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California Dreaming

Posted on May 30 2021

California Dreaming

Dear Educators,

Maps101 is based in Santa Barbara, California, but that is not the only reason we are partial to the Golden State. It has miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean, with waves that attract surfers. It is a top vacation destination. It also has North America’s hottest desert, located in Death Valley. Los Angeles is the largest city in California. The state capital is in Sacramento. The weather and land provide much of the state with ideal conditions for agriculture. In fact, in 2019, over two-thirds of the nuts and fruits grown in the United States came from California. That same year, the state’s farms and ranches earned more than $50 billion for their output. Hollywood is still the center of the film industry in the United States. And this is only scratching the surface. Come along on a journey to California--an abundant state that is also the home of Maps101!

Geography News Network

Most Americans could name numerous cities in California; however, Los Angeles stands out, and for good reason: It is the largest city in California. Greater Los Angeles includes a massive number of different communities, as well as different cities immediately attached to LA’s borders. Los Angeles is so famous that a lot of its neighborhoods, like Bel Air and Venice Beach, as well as some of those small, independent cities, like Malibu, Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills are all famous too. Read this exclusive Maps101 GNN article to learn more about the history of this city that still draws people to it—to live or to visit, Los Angeles has it all.

Geography News Network

As emigrants came to California from Asia, many Japanese amongst them settled in the state. Many married, had children who were American citizens, or themselves became citizens through naturalization. However, out of fear, the United States interred Japanese Americans during World War II, after going to war with Japan. U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were moved into camps as their loyalty was questioned. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act in 1988 to compensate more than 100,000 Japanese people who had been imprisoned. It also included a formal apology for the country’s actions at that time. Camps were built at a number of sites throughout America outside of California, but Manzanar was a key location since there were many Japanese in California. Learn more about Japanese internment in this Maps101 GNN article. Questions at the end will help stimulate classroom discussion.


WWII Army and
Resettlement Camps

California sits along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the westernmost states of the continental United States. People from Asia who emigrated to America often came through California. As a result of its location, the state was and still is strategically important. This map shows the numerous army camps, as well as prisoner of war camps, located in the state.  It also identifies Manzanar and Tule Lake as locations where Japanese Americans were moved during the war out of fear that they would collaborate with Japan. 


California Atlas

The Maps101 California Atlas features numerous maps specifically about California. Students can learn about Native Americans in the state, the missions and presidios there, native vegetation, stagecoach lines, state senate districts and much, much more. Reach for the California Atlas, under Curated Collections, to find all the maps you need to support your students in California and beyond.



Making Connections with Today Have students read the article on Japanese internment camps during World War II. Then, discuss in class what group or groups Americans fear today and why. Encourage students to be respectful in the discussion.  Help them see how history helps teach us about today. 


Researching Agriculture Use the provided link to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to have students discover the top 10 most valued crops in California. Divide the class into groups or pairs and assign one of the crops to each group. Have each group research how their crop is best grown and harvested. They may want to include a recipe for their crop as well.'s%20agricultural%20abundance%20includes%20more,Almonds%20%E2%80%94%20%246.09%20billion


Expanding Mapping Skills Use the outline map of California from Maps101’s collection to have students illustrate where their crop is grown within the state. These maps can then be included in their reports. 

High-quality geography products for the classroom. From globes to wall maps, atlases to games, offers a wealth of products to help put your classroom on the map.
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