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.
Indiana Unit Study
Indiana, whose name means “Land of Indians,” became the 19th state to join the union on December 11, 1816. Located in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the U.S., Indiana covers 36,418 sq. mi square miles. This makes Indiana the 38th largest state. Indiana is bordered by Michigan and Lake Michigan to the north, Kentucky to the south, Ohio to the east, and Illinois to the west. The climate is humid continental except in the southern part of the state where more precipitation is accumulated in more of a humid subtropical climate.
Population: 6,641,480 million – ranking it 17th in the nation
Nickname: The Hoosier State
It is said that the nickname for Indiana came from early settlers who used to yell “Who’s there?” from inside their home when someone came to visit. From the outside, it sounded more like “hoosier” than “Who’s there.”
Motto: Crossroads of America
The nickname for Indianapolis, because of the major highways that “criss-cross” in the city, became the official state motto in 1937.
Agriculture: corn for grain, soybeans, hogs, dairy products, and chicken eggs, milk, beef cattle and eggs, wheat and hay, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, snap beans, sweet corn, apples, blueberries and watermelons
Fishing Industry: catfish, black bass, and inland trout
Industry: medical devices, transportation equipment, primary metals, and aluminum production
Mining: coal, limestone, sand and gravel.
Have your students color and label an outline map of Indiana. Include Indianapolis, the state’s capital and largest city, as well as Fort Wayne, Evansville, and Corydon (Indiana’s first state capital). Be sure to include the Hoosier National forest in south-central Indiana, Fountain City – known as the “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad,” and the town of Santa Claus – the town that receives hundreds of thousands of letters addressed Santa himself every year.
Adopted in 1917, the state flag of Indiana was designed for a contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The design is a field of blue with a torch in the center. The torch symbolizes liberty and enlightenment. There are 7 rays coming from the torch that are said to represent far-reaching influence. The 13 original colonies are represented by stars with an additional 5 stars representing the next 5 states to join the union. The largest star above the torch represents Indiana.
The state seal of Indiana was adopted in 1963 by the Indiana General Assembly, however, the current design is similar to scenes found on documents dating back to 1801. The circular design shows a woodsman swinging his ax to cut down a tree, a buffalo jumping over a log, several sycamore trees, and the sun setting behind the hills. The leaves of the tulip poplar are around the border with the words “State Seal of Indiana.” 1816, the year Indiana joined the union is inscribed at the base of the seal.
Indiana State Bird: Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal, a favorite backyard bird, became the official state bird of Indiana in 1933. Cardinals are known for the bright red color of the male species and the fact that the females sing, which is rare.
Indiana State Flower: Peony
In 1957, Indiana adopted the peony as its official state flower; however, they did not choose a specific color or variety. The flower is often seen in single and double forms all around Indiana. Peony blooms of red, pink, yellow, and white appear yearly in the late spring and early summers.
Indiana State Tree: Tulip Poplar
A member of the magnolia family, the tulip poplar, can be found across the state of Indiana. The tree is unique in shape and is known for its large, bell-shaped flowers that are seen in the spring. Indiana adopted the tulip poplar as the official state tree in 1931.
Written by Paul Dresser, Indiana adopted On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away the official state song in 1913.
Learn about Indiana’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
Trees commonly found in Indiana are: Eastern Red Cedar, White Pine, Common Hackberry, Shagbark Hickory, Red Maple, White Ash, River Birch, Box Elder, Black Cherry, White Oak, Pin Oak, Sassafrass, Baldcypress, Blue Spruce, and Black Gum.
Mammals common to Indiana include: Virginia Opossum, Little Brown Bat, Big Brown Bat, Red Bat, Eastern Cottontail, Eastern Chipmunk, Groundhog, Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, Southern Flying Squirrel, American Beaver, Meadow Vole, Southern Bog Lemming, Coyote, Red Fox, Raccoon, and the Bobcat
Common Indiana birds include: Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Ruddy Duck, Tundra Swan, Greater White-fronted Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Red-breasted Merganser, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Mourning Dove, Sandhill Crane, Sora, Marbled Godwit, Short-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, Herring Gull, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Pied-billed Grebe, and the Olive-sided Flycatcher
Indiana, meaning “land of Indians,” gained its name because it was inhabited by Native Americans for many years prior to the British gaining control after the French and Indian Wars. Among the major tribes that lived in what is now Indiana were the Delaware, Kickapoo, Miami, Mound Builders, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, Shawnee, and Wea.
Britain remained in control of Indiana until after the American Revolution when Indiana was given over to the United States. The United States expanded into the land west of the Mississippi, dividing the land into territories. One of these was the Northwest Territory. In 1800, the Indiana Territory was the first established out of the Northwest Territory. In 1816, the territory had grown and became the 19th state to join the union.
As a new state, Indiana developed roads, canals, railroads, and public schools. This happened quickly and it was driven to bankruptcy. Eventually the state regained economic stability and became the fourth largest state in population.
Corydon remained the first state capital until 1825, when the capital was moved to Indianapolis.
Indiana was the first state from the west to send troops out for the Civil War. The troops from Indiana engaged in almost every battle in the war. After the war, Indiana gained presence in the political realm as an important swing state in the presidential elections. It’s influence was felt in control of the U.S. presidency for three decades.
Indiana has been a leader in industry and culture for many years. In the 20th century the auto and pharmaceutical industries grew in Indiana helping it become a leader in both arenas. Fighter planes, tanks, submarines and battleships for World War II were built in Indiana. The state also saw the value in preserving history and did so by building museums and libraries so that the history could be shared with Indiana residents and visitors.
Famous People from Indiana
George Rogers Clark (militia officer)
Wilbur Wright (inventor)
Benjamin Harrison (23rd President of the U.S.)
James Whitcomb Riley (Poet Laureate of Indiana)
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip Indiana
If you have a chance to visit the state of Indiana, 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 country’s only late-Victorian preservation is a National Historic Landmark which offers visitors a glimpse into the life of the great Hoosier Poet. Authentic furnishings and artifacts include Mr. Riley’s writing desk and his famous top hat and cane.
From the captivating T. rexes and duckbill dinosaurs of Dinosphere, to Dale Chihuly’s towering artwork Fireworks of Glass, to the compelling message of The Power of Children, to a joyous ride on a real old-time Carousel, the exhibits and collections of The Children’s Museum fascinate people of all ages. Explore five floors of fun and adventure, immerse yourselves in exciting exhibits, and discover why The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis should be on every family’s must-see (and do) list!
There’s a place that uses the past to show us the future. A place that inspires people of all ages to learn more about the world through unique experience areas. It’s a destination that’s driven by imagination, curiosity, and wonder. It’s a place called Conner Prairie. Experience Indiana’s first Smithsonian affiliate, 12 months a year!
The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle celebrates the proud heritage of basketball in Indiana from its origins in the 1890s to the current season.
A visit to the 14,000 square foot museum features not only the men, women, and teams that have brought recognition to themselves, their communities and schools, but a number of interactive exhibits that will bring you closer to the action of Indiana high school basketball!
A part of the legendary Underground Railroad for fleeing slaves of pre-Civil War days, this registered National Historic Landmark is a Federal style brick home built in 1839. Levi and Catharine Coffin were legendary in helping many former slaves escape to freedom in the North. Levi is often referred to as the President of the Underground Railroad.
In a celebrated campaign, Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark, older brother of William Clark, and his frontiersmen captured Fort Sackville and British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton on February 25, 1779. The heroic march of Clark’s men from Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River in mid-winter and the subsequent victory over the British remains one of the great feats of the American Revolution.
In 1966, Indiana transferred the site to the National Park Service. Adjacent to the memorial is a visitor center which presents interpretive programs and displays.
As curators of his birthsite, our mission is to educate the public by preserving and interpreting the life, family, and achievements of Wilbur Wright. You may be wondering where did Wilbur Wright grow up? Or how did the Wright brothers become interested in flight? You can discover the answers to these questions and more with a visit to the Wilbur Wright Birthplace in East Central Indiana. Be inspired by the humble men who changed the world by making their dream come true!
Visit Walking by the Way for the Ultimate List of Indiana Field Trips.
Interesting Facts about Indiana
The first long-distance auto race in the U. S. was held May 30, 1911, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The winner averaged 75 miles an hour and won a 1st place prize of $14,000. Today the average speed is over 167 miles an hour and the prize is more than $1.2 million.
Abraham Lincoln moved to Indiana when he was 7 years old. He lived most of his boyhood life in Spencer County with his parents Thomas and Nancy.
Explorers Lewis and Clark set out from Fort Vincennes on their exploration of the Northwest Territory.
Marcella Gruelle of Indianapolis created the Raggedy Ann doll in 1914.
Santa Claus, Indiana receives over one half million letters and requests at Christmas time.
Indiana’s shoreline with Lake Michigan is only 40 miles long, but Indiana is still considered a Great Lakes State.
More than 100 species of trees are native to Indiana. Before the pioneer’s arrive more than 80% of Indiana was covered with forest. Now only 17% of the state is considered forested.
Deep below the earth in Southern Indiana is a sea of limestone that is one of the richest deposits of top-quality limestone found anywhere on earth. New York City’s Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center as well as the Pentagon, the U.S. Treasury, a dozen other government buildings in Washington D.C. as well as 14 state capitols around the nation are built from this sturdy, beautiful Indiana limestone. Learn more about limestone.
Many Mennonite and Amish live on the farmland of Northeastern Indiana. One of the United States largest Mennonite congregations is in Bern. According to Amish Ordnung (rules), they are forbidden to drive cars, use electricity, or go to public places of entertainment.
Indianapolis grocer Gilbert Van Camp discovered his customers enjoyed an old family recipe for pork and beans in tomato sauce. He opened up a canning company and Van Camp’s Pork and Beans became an American staple.
The farming community of Fountain City in Wayne County was known as the “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.” In the years before the civil war, Levi and Katie Coffin were famous agents on the Underground Railroad. They estimated that they provided overnight lodging for more than 2,000 runaway slaves who were making their way north to Canada and freedom.
The Poet Laureate of Indiana, James Whitcomb Riley was born in a two-room log cabin in Greenfield. He glorified his rural Indiana childhood in such poems as “The Old Swimmin’ Hole” “Little Orphant Annie”, and ” When the frost is on the Pumpkin”.
Albert Beveridge won the Pulitzer Prize in biography in 1920, for The Life of John Marshall. In 1934 Harold Urey won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of deuterium. Ernie Pyle won the Pulitzer Prize in foreign Correspondence in 1944. Paul Samuelson won the Nobel Prize in economics, 1970.
The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne on May 4, 1871.
Though it is seldom mentioned in the comic strip or cartoon series, “Garfield” takes place in Muncie.
The first gasoline pump was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Sept. 5, 1885.
On March 31, 1880, Wabash became the first city to be illuminated by electric light.
Arts, Crafts, and Cooking
Learn the history of Hoosier Sugar Cream pie and then bake one together!
Enjoy some pork and beans in honor of Gilbert Van Camp.
Make a paper Freedom Quilt.
There have been five men from Indiana who have been elected vice president: Schuyler Colfax, Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles W. Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle. They have earned Indiana the nickname “Mother of Vice Presidents.” Soon, number six, Vice-President- elect Mike Pence, will be sworn in. Learn about them and add these free notebooking pages for Vice-Presidents to your notebook.
Learn about Indiana in this short YouTube video.
Discover the differences between Indycar and NASCAR racing.
Join the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kids Club for $25 and receive all kinds of fun goodies.
Go to a baseball game!
Indiana Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
H is for Hoosier: An Indiana Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
Floating House by Scott Russell Sanders
If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle
When the Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley
Baseball: Then to Wow! from Sports Illustrated
Book Basket (NonFiction)
Indiana Facts and Symbols by Bill McAuliffe (out of print by may be available at your library)
The First Peoples of Ohio and Indiana: Native American History Resource Book by Jessica Diemer-Eaton
Indiana Native Americans by Carole Marsh
Corn by Gail Gibbons
In Limestone Country by Scott Russell Sanders
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
The Last Safe House: A Story of the Underground Railroad by Barbara Greenwood
George Rogers Clark: Boy of the Northwest Frontier by Katharine E. Wilkie
Racing to Win: An Adventure in Indiana by Vanessa Small
The Wisdom of Solomon: An Amish Storybook by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Little Orphan Annie and Other Poems by James Whitcomb Riley
Who Were the Wright Brothers? by James Buckley, Jr.
Did you see something important I missed? Share in the comments and I may add it!