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 ben&meUSA for a 25% discount.
Maine Unit Study
Before becoming the 23rd state to join the union on March 15, 1820, Maine was a district in the state of Massachusetts. Maine is one of the New England states and is found in the northeastern corner of the United States. It is believed that Leif Erikson may have traveled into Maine on his voyage to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
Maine is known for it’s rocky eastern coast that lies on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s northern border is Canada and New Hampshire borders Maine on the south and the west. It is the 39th largest state in the United States covering 35,387 square miles.
Maine’s climate is varied across the state based on its geography. There are three climate regions in Maine. The Coastal region extends the length of the coast and approximately 20 miles inward. The Atlantic Ocean is the reason that the Coastal region sees cooler summers and warmer winters than the rest of the state. The Southern Interior region crosses the southern part of the state and covers approximately 30% of Maine. The Northern Interior region covers more than 50% of the state and typically has a continental climate. The diverse climate in Maine is beneficial to the state’s growing tourism industry adding snow in the mountains for skiing and ideal weather on the coast for boating and swimming.
Population: 1,328,400 million (ranks 42nd in the U.S.)
Nickname: The Pine Tree State
Maine’s nickname comes from the significant amount of pine forests that cover the state. The state’s flag, seal, and quarter feature the White Pine, Maine’s official state tree.
Motto: “Dirigo” (Latin for “I Direct” or “I Lead)
The state motto was adopted in the first session of the Legislature of the State of Maine in May of 1820. The Latin translation of the motto is part of the state coat of arms, the state seal, and the state flag.
Agriculture: Eggs, milk, cattle, calves, hogs, sheep, turkeys, potatoes, corn, apples, wild blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries
Fishing Industry: lobster, soft-shell clams, mussels, crabs, and sea urchins.
Industry: paper products (cardboard boxes, paper bags, pulp, and paper), computer and electronic equipment (personal computer microchips, communications equipment), and transportation equipment (ship building, repair, some aerospace equipment)
Mining: Sand, gravel, limestone, clays, garnet, gemstones (amethyst, topaz, tourmaline), granite and peat.
Have your students color and label an outline map of Maine. Include the state capital of Augusta. Also include the largest city of Portland. Be sure to include Acadia National Park and Carrabassett Valley, home to Sugarloaf Mountain – the largest ski resort east of the rockies. For a fun activity, visit Maine’s Lighthouse Directory and have your student plot out Maine’s 65 historic lighthouses.
The state flag of Maine is a field of blue with the coat-of-arms in the center. The coat-of-arms features a farmer, symbolizing the agriculture of the state, and a sailor, symbolizing Maine’s connection to the sea. A pine tree, a moose, the sea, and the sky are in the center of the coat-of-arms. Below the scene is a banner that simply reads “Maine” and above is the North star and the Latin form of the state motto, “Dirigo.”
Maine adopted their official state seal in 1820. The state seal, like the flag, features the state coat-of-arms. The image is on a white circular field with a yellow border.
Maine State Bird: Black-capped Chickadee
A member of the titmouse family, the black-capped chickadee became Maine’s official state bird in 1927. Residents of Maine enjoy the call of the black-capped chickadee year round as the tiny bird does not migrate. An interesting fact about the chickadee is that the female is known for building her nest in deserted woodpecker cavities. The black-capped chickadees, once paired, remain together for life.
Maine State Floral Emblem: White Pine Cone and Tassel
Maine is the only state that does not have a flower, instead they have a state “floral emblem.” The White Pine Cone and Tassel was adopted officially in 1895. The pine cone and tassel are part of the White Pine tree, Maine’s official state tree.
Maine State Tree: White Pine
The White Pine became the official state tree of Maine in 1945.
State of Maine Song was written by Roger Vinton Snow. It was adopted as Maine’s official state song in 1937.
Learn about Maine’s state government here: Government
Flora and Fauna
Trees commonly found in Maine include: Alternate-leaf Dogwood, American Beech, Balsam Fir, Bigtooth Aspen, Black Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, Hawthorn, Mountain Maple, Northern Red Oak, Paper Birch, Red Pine, Speckled Alder, and the Tamarack.
Birds commonly found in Maine include: Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Green-winged Teal, Canada goose, Bald Eagle, Common Tern, American Crow, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Prior to Leif Ericson exploring the coast of Maine, the land was inhabited by two Indian tribes. The Micmac, considered more warlike, and the Abenaki, also known as Wabanakis, were peaceful farmers and fishermen. It was not until 1607 that attempts were made by the English to establish a permanent colony in Popham. The severity of the winter months caused the demise of the settlement attempt. If it had survived, the colony in Popham would have been considered America’s first permanent settlement.
In the 1620’s several settlements were built in Maine’s coastal region. Along with the severe climate, attacks from Indians and lack of food caused several of them to fail. In the 18th century, Massachusetts purchased most of the land that was at that time considered Maine. The land remained a part of Massachusetts until 1820 when Maine became a separate state.
Before Maine became a state, both the English and French wanted to lay claim to the land. The English settlements were raided by Indians in an effort to drive the English out, however, the Treaty of Paris ended French claims to Maine. A short time later, the Revolutionary War broke out because of the heavy taxes the British Parliament were placing in the American colonies. Hundreds of men from Maine joined in America’s fight for independence. The first naval battle of Revolutionary War was in June 1775 in Maine when the “Margaretta’, a British cutter was captured at Machias. Not long after that, the most devastating naval battle of the war also took place in Maine. The number of soldiers from Maine totaled approximately 1,000 men. Their sea trade was destroyed.
After the American Revolution, the settlers in Maine were divided on whether or not being a part of Massachusetts was a good or not. When the War of 1812 broke out and Massachusetts did not provide protection, the people of Maine unified and moved ahead seeking statehood.
Maine’s statehood was part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The Compromise served to maintain a balance of free and slave states in the Union. Maine entered as a free state and Missouri entered as a slave state.
Maine’s constitution was written to give the state political independence, freedom of religion, and government control by popular vote.
Maine’s economy began to grow with the growth if manufacturing and mining. Textile and paper mills were major sources of income for the state during this time, along with the commercial fishing industry. The Civil War and Industrial Revolution both had an effect of the economy of Maine, however, the state remained mostly prosperous.
Maine’s stance against slavery was well known. Just prior to the beginning of the Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in Brunswick, Maine. The book fueled the anti-slavery sentiment across the northern states. Because of this, Maine did not hesitate to join the cause of the Union sending approximately 73,000 men to fight in the Civil War.
After the War, farming across the state decreased while the textile industry grew. The many rivers in Maine allowed for hydroelectric power for the manufacturing facilities located along the major rivers in Maine. As the 20th century began, textile manufacturing moved south. To offset this loss of revenue, Maine increased their paper and pulp manufacturing. Farming of potatoes, along with dairy and poultry farming added to the economy of Maine during this time.
When the Great Depression hit in the 1030’s, Maine and Theresa of the United States suffered greatly. Maine’s large manufacturing efforts never recovered. Today, tourism and small manufacturing are the basis for Maine’s successful economy.
Other Uses for Notebooking Pages
dictation and copywork
draw and write
vocabulary and spelling words
recording reading lists
plant and animal classification
Road Trip Maine
If you have a chance to visit the state of Maine, 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.
Venture to the rugged coast of Maine—replete with volcanic rocks and crashing waves, creating the impression of stepping back in time to the creation of Earth.
Founded in 1962, Maine Maritime Museum is located on a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River in “The City of Ships,” Bath, Maine, and provides a unique experience to tens of thousands of visitors from around the world each year.
Maine Maritime Museum is home to the Percy & Small Shipyard, the only surviving shipyard in the country that built large wooden sailing vessels, including the largest of them all: the six-master Wyoming. The museum is dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of Maine’s maritime heritage and culture through gallery exhibits, the historic Percy & Small Shipyard, educational programs, a research library, and narrated excursions along area waterways. Take a virtual tour here.
DEW Haven is a non-profit home for domestic, exotic, and wild animals in Mount Vernon, Maine. Come visit our rustic, working farm where you will meet animals from all over the world. With the most exotic cats in New England and fun educational tours, DEW is Maine’s best kept secret.
Visitors find it difficult to imagine among the rolling hills and rambling brooks at the end of Desert Rd. there is a Desert. Once you take your first step through the gift shop’s front door, however, your doubts will vanish as you enter the vast and sandy DESERT of MAINE. Learn how this glacier desert was formed.
The history and cultures of Maine’s Native people, the Wabanaki, are showcased through changing exhibitions, special events, teacher workshops, archaeology field schools and craft workshops for children and adults.
From spring through fall, the Abbe’s historic trailside museum at Sieur de Monts Spring continues to offer visitors a step back in time to early 20th century presentations of Native American archaeology in Maine.
Our purpose at the Cole Land Transportation Museum is to collect, preserve, and display (before they disappear forever) a cross section of Maine’s land transportation equipment from which this and future generations will gain knowledge of the past.
We also wish to remember, record and display U.S. military memorabilia to forever remind this and future generations of the high price our comrades have paid to protect our freedom. In doing so, we hope to inspire and challenge the young people of today to continue on in the footsteps of pioneers who have built our state and country.
For over 50 years, this Potter Street building was home to Joshua L. Chamberlain. Just like the man himself, this house went through incredible transformations during its life, gaining fame and witnessing major historic events.
Today, the house is operated as a museum of the Pejepscot Historical Society.
Within its walls lived three generations of one remarkable family that made significant contributions to the political, literary, and cultural life of New England and the United States. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), grew up in the house and went on to become one of the most famous men of his time.
Maine’s Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington (WW&F) Railway was a two-foot “narrow” gauge common carrier railroad that operated from 1894 until 1933. The line ran from Wiscasset in the south to Albion and Winslow in the north, never making it to either Waterville or Farmington. The Great Depression brought about the railroad’s scrapping in 1937. The WW&F Railway Museum was founded in 1989 to restore and rebuild the original railroad.
Today you can climb aboard our train for a ride back in time. Explore our facilities and shops to experience first hand the nearly-lost art of running and maintaining a steam powered narrow gauge railroad. Visit us to return to a simpler life from a century ago.
Located on the west bank of the Penobscot River in Prospect, Maine, in an area known as the Penobscot Narrows, Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved fortifications on the New England seacoast. The Fort has many architectural features present only to itself, as well as a rich history behind its cannon batteries.
Famous People from Maine
E. B. White (author)
Milton Bradley (board game pioneer)
Joshua L. Chamberlain (civil war hero)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet)
Robert McCloskey (children’s author)
Arts, Crafts, and Cooking
Learn How to Draw a Moose!
Memorize a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Use one of these poetry writing prompts to write your own poem!
Create pine tree art.
Interesting Facts about Maine
Maine is the largest producer of wild blueberries in the world. Maine produces 10 percent of all blueberries in North America, including wild and cultivated production. The town of Cherryfield is known for being the blueberry capital of the world.
Maine is the only state that borders just one other U.S. state. Can you name that state?
Maine is the biggest harvester of lobsters in the United States and accounts for about 50 percent of the USA’s lobster supply. Here are 100 lobster facts.
At 6-feet-tall, Pocahontas (Echo Point) Light, on the edge of Great Diamond Island, is the smallest lighthouse registered by the United States Coast Guard.
Acadia National Park is the only national park in New England. It is the second most visited national park in the United States.
In 1641, York, Maine became America’s first chartered city.
Eastport is the most eastern city in the United States. The city is considered the first place in the United States to receive the rays of the morning sun.
Joshua L. Chamberlain born in Brewer received the only battlefield promotion to General during the Civil War. He was also the last Civil War soldier to die of wounds incurred in the War.
The White Mountain National Forest covers nearly 800,000 acres, the forest covers a landscape ranging from hardwood forests to the largest alpine area east of the Rocky Mountains.
The nation’s first sawmill was established near York in 1623.
Watch this 2-minute video tour of Maine:
Discover how lobster traps work.
Play the Game of Life!
The Randolph Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children”, beginning with 1937 publications. It is awarded to the illustrator by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Author/illustrator Robert McCloskey was the recipient of 2 Caldecott Medals and one Caldecott Honor Award. Learn more about this prestigious award, and find more books to read from its list of winners.
Maine Resource List
Book Basket (Picture Books)
L is for Lobster: A Maine Alphabet by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
Fishing for Numbers: A Maine Number Book by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
Journey Around Maine from A to Z by Martha Zschock
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
Lobsterman by Dahlov Ipcar
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Cocoa Ice by Diana Appelbaum
Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee deCora Francis
Keep the Lights Burning Abbie by Peter Roop
Book Basket (NonFiction)
Acadia National Park by Wende Fazio
Maine Facts and Symbols by Emily McAuliffe (out of print but may be available at your library)
Going Lobstering by Jerry Pallotta
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – A Short Biography for Kids by Thomas Davidson
The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by Janis Herbert
Maine Lighthouses Coloring Book by Carole Marsh
Book Basket (Chapter Books)
Leif the Lucky by Edgar and Ingri d’Aulaire
Calico Bush by Rachel Field
Kid Island by William Graham
Wintering Well by Lea Wait
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Who Was Milton Bradley? by Kirsten Anderson
Did you see something important I missed? Share in the comments and I may add it!