and is enjoyed in residential settings for the vivid shades of yellow, orange, and red that appear as its leaves turn each fall.
State Song: These Green Mountains
These Green Mountains by Diane Martin & Rita Buglass Gluckstate was adopted in 2000 as the official state song. The Green Mountains are an important part of the Vermont landscape and are featured on the flag, the state seal, and are noted in the state’s nickname. Click here to listen to the state song and here for the lyrics.
Learn about Vermont’s state government here: Government
Have your kids visit the VT kids page to learn more about government and other important facts about Vermont.
Flora and Fauna
Common birds to Vermont by geographical region are: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bobolink, Brown-headed Cowbird, Rusty Blackbird, Orchard Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ovenbird, Veery, Peregrine Falcon, and Hooded Merganser
The Abenaki Native American tribe is believed to be the first inhabitants of Vermont. While living there they would hunt, gather herbs and berries, and make maple syrup. The Abenaki heritage continues in Vermont today with customs that were established many years ago.
Northern Vermont was first claimed by French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1609. Small settlements and a fort at Isle LaMotte were established by the French. The British were not far behind the French in claiming territory in Vermont. Tension between the two lasted until the French was defeated in the French and Indian War. The British was then given the rights to Vermont. In 1777, during the American Revolution, Vermont declared itself an independent republic. Their declaration of independence was made by the famous Green Mountain Boys who were known for their role in the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington. In the 14 years that Vermont was independent, they had their own postal service and coins. It is said that the battles of Bennington and Saratoga are turning points in the American Revolution. Together the locations became the initial defeat of a British army.
In 1791 Vermont joined the Union. The state constitution written for Vermont was the first to allow all men to vote, regardless of their income or what property they owned. The constitution was also the first to outlaw adult slavery and the first to require the creation of a public school system.
During the era of the Civil War, Vermont was known for it’s involvement if the Underground Railroad. They also had a large percentage of men who volunteered to fight in the Civil War. This set the stage for Vermont citizens to serve their country.
Today Vermont is known for it’s tourist destinations and the production of maple syrup.
Famous People from Vermont
Calvin Coolidge – 30th President of the United States
Chester A. Arthur (21st President of the United States)
John Deere (entrepreneur and inventor of the steel plow)
Elisha Otis (inventor)
Grace Coolidge (First lady of the United States)
Thomas Davenport (inventor)
Thomas Rhodes Rockwell (author of How to Eat Fried Worms)
A. E. Douglass (astronomer)
Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley (photographer)
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip Vermont
The Trapp Family Lodge is an Austrian inspired resort located in Stowe, Vermont. Sam von Trapp, son of Johannes von Trapp, manages the lodge. The Trapp family, fictionalized in The Sound of Music, came to Vermont in 1942 – a few years after they left Austria before its annexation by Nazi Germany.
A freshwater lake in North America that lies on the U.S. – Canadian border. It is 125 miles long by 14 miles wide and is 400 feet deep. Visitors can hike, bike, boat, and more around the lake. Click here for a panoramic view of the lake.
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House sits on the U.S. – Canadian border. It was built in 1901 and is a treasure for Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC.
Vermont Teddy Bear Company is the largest maker of hand-crafted, American-made Teddy Bears. The company was created when John Sortino, founder of the company, wanted to see the American tradition of the teddy bear made in America.
The place considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War is Bennington, VT. The battle took place on August 16, 1777. While visiting the monument be sure to go inside where you can see 3 states from the observation tower.
ECHO Lake Aquarium is a discovery center for Vermont residents and visitors to learn more about the wildlife living in the Champlain Basin. The goal of ECHO Lake Aquarium is to educate and inspire the public to impact the world around them.
This historic site, in Plymouth Notch, VT, includes the village surrounding the home where Calvin Coolidge was born. He did not live in Plymouth Notch his entire life but did often return there to visit family. On the evening of August 2, 1923, Coolidge learning of President Harding’s death took the oath of office to become the 30th President of the United States. The oath was administered by Coolidge’s father, a notary public. The grounds of the Homestead include historic homes, a general store, cemetery, where President Coolidge is buried, a one-room school house, and it’s newest addition the President Calvin Coolidge Museum and Education Center.
The Old Constitution House where Vermont’s first constitution as a free and independent state was written and signed.
Visit the American Museum of Fly Fishing, housed in a farmhouse from the 1800’s, to see a vast collection of artifacts that share the history of fly fishing.
For anyone interested in anything mechanical, the American Precision Museum is a must visit when in Vermont. Located in Windsor, VT, the museum houses the largest collection of machine tools in the nation. Note that the museum is only open late May – October 31st each year.
Norwich, VT is home to the Montshire Museum of Science where visitors can get hands on experience in the fields of natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology.
If you love cheese, be sure to stop by the Cabot Cheese Visitors Center to learn more about their delicious products.
Located in Quechee, VT, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science has a goal of inspiring the public to care for and preserve the environment through educational exhibits, research, and wildlife rehabilitation.
A trip to Vermont would not be complete without visiting the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Factory. The tour, approximately 30 minutes in length, shows the public how the famous ice cream is made.
If you have a chance to visit the state of Vermont, 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.
Interesting Facts about Vermont
Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book while living in Brattleboro, Vermont
Vermont is the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup. On the average, it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup. Read more about it here
Montpelier is the smallest capital city in America. It is also the only state capital city without a McDonald’s. Learn more about Vermont’s State House here.
One of the first ski lifts in the U.S. was in Woodstock, VT in 1934. The lift was powered by an antique Model-T Ford engine, the tow pulled people up a hill while holding onto a moving rope.
Vermont is the only New England state that does not touch the Atlantic Ocean.
The first colonial victory of the Revolutionary War took place when Fort Ticonderoga was captured by forces with Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold in the lead.
The first US Postage stamp was printed in Brattleboro, VT in 1846
In 1885 Wilson A. “Snowflake” Bentley was the first person to photograph a snowflake.
Vermont is the largest producer of marble in the United States.
Vermont is one of only two states in America to offer snowboarding as a varsity sport that comes with a state championship.
IBM is Vermont’s largest employer. The company employs just under 400,000 people worldwide.
Lake Champlain run along almost the entire length of the border between Vermont and New York and is the sixth-largest interior body of water in the country. Only the five Great Lakes are bigger. Lake Champlain, the sixth largest freshwater lake in the United States (only the five great lakes are bigger than Lake Champlain), briefly became the nation’s sixth Great Lake on March 6, 1998, when President Clinton signed Senate Bill 927. But the joy was short-lived as the Great Lake status was rescinded on March 24, 1998.
Perhaps the most intricate and impressive maze comprised of maize is located in Danville, Vermont. It sits on 10 acres and the corn itself reaches 10 feet high. The maze can take hours to complete and usually does, unless you bail out on one of the emergency exits.
Rudyard Kipling invented the game of snow golf in Vermont by painting his golf balls red so that they were easier to find in the snow.
Arts, Crafts, and Cooking
Vermont is known for the vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow of it’s trees in the Fall of the year.
Enjoy a leaf painting activity.
Make your own Teddy Bear.
In honor of “Snowflake” Bentley, choose from a variety of snowflake crafts.
Make homemade maple cream
Use this US Stamp Collecting Starter Kit to begin stamp collecting
Take a virtual tour of Vermont
Learn more about maple sugaring with the Branon family
Watch how Cabot cheddar cheese is made
Enjoy this episode of Curiosity Quest at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
Have a food taste test with Cabot cheese and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Both are probably available at your local grocery store.
Tour the Rock of Ages Granite Quarries in Barre Vermont
Vermont Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
M Is For Maple Syrup: A Vermont Alphabet (Discover America State by State) –by
Vermont Symbols & Facts Projects: 30 Cool, Activities, Crafts, Experiments & More for Kids to Do to Learn About Your State (Vermont Experience) by
Vermont by Kathy Pelta
Sugaring by Jessie Haas
The Legend of the Teddy Bear by Frank Murphy
If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy
Book Basket (NonFiction)
A Moose for Jessica by Pat A. Wakefield
Bentley’s Snowflakes CD-ROM and Book (Dover Electronic Clip Art) by
My Brother Loved Snowflakes: The Story of Wilson A. Bentley, the Snowflake Man by Mary Bahr (out of print but may be available at your local library)
Vermont Nature Guide by Sheri Amsel
Birds of New Hampshire and Vermont by Stan Tekiela
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
Kitty and Mr. Kipling by Lenore Blegvad (out of print but may be available at your local library)
The Hero of Ticonderoga by Gail Gauthier (out of print but may be available at your local library)
The Green Mountain Boys: A Historical Tale of the Early Settlement of Vermont by Judge D.P. Thompson
Pioneer Plowmaker: A Story about John Deere by David R. Collins
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.
Take a virtual tour of Church Street Marketplace in Downtown Burlington Vermont
Learn about the cheese making process at Cabot Cheese
Visit Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
Learn about the Vermont town of Derby Line that shares streets and buildings with Stanstead, Quebec. Watch an ABC news report about the town here.
The Sound of Music on DVD
Virtual Internet Magazine of towns, events, and history of Vermont