Georgia-Post-Card-990.jpg

Atlanta postcard from 1950

Postcard courtesy Amy Bucci

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A quick survey of the postcard rack at the local drug store, airport, or train station is likely to yield at least one postcard with a state map decorated with icons that tell a story about your state. Examples can also be found online using a search engine and the search words “state map postcard.” The map icons generally reflect both physical and human characteristics of the state that represent the fundamental geographic theme of “Place.”

Getting Started

a) Review with students the theme of “place.” Help students develop clear definitions and local examples of physical and human characteristics of place. Share with the class one or more state map postcards from your state and encourage students to separate the icons used on the card into physical and human characteristics.

b) Assign each student one U.S. state and explain that their task is to create a state postcard that includes a map of the state and at least: 3 distinctive physical characteristics; 3 distinctive human characteristics; the state name and capital; the state motto or slogan; the state bird and flower; and any other unique characteristics of the state. To achieve a standard appearance, have all students use a single 8.5”x11” sheet of white paper and colored pencils or markers.

c) When the project is complete, display the student postcards on the bulletin board in correct relative location.

Thinking Critically

a) As a class, discuss the ways in which the states represented are alike and the ways in which they are different. How can students explain these similarities and differences?

b) Introduce the word “perception.” Lead the class in a discussion of how state map postcards reflect or influence people’s perception of a given state. Does the absence of negative icons affect people’s perceptions? Have the class evaluate the student postcards in terms of their understanding of the word “perception.”

Watch the 2016 National Geographic Bee Finals

National Geographic Channel will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27. It will also air on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.


School Registration

Join 11,000 schools and participate in this year’s National Geographic Bee. Get a notification to alert you when registration opens in August.



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About the National Geographic Bee

Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to inspire students to be curious about the world. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging competition.


The national championship preliminary rounds will take place on Monday, May 23, in Washington, D.C. The national championship final rounds featuring the top 10 finalists and moderated by humorist, journalist, and actor Mo Rocca will be held on Wednesday, May 25, at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.


The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a Lindblad expedition to Southeast Alaska provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.







Meet the 2016 Champions

National Geographic Bee contestants aren't just geography geniuses. They're also savvy park planners! See where they would create a National Park in their own state.

How to Help

  • Photo: Geo Bee Winners

    Fund a School

    Donations help fund schools to participate in the National Geographic Bee.

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