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.
Ohio Unit Study
Originally a part of the Northwest Territory, and a station set up by the French fur trade, Ohio was the 17th state to join the Union on March 1, 1803. This date was set retroactively in 1953 when it was discovered that Ohio had never officially been admitted to the union by Congressional resolution as was the practice with the states.
Now a part of the Great Lakes Region, Ohio is the 34th largest state in America, covering 44,828 square miles. It is interesting that from the farthest points in the state, Ohio is 220 miles long and 220 miles wide. Michigan and Lake Erie border Ohio to the north, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are on its eastern borders, Kentucky and West Virginia are to the south, and Ohio’s western border is shared with Indiana.
The climate of Ohio is considered to be mild and pleasant. The state is mostly located in a humid continental zone, however, the southern most counties do have more of a humid subtropical climate. Winters in Ohio are typical cold with snowfall as a common occurrence and the summers are generally hot and humid.
Population: 11,629,848 million – ranked 7th in the nation
Nickname: The Buckeye State
Ohio’s nickname has a twofold history. It is partially recognized as “The Buckeye State” because of the generous population of buckeye trees that once covered the state. The rest of the story comes from the presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison in 1840. Harrison was known as “the log cabin candidate”. The emblem used during the campaign was a log cabin made of buckeye tree timbers and strings of buckeyes decorating the cabin walls.
Motto: With God All Things Are Possible
The motto was selected through a contest held by the Ohio legislature on October 1, 1959. The winning motto, one of only five in the nation, that contains the word “God.” James Mastronardo, a 12 year old boy, recommended the quote from Matthew 19:16. There was opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, in the form of a lawsuit, saying that using a quote from the Bible violated the first amendment right of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The Federal Court allowed the motto to remain stating that it does not name a specific God.
Agriculture: poultry, soybeans, corn, pork, dairy and sheep, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, potatoes, and tomatoes
Fishing Industry: yellow perch, bluegills, and the occasional walleye
Industry: automobile and truck assembly, parts for motor vehicles and aircraft, fabricated metals, soap, industrial chemicals, and paint
Mining: coal, natural gas, clay, salt, and gypsum
Have your students color and label an outline map of Ohio. Include the state capital of Columbus. Also include Cleveland, the world’s first city to have electric street lights. Be sure to include the Ohio River; Dayton – known as the birthplace of aviation; and Cincinnati – home to baseball’s first fully professional team.
Ohio is the only state with the unique swallowtail pennant design. The flag, designed by John Eisemann, was officially adopted in 1902. The colors, stripes, and symbols were used by Mr. Eisemann to represent the state’s geography and history. The hills and valleys of Ohio are represented by the blue triangular field on the flag. In the center of the blue field is a white circle with a red center which forms an “O” for Ohio. Around the circle are 17 white stars signifying Ohio being the 17th state to join the union. The waterways and roads of the state are symbolized by red and white stripes on the flag.
The state seal of Ohio has been around for more than 200 years and has seen many revisions. The last revision was in 1996 and it remains today as the seal that is commonly used. The seal is circular in shape. Pictured on the seal is the Scioto River flowing to the left of Ohio farmland towards Mount Logan. In the field is a sheaf of wheat representing agriculture and the bountiful harvest. Beside the wheat are arrows bound together that symbolize the Native American’s that are a part of Ohio’s history. There are 17 arrows in the bundle representing Ohio as the 17th state to join the union. Behind Mount Logan, the sun is rising. It has 13 rays that represent the 13 original colonies. Around the scene is a circle that says, “The Great Seal of the State of Ohio.”
Ohio State Bird: Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal was adopted as the official state bird in 1933
Ohio State Flower: Red Carnation
President William McKinley, a native Ohioan, often wore a red carnation on the lapel of his jacket. He was assassinated in 1901 and in 1904, the red carnation became the official state flower in his honor.
Ohio State Tree: Ohio Buckeye
The Ohio buckeye tree has been the official state tree since 1953. The tree grows commonly grows along rivers, streams, and in floodplain areas.
The state song was adopted in 1969. The music was composed by Mary Earl in 1918 and the original lyrics were written by Ballard MacDonald. In 1989, permission was given by the State Legislature to Wilbert B. McBride to revise the lyrics.
Learn about Ohio’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
Trees commonly found in Ohio are Silver Maple, River Birch, Eastern Redbud, Green Ash, American Holly, American Sweetgum, Sourwood, Eastern Whitepine, Pin Oak, White Spruce, Black Cherry, Kentucky Coffeetree, and Boxelder
Common birds to Ohio are: Ruffed Grouse, Mute Swan, Snow Goose, Gadwal, Northern Shoveler, Downy Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Whip-poor-will, Upland Sandpiper, Prairie Falcon, and the Wood Stork
Prior to the late 1600’s, Native Americans lived in what is now known as Ohio. It is believed that this group of people, whose name is not known, were hunters and gatherers. Artifacts have been found that give us some clues into their traditions for living and for burial. In 1670, the Ohio River was discovered by Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle, a French explorer who was looking for a route to China. In 1748, the Ohio Company was formed by a group from Virginia. They purchased approximately 200,000 acres from the British and in turn planned to sell the land to settlers moving west into the area. A group of Frenchmen had plans to claim the land for themselves. The land dispute became what is known as the French and Indian War. This lasted from 1754 until 1763 when the French gave up their rights to land in America. Others treaties and wars had an effect on the land that is now Ohio. Iroquois Indians had claims on parcels of land that were eventually ceded to the British. Taxation on the colonists by the British and the British refusal for the colonists to expand into territory including Ohio sparked the American Revolution. The Revolution ended in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. This gave America their independence and the land in the Ohio territory was relinquished to the American colonies.
Following the Revolution and the draft of the United States Constitution, the Northwest Territory was established. This area included the land that is Ohio as we know it. In 1788, the first permanent settlement was founded. That settlement was called Marietta. The Indians were not ready to relinquish their right to the Ohio territory and a four year war was fought between the settlers and the American Indians that had lived on the land for many years. A treaty was signed in 1795, however, many of the Native Americans did not agree with the terms and struggles continued between the Indians and the settlers for many years.
In April of 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed the Enabling Act which called for Ohio’s admission to the union. Almost a year later, on February 19, 1803, Ohio became our 17th state. Ohio University, one of the first institutions of higher education to receive support through taxation, opened in 1804. In 1812 the city of Columbus was founded as Ohio’s state capitol.
During the mid to late 1800’s, Ohio had part in battles related to the War of 1812, saw the National Road enter Ohio, and witnessed the completion of the Erie Canal. The first co-ed college in the United States was founded in Oberlin, Ohio. The Toledo War was fought because of a dispute over the boundary of Michigan and Ohio and in 1842, the last tribe of Native Americans gave over their rights to land in Ohio. Ohioan natives Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman both played an important part in the American Civil War. In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant was elected as 18th President of the United States. America’s 19th President, Rutherford B. Hayes; 20th President, James A. Garfield; 23rd President, Benjamin Harrison; 25th President, William McKinley; 27th President, William H. Taft; and 29th President, Warren G. Harding were also Ohio natives.
The political realm is not the only place that Ohio has made it’s mark. Industry, space exploration and sports had important beginnings in Ohio. In 1869 The first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was founded. In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb. In 1894, Ohioan Charles F. Kettering revolutionized the beginnings of the automotive industry with the invention of the electric starter. 1903 was the year that Orville and Wilbur Wright completed the first successful, powered, airplane flight. That first flight did not take place in Ohio, however, the Wright brothers had grown up in Ohio and their dreams and designs for airplanes were born in Ohio. The first United States citizen to orbit the earth was Ohioan John Glenn. In 1969, Neil Armstrong from Wapakoneta, Ohio, became the first person to walk on the moon. In the 21st century, Ohio has been recognized as one of the top ten in the United States in agriculture. The state continues to make strides in political and technological arenas. Remembering the vibrant history of Ohio is playing a key part to ushering Ohio into the future.
Famous People from Ohio
Tecumseh (Shawnee leader)
Neil Armstrong (astronaut)
George Custer (army officer)
Thomas Edison (inventor)
John Glenn (astronaut)
Annie Oakley (markswoman)
Orville and Wilbur Wright (inventor)
Cy Young (baseball player)
Jesse Owens (Olympic athlete)
Ohio has been home to more U.S. Presidents than any other state. This would be a great time to download the U.S. Presidents pack and do a mini-study on these Presidents. Here’s a list of the 7 U.S. Presidents from Ohio:
Rutherford B. Hayes (19th)
James A. Garfield (20th)
Benjamin Harrison (23rd)
William McKinley (25th)
William Howard Taft (27th)
Warren G. Harding (29th)
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip Ohio
If you have a chance to visit the state of Ohio, 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 official museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, the National Museum of the U. S. A. F. collection contains many rare aircraft of historical or technological importance and various memorabilia and artifacts from the history and development of aviation. Among them is one of four surviving Convair B-36 Peacemakers, the only surviving North American XB-70 Valkyrie and Bockscar—the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki during the last days of World War II.
Check out its 360-degree Virtual Tour, where you can view most aircraft and exhibits to be online.
Dan Brown owns the world’s largest private collection of LEGO, and opened The Toy and Plastic Brick Museum in 2007. Disagreements with the corporation led to Dan dropping the LEGO name from the attraction, but LEGO is what it’s all about. The museum occupies all three floors of the former Gravel Hill Middle School: 36,000 square feet of LEGO artwork, architecture, theme rooms, and animatronic displays.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional American football with a Mission to “Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures, who have each had some major influence on the development of rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum produces numerous public programs, including concerts, interviews, lectures, film screenings, and other events that help tell the story of rock and roll.
Ohio Caverns is one of Ohio’s most popular tourist attractions. The caverns remain a steady 54 degrees year round featuring some of the most unique formations in America. Guests from around the world come to experience the 35 acre park for an all-day family fun adventure.
Cedar Point is known for a couple of things. It’s known as the roller coaster capital of the world. But some just refer to Cedar Point as the world’s best amusement park. Cedar Point is an amusement park that brings people together through thrills. With 120-mph roller coasters that have 80-degree drops. An amusement park that, on top of roller coasters, has exhilarating thrill rides. An amusement park that has rides for the entire family and gives you water rides that make you wonder why it’s simply only the roller coaster capital of the world.
The Columbus Zoo is home to more than 7,000 animals, representing over 800 species and sees over 2.3 million visitors annually. The animal exhibits are divided into regions of the world, with the zoo currently operating eight such regions.
At Holden, cultivated gardens come alive with color in the spring; cool forest trails offer a respite from the summer heat; woodlands are set ablaze with rich hues of fall; and paths lead you deep into the beauty of the winter woods.
Named as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society, with more than 20 miles of hiking trails, Holden is a haven for bird watchers as well hikers, gardeners and nature enthusiasts.
Opened on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati in 2004, the mission of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is to reveal stories of freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today. A history museum with more than 100,000 visitors annually, it serves to inspire modern abolition through connecting the lessons of the Underground Railroad with today’s freedom fighters. The center is also a convener of dialogue on freedom and human rights.
If you feel the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or you want to enjoy rolling hills and well cared for farmsteads, head to Ohio Amish Country, home of the largest Amish settlement in the world. Ohio Amish Country is a 3-5 county area of Ohio where approximately 40,000 Amish people live and work.
Hocking Hills State Park is a non-contiguous state park in the Hocking Hills region of Hocking County, Ohio, United States; it is contiguous with the Hocking State Forest. Within the park are several spectacular rock formations, including Old Man’s Cave, a narrow, deep gorge featuring waterfalls; Rock House, a cliffed area with a rock shelter; Cantwell Cliffs, a broad gorge at the head of a hollow with a unique stone stairway; and Ash Cave, a large rock shelter with a small waterfall, and Cedar Falls, a larger waterfall south of Old Man’s Cave.
Interesting Facts about Ohio
Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team.
Ohio senator John Glenn became the oldest man to venture into outer space.On February 20, 1962 he was the first American to orbit the earth. In October of 1998 at age 77 he returned to the space program and traveled back into space.
Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
The Wright Brothers are acknowledged as inventors of the first airplane.
Ohio gave America its first hot dog in 1900.
Dresden is the home of the world’s largest basket. It is located at Basket Village USA.
Cleveland became the world’s first city to be lighted electrically in 1879.
Jesse Owens grew up in Cleveland. He won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
Akron is the rubber capital of the world.
Arts, Crafts, and Cooking
Download these free printable coloring pages for the 8 U.S. Presidents from Ohio. Have your students add them to their notebooks!
Make a cave out of a large cardboard box.
If you haven’t already, introduce your kids to your favorite rock and roll music. Personally, I’d choose Elvis.
Buckeyes are a yummy treat! Get in the kitchen with the kids and make some!
Learn about the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway
Read about the history of Cincinnati chili and the make some for dinner.
Take a virtual tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ride some roller coasters at Cedar Point, virtually.
Study the phases of the moon using Oreos.
Watch the first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Ohio Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
B is for Buckeye: An Ohio Alphabet by Marcia Schonberg
Cardinal Numbers: An Ohio Counting Book by Marcia Schonberg
If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
Packard Takes Flight: A Birdseye View of Colombus, OH by Susan Levine
Lentil by Robert McCloskey
One Small Leap by Robert Burleigh
Nothing Here But Trees by Jean Van Leeuwen (out of print but may be available at your library)
Aurora Means Dawn by Scott Russell Sanders
Freedom River by Doreen Rappaport
Book Basket (NonFiction)
Ohio: What’s So Great About This State by Kate Boehm Jerome
State Shapes: Ohio by Erin McHugh
Ohio History by Marcia Schonberg (out of print but may be available at your library)
The Underground Railroad for Kids by Mary Kay Carson
Pioneer Children of Appalachia by Joan Anderson
The Ojibwa: People of the Great Lakes by Anne M. Todd (out of print but may be available at your library)
Thomas Edison for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities by Laurie Carlson
The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman
Caves and Caverns by Gail Gibbons
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
John Glenn: Young Astronaut by Michael Burgan
Who Was Neil Armstrong by Roberta Edwards
Tecumseh by James Laxer
Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling
The Boy Who Save Cleveland by James Cross Giblin
Who Were the Wright Brothers by James Buckley
Who Was Thomas Alva Edison by Margaret Frith
What Was the Underground Railroad by Yona Zeldis McDonough
Custer’s Last Stand by Quentin Reynolds (out of print but may be available at your library)
Annie Oakley: Young Markswoman by Ellen Wilson
Paddle to the Sea movie
Did you see something important I missed? Share in the comments and I may add it!