Valley & Ridge

Updated 6/12/11

In Podcast #43 the Trekkers take you to the Maple Festival in Highland County in the Valley and Ridge region of western Virginia.  Explore one of the least populated counties in Virginia, find out why it's called "Virginia's Little Switzerland," visit the Maple Museum and learn about the history of maple sugaring, tour a real sugar maple farm and see how maple syrup is made, finally, find out which Trekkers got car sick on the mountainous roads of Highland County!  Come on, let's go trekkin'!

Did you know?  Maple trees have many more uses than just making maple syrup. Maple wood is used to make the floors of bowling alleys, gymnasiums, and NBA basketball courts.  It is also used to make baseball bats and musical instruments.   The wood often has beautiful designs in it like wavy, curly, quilted, and birdseye patterns so it is highly prized in furniture and cabinet making. Maple trees attract thousands of tourists in the fall because of the beautiful colors of their leaves.  They can turn red, orange, and yellow... sometimes all on the same tree!  A maple leaf is featured on Canada's flag and the maple tree is on the Vermont quarter.  Maple trees even give you something to play with... their fruit is the twirling helicopters you like to throw into the air!  

SOL Correlation:

K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.


K.7 The student will b) recognize that people use money to purchase goods.


K.5 The student will investigate and understand that water flows and has properties that can be observed and tested.  Key concepts include b) the natural flow of water is downhill;


K.8 The student will investigate and understand simple patterns in his/her daily life.  Key concepts include b) the shapes and forms of many common natural objects including seeds, cones, and leaves;


1.12 The student will recognize that communities in Virginia include people who have diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who make contributions to their communities, and who are united as Americans by common principles.


1.6 The student will describe how location, climate, and physical surroundings affect the way people live, including their food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and recreation.


1.7 The student will explain the difference between goods and services and will describe how people are both buyers and sellers of goods and services.


1.4 The student will investigate and understand that plants have life needs and functional parts and can be classified according to certain characteristics.  Key concepts include

a) needs (food, air, water, light, and a place to grow);

b) parts (seeds, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, fruits); and

  1. c)characteristics (edible/nonedible, flowering/nonflowering, evergreen/ deciduous).


1.7 The student will investigate and understand the relationship of seasonal change and weather to the activities and life processes of plants and animals.  Key concepts include how temperature, light, and precipitation bring about changes in

a) plants (growth, budding, falling leaves, and wilting);

  1. c)people (dress, recreation, and work).


1.8 The student will investigate and understand that natural resources are limited.  Key concepts include a) identification of natural resources (plants and animals, water, air, land, minerals, forests, and soil);


2.12 The student will understand that the United States is a land of people who have diverse origins, customs, and traditions, who make contributions to their communities, and who are united as Americans by common principles.


2.7 The student will describe the differences between natural resources (water, soil, wood, and coal), human resources (people at work), and capital resources (machines, tools, and buildings).


2.1e The student will conduct investigations in which e) length, volume, mass, and temperature measurements are made in metric units (centimeters, meters, liters, degrees Celsius, grams, kilograms) and standard English units (inches, feet, yards, cups, pints, quarts, gallons, degrees Fahrenheit, ounces, pounds);


2.3 The student will investigate and understand basic properties of solids, liquids, and gases.  Key concepts include b) processes involved with changes in matter from one state to another (condensation, evaporation, melting, and freezing).


2.8 The student will investigate and understand that plants produce oxygen and food, are a source of useful products, and provide benefits in nature.  Key concepts include

a) important plant products (fiber, cotton, oil, spices, lumber, rubber, medicines, and paper);

b) the availability of plant products affects the development of a geographic area; and


3.8 The student will recognize that because people and regions cannot produce everything they want, they specialize in what they do best and trade for the rest.


3.1k The student will plan and conduct investigations in which k) natural events are sequenced chronologically.


3.8b The student will investigate and understand basic patterns and cycles occurring in nature.  Key concepts include b) animal and plant life cycles.


VS.10b The student will demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics by b) describing the major products and industries of Virginia’s five geographic regions;


VS.2b The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by b) locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau;


VS.2e The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by e) describing how American Indians related to the climate and their environment to secure food, clothing, and shelter.


4.4c The student will investigate and understand basic plant anatomy and life processes.  Key concepts include c) photosynthesis (sunlight, chlorophyll, water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and sugar); and


4.8b The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources.  Key concepts include b) animals and plants;


5.4c The student will investigate and understand that matter is anything that has mass, takes up space, and occurs as a solid, liquid, or gas. Key concepts include c) the effect of heat on the states of matter.


5.5c The student will investigate and understand that organisms are made of cells and have distinguishing characteristics. Key concepts include c) vascular and nonvascular plants; and

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