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   Illinois Geography Lapbook

      In God We Trust

Creating an Illinois Geography Lapbook can help you to further explore the wonderful state of Illinois. Basic instructions on creating a lapbook are available at the bottom of this page along with a PDF file including the information on this page and more.

Geography is more than just the physical make up of a location, it is also about the people, their interaction with the environment and nature. I hope to have touched on each of these in some way in this lapbook study.

How to Use This Page

You will find many facts and interesting items on this page and on the Illinois Geography page. There is too much information to include in a beginning lapbook session. Take a few minutes to first pick what you feel is important for your student to know or what might be interesting to him or her. I recommend no more than one or two items from each category per lapbooking session. The option to expand on this topic is always there but cover what you believe is important first.

Do activities that relate to the topic, for example the State dance is a Square Dance. Look up online the basic Square Dance steps and try them or take a Square Dancing class. Follow up by putting a dance diagram in the lapbook.

Be creative in trying new things and experiment with more than the templates. If your child is artistic, let her/him draw. If your child learns by hands-on activities make an invention. Is your child musically inclined, sing the state song. Is your child a writer, create a poem using the state facts or write about one or two of the famous people.

Don't make this all about cutting and pasting facts and putting them in neat little flap books. Decorate, experiment, research interesting people and places in books from the library or online. Additionally, if you live in Illinois go outside see if you can find the state tree, bird or flower. If you don't live in Illinois, go outside and see how much your state/country has in common with Illinois.


                                                                                                                                                                              Illinois State Flag


The northeastern border of Illinois is Lake Michigan. 

Its eastern border is Indiana.

Its northern border is Wisconsin. 

Its western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River. 

Its southern border with Kentucky is the Ohio River.

Illinois also borders Michigan, but only via a water boundary in Lake Michigan.[14]

Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains. It has three major geographical divisions.

The first is Northern Illinois including the city of Chicago, its suburbs, and the adjoining exurban area. 

The second is Central Illinois including Springfield. It is mostly flat prairie and is known as the Heart of Illinois.

The third division is Southern Illinois. The juncture of the Mississippi River and the Ohio forms an area known as Little Egypt. This area has a warmer, humid climate and the landscape is rougher.

Basic Illinois Geography Lapbook Facts

Statehood:  December 3, 1818, the 21st state

Capital:  Springfield

Total Area:  26th among states, 150,007 sq km (57,918 sq mi)

Water Area:  6,022 sq km (2,325 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Charles Mound 376 m (1,235 ft)

Total Population:   5th among states
2000 census -  12,419,293
2005 estimate -  12,763,371

Distribution in 1990:  85% Urban, 15% Rural

Gross State Product - $528 billion (2004)
Personal income per Capita - $32,965 (2003)

State Bird:  Cardinal

State Animal:  White-tailed Deer

State Fish:  Bluegill

State Insect: Monarch Butterfly

State Flower:  Purple Violet

State Tree:  White Oak

State Fossil:  Tully Monster

State Mineral:  Flourite

Prairie Grass:  Big Bluestem

State Song:  "Illinois" lyrics by: Charles H. Chamberlin   music by: Archibald Johnston

State Dance:  Square Dance

Motto:  State sovereignty, national union

Origin of State Name:  Illinois is named for the Illini, a confederation of Native Americans
from various tribes who lived in the region.

Nickname for State:  The Prairie State. 

Nickname for residents:  Illinoisans

Landmarks Natural and Man-Made

There are 84 National Historic Landmarks in Illinois. Look through the list
and pick one or two and research them online. Find pictures and interesting facts and include them in your lapbook. If you need a template, check here.

Robert S. Abbott House
A home of Robert S. Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper.

Adler Planetarium
First and oldest planetarium in the western hemisphere

Auditorium Building, Roosevelt University
Building designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan.

Bishop Hill Colony
Historic district of Swedish dissident commune founded in 1846.

Cahokia Mounds
Largest archaeological site related to Mississippian culture.

Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building
Architect Louis Sullivan-designed building.

James Charnley House
Louis Sullivan AND Frank Lloyd Wright got in on this one's design.

Chicago Board of Trade Building
Skyscraper designed by Holabird & Root, housed the world's largest trading floor when built in 1930.

Church of the Holy Family (Cahokia)
A church dating from 1799.

Columbus Park
Part of the Chicago Park District.

Arthur H. Compton House   
Home of Nobel-prize-winning physicist who proved light has both wave and particle aspects, the Compton Effect.

Avery Coonley House
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, in Riverside Historic District

Crow Island School   
An elementary school designed by Larry Perkins and Eliel Saarinen. Model for the now-widespread Winnetka Plan school design.

Susan Lawrence Dana House   
A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house.

David Davis House   
Home of David Davis (Supreme Court justice).

Charles G. Dawes House   
Home of Charles Gates Dawes, architect of peace plans.

John Deere Home and Shop   

Oscar Stanton De Priest House   

Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite   

Eads Bridge   
A combined road and railway bridge which was, when completed in 1874, the longest arch bridge in the world.

Farm Creek Section   
Site of exposed geological strata.

Farnsworth House   
A one-room home designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

John Farson House   

Fort de Chartres   
French fort built in 1720. Its powder magazine is believed to be oldest standing building in Illinois.

Fort Sheridan Historic District   
An area originally established as a United States Army Post.

John J. Glessner House   

Ulysses S. Grant Home   

Grosse Point Lighthouse   
A lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan, built in 1873 the wake of several shipping disasters.

Haymarket Martyrs' Monument   

Hegeler-Carus Mansion   
Designed by Chicago architect William W. Boyington for a partner in a nearby zinc company.

Isidore H. Heller House   
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house.

Arthur Heurtley House   
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, his first fully in Prairie School style.

Hull House   
One of the first settlement houses in the U.S.

Illinois and Michigan Canal Locks and Towpath   

Nicholas Jarrot Mansion   

Kennicott Grove   
The home of Robert Kennicott, an American naturalist.

Kincaid Site   
An archaeological site

Leiter II Building   

Frank R. Lillie House   
Former home of embryologist Frank R. Lillie.

Abraham Lincoln Home   
Abraham Lincoln's home

Lincoln Park Lily Pool   
An example of Prairie School landscape architecture designed by Alfred Caldwell.

Lincoln Tomb   

Vachel Lindsay House   

Owen Lovejoy House   
Home of abolitionist who was killed defending his printing presses.

Marquette Building (Chicago)   

Marshall Field Company Store   

Mazon Creek Fossil Beds   

Pierre Menard House   

Robert A. Millikan House   
Home of Robert A. Millikan, a physicist.

Modoc Rock Shelter   
An archaeological site.

Montgomery Ward Company Complex   
The former warehouse and offices of the national headquarters of one of the nations first mail order companies, Montgomery Ward.

Morrow Plots, University of Illinois   

An experimental corn field.

Nauvoo Historic District   

Old Kaskaskia Village   

Old Main, Knox College   

Best-preserved site of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Old State Capitol   

Old Stone Gate, Chicago Union Stockyards   

Entrance to the famous Union Stock Yards; designed by John Wellboorn Root.

Orchestra Hall   

President (riverboat)   

Principia College Historic District   

Pullman Historic District   

Another historic district of the Pullman Company including the Hotel Florence.

Reliance Building   

Riverside Historic District   

Planned community designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

Frederick C. Robie House   

A Prairie style home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908.

Rock Island Arsenal   

Rookery Building   

Room 405, George Herbert Jones Laboratory, The University of Chicago   

The laboratory that first isolated plutonium and determined its atomic mass.

Sears, Roebuck, and Company Complex 

Shedd Aquarium
An aquarium.

Site of First Self-sustaining Nuclear Reaction   
A Pile

South Dearborn Street-Printing House Row Historic District   
Historic District

S.R. Crown Hall 
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed architecture school building at Illinois Institute of Technology

Starved Rock 

Lorado Taft Midway Studios 

F. F. Tomek House 
Another house in Riverside Historic District

Lyman Trumbull House
A house.

U-505 (German Submarine)
German U-Boat at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Unity Temple
A Temple.

University of Illinois Observatory
An observatory.

The Wayside

A house.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett House 
Former home of civil rights advocate Ida B. Wells.

Frances Willard House
Former home of temperance reformer Frances Willard, and longtime headquarters of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams House 
The former home of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, one of the first major African American surgeons.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Physical Land Features that can be found in Illinois are:

Try to find an example of one or two of these. To get you started one arch is Illinois is the Pomona Bridge. There are a lot of lakes if you would like an easy one to expore.

Arches                                              Areas  
Bars                                                  Basins   
Bays                                                 Beaches   
Bends                                               Capes   
Cliffs                                                 Falls   
Flats                                                 Forests   
Gaps                                                 Guts   
Islands                                              Lakes   
Pillars                                                Ranges   
Rapids                                               Ridges  
Springs                                              Streams   
Summits                                             Swamps   
Valleys                                               Woods

Famous People

Learning about famous people from your state is a great way to tap into your student's interests. Studying famous authors or inventors from the list might spark a new passion. Have your student pick from the lists below and let them research that person and find 2 or 3 interesting facts about that person.  Try to make sure they answer, "Why is this person famous?"

Put those facts on a Fact Box template. Label the top flap Did You Know  and on the inside put the interesting fact. Then put it in your Illinios geography lapbook.


Franklin Pierce Adams author, Chicago
Ray Bradbury author, Waukegan
Raymond Chandler writer, Chicago
James Gould Cozzens author, Chicago
John Dos Passos author, Chicago
James T. Farrell author, Chicago
John Gunther author, Chicago
Ernest Hemingway author, Oak Park
James Jones author, Robinson
Frank Norris author, Chicago
Carl Sandburg poet, Galesburg
Sam Shepard playwright, Fort Sheridan
William L. Shirer author, historian, Chicago
Carl Van Doren writer, educator, Hope
Melvin Van Peebles playwright, Chicago
Irving Wallace author, Chicago
Shel Silvertstein author,Chicago


Arnold O. Beckman inventor, Cullom
Marvin Camras inventor, Chicago
Homer Z. Martin inventor, Chicago
Stanley Mazor inventor, Chicago
John Deere Inventor,Grand Detour
George Ferris Inventor, Galesburg


Gillian Anderson actress, Chicago
Mary Astor actress, Quincy
Jennie Garth actress, Urbana
Walt Disney film animator, producer, Chicago
Harrison Ford actor, Chicago
Charlton Heston actor, Evanston
William Holden actor, O'Fallon
Rock Hudson actor, Winnetka
Bill Murray actor, Wilmette
Bob Newhart actor, comedian, Chicago
Richard Pryor comedian, actor, Peoria
Ronald Reagan U.S. president, actor, Tampico
McLean Stevenson actor, Bloomington
Preston Sturges director, Chicago
Gloria Swanson actress, Chicago
Raquel Welch actress, Chicago
Florenz Ziegfield theatrical producer, Chicago
Robin Williams actor, Chicago
Jack Benny comedian, Chicago


Black Hawk Sauk Indian chief
Harry A. Blackmun jurist, Nashville
William E. Borah public official, Fairfield
William Jennings Bryan orator, politician, Salem
John M. Harlan jurist, Chicago
Ronald Reagan U.S. president, actor, Tampico
Abraham Lincoln U.S. 16th president, New Salem 


Miles Davis musician, Alton
Benny Goodman musician, Chicago
Burl Ives singer, Hunt City
Sherrill Milnes baritone, Downers Grove
Alfred Wallenstein conductor, Chicago

Jane Addams social worker, Cedarville
Gower Champion choreographer, Geneva
John Chancellor TV commentator, Chicago
Jimmy Connors tennis champion, East St. Louis
Cindy Crawford model, DeKalb
Richard J. Daley mayor, Chicago
Betty Friedan feminist, Peoria
George E. Hale astronomer, Chicago
Dorothy Hamill ice skater, Chicago
Wild Bill Hickok scout, Troy Grove
Quincy Jones composer, Chicago
Walter Kerr drama critic, Evanston
Robert A. Millikan physicist, Morrison
William S. Paley broadcasting executive, Chicago
Drew Pearson columnist, Evanston
Clyde W. Tombaugh astronomer, Streator
Gwendolyn Brooks Pulitzer Prize winner, Chicago

State Historic Sites

Go to the library or search online for information about one or two sites of interest to your child. Have them draw a picture, write a story, create a game and choose one or two items to condense into a form to fit in your Illinois Geography lapbook.
                                        New Salem

There are more than 50 Illinois state historic sites. The state historic sites are:

  • Albany Mounds State Historic Site, Whiteside County
  • Apple River Fort State Historic Site, Jo Daviess County
  • Bishop Hill State Historic Site,  Henry County
  • Black Hawk State Historic Site, Rock Island County
  • Bryant Cottage State Historic Site, Piatt County
  • Buel House, Pope County
  • Cahokia Courthouse State Historic Site, St. Clair County
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Madison County and St. Clair County
  • Campbell's Island State Memorial, Rock Island County
  • Carl Sandburg State Historic Site, Knox County
  • Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site, Sangamon County
  • David Davis Mansion State Historic Site,  McLean County
  • Douglas Tomb State Historic Site, Cook County
  • Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, Randolph County
  • Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site, Randolph County
  • Governor Bond State Memorial, Randolph County
  • Governor Coles State Memorial, Madison County
  • Governor Horner State Memorial, Cook County
  • Grand Village of the Illinois, LaSalle County 
  • Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Sangamon County
  • Jarrot Mansion State Historic Site,  St. Clair County
  • Jubilee College State Historic Site, Peoria County
  • Kaskadia Bell State Memorial, Randolph County
  • Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site, Massac County
  • Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, Madison County
  • Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site, Sangamon County
  • Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, Coles County
  • Lincoln Monument, Lee County
  • Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site,  Sangamon County
  • Lincoln Trail State Memorial, Lawrence County
  • Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, Menard County
  • Lovejoy State Memorial, Madison County
  • Martin-Boismenue House, St. Clair County
  • Metamora Courthouse State Historic Site, Woodford County
  • Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site, Logan County
  • Norwegian Settlers Memorial, La Salle County
  • Old Market House State Historic Site, Jo Daviess County
  • Old State Capitol State Historic Site,  Sangamon County
  • Pierre Menard Home State Historic Site, Randolph County
  • Postville Courthouse State Historic Site, Logan County
  • Pullman Site, including Hotel Florence, Cook County
  • Rose Hotel, Hardin County
  • Shawneetown Bank State Historic Site, Gallatin County
  • U.S. Grant Home State Historic Site,  Jo Daviess County
  • Vachel Lindsay Home,  Sangamon County
  • Vandalia State House State Historic Site, Fayette County
  • Washburne House State Historic Site, Jo Daviess County
  • Wild Bill Hickok Memorial, LaSalle County
  • World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial, Sangamon County

Also of historic interest are two other areas:

  • Chicago Portage National Historic Site 
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site 

There are no other National Park Service units in Illinois.

Plants and Animals

Plants and animals are an important part of life. Include in your Illinois Geography lapbook a few plants and animals from Illinois. Wikimedia offers many images in the public domain that are copyright use acceptable.

A few animals you may see if your are out in the wilderness of Illinois are:

Cottontail rabbit
Eastern chipmunk
Fox squirrel
Plains pocket gopher
River otter
Short tailed shrew
Striped skunk

Thirteen lined squirrel                                         skink by Fritz Geller-Grimm
Virginia possum
White footed mouse

White tailed deer
Cottonmouth snake
Timber Rattlesnake
Copperhead snake
Skinks and Lizards

A few of the trees that you may find in Illinois are:

White Oak
Red Oak
Burr Oak
Black Walnut
Wild Black Cherry
Pin Oak


If you choose to include this information, I would suggest using the Vocabulary list template. Label the outside with the position i.e. Governor and the inside with who it is i.e. Rod Blagojevich.

Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich (D)

Lieutenant Governor of Illinois: Pat Quinn (D)

Attorney General of Illinois: Lisa Madigan (D)

Secretary of State of Illinois: Jesse White (D)

Comptroller of Illinois: Daniel Hynes (D)

Treasurer of Illinois: Alexi Giannoulias (D)

Senior United States Senator: Richard J. Durbin (D)

Junior United States Senator: Barack Obama (D)


Counties, Cities, and Towns 

                                                      Harrisburg, Illinois main street
Illinois is one of the fifty states of the United States of America. It is divided into 102 counties. The counties contain cities, rural areas and towns.

The PDF file will include a county map of Illinois that can be labeled with the counties, cities, and capital if desired.

The ten largest cities in Illinois (2005 est.) are:

1. Chicago, ~ 2,842,518;

2. Aurora, ~168,181;

3. Rockford,~ 152,916; 

4. Naperville, ~141,579;

5. Joliet, ~136,208; 

6. Springfield,~ 115,668; 

7. Peoria,~ 112,685;

8. Elgin,~ 98,645;

9. Waukegan,~ 91,396;

10. Cicero,~ 82,741

The smallest towns in Illinois are:

1. Oconee, IL (pop. 202) 

2. New Minden (pop. 204))

3. Bulpitt (pop. 206)  

4. Gulf Port (pop. 207) 
4. Indianola, IL (pop. 207)
4. Iroquois, IL (pop. 207)

5. Arlington, IL (pop. 211)
5. Eldred, IL (pop. 211) 

6. Claremont, IL (pop. 212)

7. Cooksville (pop. 213)  
7. Metcalf (pop. 213) 
7. Oakdale, IL (pop. 213)  

8. Smithfield, IL (pop. 214)

9. Shumway (pop. 217)

10. St. Johns, IL (pop. 218)
10. Batchtown (pop. 218)  

11. Reddick, IL (pop. 219)

12. Spillertown (pop. 220

Fun Places to Visit in Illinois

On the Illinois Geography page you will find a list of fun festivals and places to visit in Illinois. On the bottom of the Illinois Geography page is a place where others have created a page about their favorite places in Illinois. I encourage you to read their messages and comment on them and if you have been to an interesting or fun place make a page about your adventure. It is easy and fun to do.

Explore Illinois Nature

Illinois has a variety of protected areas including 123 state protected areas - state parks, wildlife areas, recreation areas, natural areas and state forests. There is one national forest, the Shawnee National Forest.

Explore them online or in person, then write a paragraph or sentence about what you have learned. Search for pictures online or take your own and create your own comment page on Illinois Geography. (Same link as above.)

 Wilderness Areas

  • Bald Knob Wilderness
  • Bay Creek Wilderness
  • Burden Falls Wilderness
  • Clear Springs Wilderness
  • Crab Orchard Wilderness
  • Garden of the Gods Wilderness
  • Lusk Creek Wilderness
  • Panther Den Wilderness

National Forest and Prairies

  • Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Shawnee National Forest 

Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness Areas

  • Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge
  • Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge 
  • Crab Orchard Wilderness
  • Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
  • Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge
  • Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge Complex
  • Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge
  • Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge
  • Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge

Lakes and Waterways

  • Carlyle Lake 
  • Illinois Waterway
  • Lake Shelbyville 
  • Rend Lake 

Illinois Climate and Weather

Illinois has a wide climate range. Most of Illinois has hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters. The southernmost part of the state, from about Carbondale southward has more moderate winters.

Average yearly precipitation for Illinois varies from just over 48 inches (1,220 mm) at the southern tip to around 35 inches (890 mm) in the northern portion of the state.

Normal annual snowfall exceeds 38 inches (96 cm) in the Chicago area, while the southern portion of the state normally receives less than 14 inches (35 cm).

The highest temperature recorded in Illinois was 117 °F (47 °C), recorded on July 14, 1954, at East St. Louis.

The lowest temperature was -36 °F (-38 °C), recorded on January 5, 1999, at Congerville.

Illinois averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year.

Illinois has an average of 35 tornadoes occurring annually.
The deadliest tornado on record in the nation occurred largely in Illinois. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 killed 695 people in three states; 613 of the victims lived in Illinois.[19]

Illinois Geography Lapbook Challenge: Make a weather comparison chart between either Chicago and Metropolis or with your state and include it in your Illinois Geography lapbook.

Music in Illinois

Illinois State Song Lyrics

The words were written by C.H. Chamberlain.
The music was composed by Archibald Johnston


By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O'er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze.
Rustling through the leafy trees, and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commerical tree, turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue, There were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation's glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln's name appears, Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

Industry in Illinois

Farming: corn, soybeans
Coal Mines
Importer of fuels for energy

General Lapbook Directions

1. Gather Information and Templates
2. Prepare-create folder-decorate
3. Teach or Present Information HAVE FUN
4. Child initiated information gathering
5. Discuss and put items in lapbook
6. Review material in lapbook often

For a printable version of this lapbook along with copies of the suggested templates, click here.

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Illinois State Capital

Lincolns tomb

shedd aquarium by Fritz Geller-Grimm

oak tree by Bruce Marlin

Pomona Illinois by Daniel Scwhen

Carlyle Lake public domain image

tornado by Scott Smith

1911 Coal Mine copyright expired

Homeschool 62959