There are fifteen states in the West. They are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
The West is made up of different landforms, or shapes of land. It is made up of long coastal areas, deserts, valleys, plains, and mountains.
People in the West have many kinds of jobs. The jobs they have depend on where they live.
Many fishermen live on the coast next to the Pacific Ocean. Many farmers and ranchers live on the plains and in the fertile valleys. Many miners live near the mountains. They take valuable materials from the ground.
Think about it
Many people live in large cities. They have different kinds of jobs. Can you name some of the jobs they might have?
What jobs do people have where you live?
Which of these jobs would you like to have?
Farming in the West
Many people in the West earn a living by farming. Western farmers grow more than two hundred different kinds of crops.
Farmers in California grow grapes. California farmers grow more kinds of crops than farmers in any other state in America.
Farmers in Idaho grow more potatoes than farmers in any other state.
Farmers in Texas row grapefruits. People all over the country eat Texas grapefruits.
Ranching in the West
Some people in the West earn a living by ranching. Ranchers work on large farms called ranches. They raise these animals for their meat and hides. They often wear western-style clothing. Cowboys and cowgirls wore this kind of clothing long ago.
Write about it
Do people farm or ranch in your part of the country?
What do they grow?
What animals do they raise? make a list.
Fishing in the West
Some people in the West earn living by fishing. Many people who live near the water work on fishing boats. They catch millions of pounds of fish each year and sell them to restaurants and stores all over the world.
Some people in California catch tuna and mackerel. In Alaska, they catch salmon.
Mining in the West
Some people in the West earn living by mining. Miners in the West take copper, iron ore, and silver out of the ground. Some miners also take petroleum out of the ground.
Pennies are made from copper. Three-fifths of copper in America is found in Arizona.
Some spoons are made from silver. It is found in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, and Nevada.
Some pots are made from iron. A lot of iron ore is found in Wyoming and California.
Gasoline and oil are made from petroleum. It is found in California, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Write about it
Imagine you are a silver miner. What would people make from your silver?
Petroleum is a black liquid that comes from the ground. It is so valuable that sometimes it is called “black gold.”
Petroleum goes from the ground to the people who use it through these steps:
1- A bulldozer clears the land and makes it flat.
2- An oil rig is built. An oil rig is a machine that takes the petroleum out of the ground. it has a big drill that digs an oil well or deep hole into the ground. A pump brings the petroleum up.
3- The petroleum moves through a pipeline to a factory called a refinery. At the refinery, workers heat the petroleum to remove the dirt and other parts that cannot be used.
4- A pipeline, tank car, or truck takes the refined petroleum to the people who use it.
Fuel is the most valuable product we get from petroleum. Fuels such as gasoline and oil make cars, buses, and airplanes run. Fuels also make heat and electricity for houses and other buildings.
Talk about it
Tell a friend how petroleum goes from the ground to the people who use it.