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Indiana's Changing Landscape

Indiana's Changing Landscape
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.32

     challenging words:    evolution, topography, settling, stake, geographical, therefore, relationship, colonist, timeline, northwestern, westward, photography, pivotal, sheer, affected, unique
     content words:    United States, Great Lakes Plain, Lake Michigan, Tipton Till Plain, Southern Hills, American Indians, Robert La Salle, North America, Appalachian Mountains, Indian War

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Indiana's Changing Landscape
By Mary Perrin

1     Looking at pictures of an ice covered region of the United States, like that of Antarctica, you might marvel over the sheer size of the masses of ice and snow. If photography existed thousands of years ago and someone could have taken an aerial photo of the Hoosier state, then this is exactly the picture that would develop. Over many thousands of years, Indiana has experienced some major geographical changes. An evolution of events has turned a photograph of icy glaciers into a timeline full of pivotal moments that make up Indiana's rich history.
2     Glaciers began to push from the northern portion of what is now the United States down through Indiana. These large masses of ice changed the land. Imagine two horizontal lines running through Indiana that would divide the state in exactly three pieces. If you are able to image how this would look, then you are able to envision the three natural regions formed by the movement of glaciers. Glaciers affected the upper two regions much more drastically than the lower one-third. The upper region is known as the Great Lakes Plain. This region is mostly flat with the exception of the sand dunes that lie along the Lake Michigan shore. As the glaciers continued to move south and melt, they left large deposits of till behind on the land. Till is a word that describes a combination of soil and rock that has been mixed together. Therefore, the middle region, the Tipton Till Plain, is known for its rich fertile soil. The state capital, Indianapolis, is centrally located in this region. Glaciers did not drastically change the topography of the southern- most region; therefore, the Southern Hills and Lowlands is an area of Indiana that is known for its beauty and charm because of its rolling hills, fertile valleys, and its tree-line sunsets.
3     Early people migrated to the Indiana land not for its breathtaking beauty, but rather for the food that they hunted. About 12,000 years ago, American Indians migrated from the northwestern portion of America to what is now known as Indiana. They obtained food, clothing, and other items from wild animals like bison, mastodons, and mammoths. As the climate got warmer the animals that they hunted began to die off because the plants they depended on couldn't grow in the new temperatures. They began to hunt smaller animals, catch fish, and gather fruits and nuts. They soon discovered that they could grow the foods they desired. Groups of American Indians began to band together into tribes. Working together as a tribe made life much easier and gave individuals more time to develop unique skills.

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