Kansas: State Unit Study

Out of all the places we have lived Kansas is the place I miss the most. We lived on Fort Riley and I will never forget how wonderful the community, land, activities for the kids and life in general were. We almost bought a homestead in a tiny town after our time in the army before choosing to move home.

Kansas is located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by Nebraska to the north, Missouri to the east, Oklahoma to the south, and Colorado to the west. The state capital is Topeka, and the largest city is Wichita.

Basic Facts About Kansas

:: Kansas is a state located in the Midwestern United States

:: Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita

:: It is named after the Kansas River, which was named after the Kansa Native American tribe

:: Known for its prairies, Great Plains, and wheat fields

:: The economy is based on agriculture and manufacturing

:: Home to several universities and colleges, including the University of Kansas and Kansas State University

:: The population is approximately 3 million people

:: Kansas is known as the “Sunflower State”

:: The state flower is the sunflower

:: The state bird is the Western meadowlark

:: The official state mammal is the American bison

:: Kansas is bordered by Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, and it shares a small part of the border with Texas.

Fun Facts about Kansas

:: Kansas is home to the world’s largest ball of twine, located in Cawker City.

:: The first Pizza Hut restaurant opened in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas.

:: The first helium-filled airship was launched in 1923 in Bartlesville, Kansas.

:: The first airplane flight west of the Mississippi River took place in 1911 in Kansas.

:: The first city in the world to install electric streetlights was Thomas Edison’s experimental city of Independence, Kansas in 1878.

:: The first round barn was built in 1884 in Kansas.

:: The first African American astronaut, Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., was from Kansas City, Kansas.

:: The first women’s Olympic marathon was held in 1984 in Los Angeles, California and the first US woman to win the marathon was from Kansas City, Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Videos for your Kansas Unit Study

Geography and Climate

Location and boundaries

Kansas is located in the Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by Nebraska to the north, Missouri to the east, Oklahoma to the south, and Colorado to the west.

Physical features

The state is known for its rolling prairies, tallgrass prairies, and Great Plains. The state is home to the Flint Hills, which contain one of the last remaining tallgrass prairies in North America.

Climate and weather patterns

Kansas has a moderate climate with four distinct seasons. Winters are generally cold and dry, while summers are hot and humid. The state is also prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Honestly, I remember the winters could leave us with a few massive storms but by Easter, we were already well into summer.


Native American tribes and early explorers

Kansas was originally home to many Native American tribes, including the Osage, Kansa, and Pawnee. The first European explorer to visit Kansas was the Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in the 16th century.

European colonization and the state’s role in American history

Kansas became a territory in 1854 and was officially admitted as a state in 1861. The state played a significant role in the American Civil War and was a major destination for westward expansion.

Key events and figures in the state’s history

Some key events in Kansas’s history include the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the American Civil War, and the Dust Bowl. Notable figures from Kansas include Dwight D. Eisenhower and Amelia Earhart.


Major industries and economic drivers

Agriculture is a major industry in Kansas, with the state being a leading producer of wheat, corn, and soybeans. The state also has a growing aviation and aerospace industry.

Demographics and population trends

Kansas has a population of approximately 3 million people and is considered a largely rural state. The state has a relatively low population density and a relatively high percentage of the population identifying as white.

Culture and Society

Overview of the state’s culture and traditions

Kansas is known for its strong ties to its agricultural roots, as well as its prairie and Great Plains culture. The state is also known for its strong conservative values.

Famous people and landmarks from the state

Notable figures from Kansas include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Amelia Earhart, and Langston Hughes. Landmarks include the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, and the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Arts and entertainment scene in the state

Kansas has a thriving arts and entertainment scene, with major cities like Wichita and Kansas City hosting a variety of music, theater, and dance events.

Field Trips and Activities

The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center was one of our favorite places to go and explore with the kids.

Visit the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene to learn about the 34th President of the United States

Take a tour of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills to learn about the state’s unique prairie ecosystem

Explore the state’s aviation and aerospace history by visiting the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson or the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita.

Visit one of the state’s many historical sites such as the Fort Riley Military Reservation, the Sibley Historic Site, or the John Brown Memorial Park

Explore the state’s agricultural heritage by visiting a working farm or a farmers market

Take a drive along the scenic Flint Hills National Scenic Byway to enjoy the state’s natural beauty.

Books about Kansas

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