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Exploring North America - The Landforms



Exploring North America - The Landforms
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.41

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    piedmont, mountainous, early, navigate, knowing, volcanic, southwest, crossing, landscape, coastal, traveled, lowest, however, physical, level, variety
     content words:    North America, Native American, United States, Central America, South America, Caribbean Sea, West Indies, Atlantic Ocean, Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountains


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Exploring North America - The Landforms
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Early explorers who came to North America saw its different physical features. In fact, if you travel across the continent, you will see its variety of landforms. There are mountains, deserts, canyons, valleys, and plains. They also saw the Native American communities that existed in North America. These people were familiar with North America's landscape. Early explorers had to learn how to navigate these physical features.
 
2     North America today is divided into three major countries. They are the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Canada is to the north of the U.S., and Mexico is to the south. Connected to Mexico is Central America. Central America has many countries. It also has a land bridge that connects to South America. Other parts of North America are the island of Greenland and the islands in the Caribbean Sea. When early explorers came, they called these islands the West Indies.
 
3     Explorers who landed on the east coast of North America may have noticed its coastal plains. They border the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Today, the largest number of people live in the coastal and gulf plains. Farther inland from the coastal plains are the piedmont and valleys. These lead up to one of six mountain chains. These chains run north to south. Imagine what it would have been like to cross these mountains. Remember, there were no trains, plains, or automobiles. The Appalachian Mountains are located in eastern North America. They are not as high now. However, to early explorers, they probably continued forever into the sky. The Appalachians run from Canada to Alabama. In the west there are the Rocky Mountains. They are higher than the Appalachians. You will also find the Continental Divide in the Rockies. These mountains run from Canada to eastern Mexico. The Pacific ranges are the last mountain chains on the continent. They are the Cascades, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Pacific Coast Range. Like the Rockies, these ranges run through the United States and Canada.

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