Geographically Challenged

Maybe you've seen this link before, the game in which you drag and drop the U.S. states into their proper location.  My parents sent it to me this week and suggested I let the kids try it.  Kids, schmids.  I spent a ridiculous amount time trying it myself, battering my self-esteem and calling into question the credentials of every social studies teacher I've ever had.  I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person–so how is it I am 36 years old and cannot locate New Jersey within 287 miles?

(I did, however, in a dazzling display of mediocre geographical skills, positively nail Texas and Florida.  The lesson in that is that you wouldn't want me as your navigator unless you're driving through a state with a significantly identifiable hump.)

Here's my theory: unless you're a geography buff, you tend to be most familiar with the areas in which you live or around which you've traveled at length.  For example, I can get a spot-on perfect score on any state that contains an SEC school.  I once lived in Chicago, so I can correctly place the states that border the Great Lakes.  I've traveled a lot around Colorado, so I can usually get the western states in their spot.


I'm of absolutely no use in New England.  It always surprises me to realize how far east Pennsylvania is, and I couldn't even begin to tell you how Connecticut, Massachussetts, New Hampshire and Vermont all fit together.  

I'm not much better with the Midwest.  I always get Ohio and Iowa mixed up (even though they're nowhere close to each other–it's all those dang vowels in the name).  And it always surpises me that Illinois touches Kentucky; it just doesn't seem like it should, you know?

And I couldn't tell you why, but it feels to me that Oregon should be on top of Washington, not the other way around.  I know, that makes no sense.  But I'm a geography-by-emotional-intuition kind of girl, a trait which, you can imagine, my husband finds especially adorable on long road trips. 

So, do you think I'm right?  Do you American readers have parts of the country you can place perfectly, but other parts that confound you completely?  And if so, which ones?  And is there anyone–anyone–out there who actually understands how New England fits together?

(By the way, it took MANY tries–and a conscious effort at leaving my Oregon/Washington emotional baggage at the door–but I finally managed to score a 90%.  It was the best I could do.  What was your score?)

Posted in: Fun

189 thoughts on “Geographically Challenged

  1. Audrey says:

    I scored a 76% and my average error was 74 miles. 38 perfect out of 50 turns. That was pretty fun! I sent it to my mom and sister. 🙂
    I’m, actually from Washington, so the entire western side of the US was pretty easy…. it’s once I got on the other side of the Dakotas that I got confused. And New England? Forget it. I don’t even think New Englanders could get it right.

  2. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    Oh those are hard! Surprised myself by getting an 86% the first time with 36 miles error. Not too bad – though I totally used the shapes of the states trying to match them up with the microscopic edges of the coast and other states – LOL! I’m from MT and CA, so anything east baffles me.
    It is something we should know though. Thank you for trying to increase our intelligence!

  3. JenM says:

    I’m South African born and raised and have been living in England for the last 9 years … and I got 84% on my first try! Am v impressed with myself.

  4. Anne says:

    I got a 92%….Wisconsin and Montana goofed me up a little bit:). But I must say the New England states weren’t too hard because my family and I spent my whole childhood going from one state to another… I’m from Pennsylvania, so perhaps that explains it:).

  5. Kim says:

    Too funny! My first try was 82%. I pegged the New England states as I’m from Maine. We would travel from Maine to Florida every summer and with map in hand I would guide us from one state to another. I have never been west of Tennessee so that’s where things got tricky. It’s all those square states that I always messed up in school and it’s good to know things haven’t changed. I could probably get you to California with a good compass but that’s about it.

  6. Melonie (Momma & More) says:

    WOW, that was FUN! I hadn’t seen that link before.
    My score was 96% – 48 out of 50 right…with an avg error of 9 miles.
    Mind you, I’m an Army brat and military spouse so I’ve lived in a half dozen states up and down the West and East/Southeast and I’ve travelled through most of the states at some time or another. Plus I’ve done the Melissa & Doug USA puzzle about 500 times with my kids, if not more – frankly I think it’s THAT that saved me. LOL
    I really enjoyed that. Awesome link. 🙂

  7. Tasha says:

    How fun! The western states gave me a bit of trouble, but I have moved around the east coast and midwest a ton so those were easier. My stats are 41 out of 50, average error 35 miles. Not to shabby for someone who struggles with remembering the names of all 50 states!

  8. Angela says:

    88% with an average error of 19 miles in 376 seconds on my first try. I did better than I expected with the plains.
    I think I need to add this to my blog with a link to you. This is a great website find.

  9. Jo@Mylestones says:

    I think you’re on to something with your theory of intuitive geography. I’ve never needed to know the latitude and longitude of Louisiana, or the whereabouts of Wyoming, so when it comes to geography, it’s a safe bet that I’m not smarter than a 5th grader.
    But since I’ve lived in the Midwest, on the West Coast, in the MidAtlantic, and now count myself among New Englanders, my biggest struggle was, ahem, the South. If only we could have combined our geographic prowess on the puzzle, we could have been golden, Shannon. 🙂
    As for why New England is tough to nail, I’ve got too theories: (1) Dartmouth and Brown don’t usually make it to the Fiesta Bowl, and (2) Our dear New England states are “small for their age”, and are smart enough not to even attempt to mess with Texas.

  10. Kelly says:

    I’m from Massachusetts, so I understand New England and the Northeast perfectly, but if you take me out to where roads run directly east and west and north and south, I am useless. Montana? Where is that?

  11. Jennifer R. says:

    Thanks for the link. That was fun! I got a 90% with an average error of 70 miles the first time I took it. My biggest problem was that without any other landmarks, it was hard to place central states exactly where they go. Later states were easier because I could just place them next to neighboring states. I did pretty well in New England, but we spent a lot of time going over that in school (we home school). I do have your same issue with Ohio and Iowa, apparently. 🙂

  12. AmyG says:

    That was intereting. I’m not good with directions either. I can’t do N, S, E, W directions. I need landmarks! lol
    On my 1st try, I got 86% average error of 60 miles and it took me 386 seconds to complete, lol. I placed 43 out of 50, right.

  13. Bethany says:

    I got a 98% with an average error of 2 miles. And I totally think the results could be different depending on what states were given first!! Placing Nevada blindly was what lowered my score, but then it gave me edge states to work with so it wasn’t nearly as difficult. Thanks for the link – that was fun!

  14. Michelle says:

    OK that was fun!
    …..I scored 84% with a 71 mile error. I think I kept my score high as I live in New England so I kinda know the East Coast….but I so embarrassed to not have a clue where Idaho, Iowa or Arkansas were supposed to be. Did anyone else feel like it was Homer Simpson saying Doh when you made a mistake at first? Then it started to sound like my overly confident 15 year old making a sarcastic remark….can you tell I made alot of mistakes?

  15. Corey says:

    I’m from New England, so that was easy (except for Rhode Island, which I had no idea about). Wyoming and Colorado always mess me up.. two squares that look the same? I dunno.

  16. Marla Taviano says:

    I used to stink at U.S. (or any) geography. Then my 2-year-old got a states puzzle, and we did it together a zillion times a day. I’m a pro now. Well, a bunch of the NE states are lumped together in one piece, so yeah. Not so much.
    How can you not know where OHIO is??? 😉

  17. Deb Pierce says:

    That was fun! I did a lot better than I thought I would. On my first try I got 92% with an average error of 22 miles. I only placed 4 states wrong, and my worst was Arkansas! LOL

  18. prasti says:

    lol! i remember my son used this game when they were learning geography in 5th grade. i usually have difficulty w/ nebraska and areas around there. we did a lot of cross country driving when i was young so geography came easier to me, except for nebraska and those areas bcs. we never made it there.

  19. Tina says:

    I got an 88% with a 25 mile error avg. I knew where all the states went but the first few on an empty map were all relative. Second time I got a 94% but that’s because the mouse slipped and I stuck virginia in the middle of the great lakes.

  20. Patricia Weitzel says:

    That was fun. I played 5 times and my final score (I say final, just because I’ve got to get to work). 94% with 15 miles and 275 seconds.
    I use the details of the edges of the states to help find the proper placement.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  21. Rachel says:

    Wait. Oregon isn’t on top of Washington? Are you sure? hmmm…. I was going to click that link, but I’m not sure my self-esteem can handle it.
    If what you’re saying is true, and Oregon is not in fact on top of Washington, then I have to agree with you. It should be.

  22. Shelly says:

    My kids love this game. I can’t remember my score the first time I did it, but I am TOTALLY with you on the whole New England thing!

  23. Jolanthe says:

    I had 90% – score lovely in New England Probably due to the fact that I grew up in Maine and had to travel through all those other states to get to Missouri where I went to college (PA is looooooong let me tell you at 2 am!). To this day I do not hold a very high affection for that state…
    Colorodo always gets me…just seems like it should be higher up on the map.

  24. Jean says:

    I know where every state is to go! but to match states with absolutely no guideline threw me off. Anybody who got better score than I are genius! Social Studies was an easy subject for me in school. My score were 88%, average error of 20 miles, and time of 325 seconds.

  25. Bailey's Leaf says:

    I can pretty much get all the way around the edges and I’m not horrible with the New England states. It’s that darn middle American that goofs me up every time.
    Amy in Ohio, the State that DOESN’T resemble Iowa. 🙂

  26. Valerie says:

    I had to comment because I’m from New England!! I got an 86% on my first try and 92% on my second. That was not easy without any guidelines… Thanks for the fun!

  27. Robyn (3girlsmom) says:

    I never learned this stuff in school. I mean, I’m sure I “short term memoried” it at one point in time to ace a test, but then POOF it left my brain.
    You know when I DID learn it? When I TAUGHT school. We were required to teach our 3rd graders where the state are located, what their capitals are, and they had to recognize what the state was by looking at it WHEN IT WASN’T ON THE MAP WITH ALL THE OTHERS. Like on a flashcard. I help up the Georgia flashcard and they had to know 1. Georgia, 2. Atlanta, 3. Where Georgia is located on the big USA map.
    But you know what? Made me learn it!

  28. Tina says:

    I scored 83. I know the East Coast just fine (being from PA), and the South because I made up a little acronym (ok, I’ll admit it’s dumb, but it totally works: Tina Likes Men And Guys: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia) and the West Coast, but man, the middle! All those states I’ve never been to!

  29. Lana says:

    96%. Sorry to say Arkansas was my first state and also the one I placed farthest away. Moving 5 times in the last 6 years and pleanty of cross country road trips makes for easy geography lessons!

  30. megan@Hold it Up to the Light says:

    So 86% on my first try…fun! I am challenged in the midwest and the great lake region, but just like you, the SEC states could be matched in my sleep!!!
    Can’t wait to try this with my first grader this afternoon!
    Thanks for the awesome links you always seem to find!

  31. Brigid says:

    I scored an 80% which is pretty amazing considering I have driven in the wrong direction only to pass a state line saying “What??” on more than one occasion. My 4YO scored a 44%, but was having more mouse problems than actual state problems. And she wants to do it again… Thanks for the great link!

  32. Angie says:

    I got an 89%, but I found the same thing you did… the places where I have traveled I KNEW spot on. The midwest was so fuzzy. My hubby is a big geography buff, and he always has the globe out showing our son where things are, so I think that helped me out a lot.
    Speaking of US geography, have you seen this kid?


  33. Stacy says:

    My first try was a 96!!!! My avg error was 3 miles…I put Kentucky 55 miles too west, and Vermont 22 miles too east!! Thanks for a fun start to the morning–maybe after that mind exercise I will be primed to sort my laundry! 🙂

  34. Tara says:

    82%, 38 miles average error. BUT, on this particular one it is more the skill of putting together a puzzle than knowing where the states go. If you have a general idea out of the shoot, you can figure them out. I got the New England states VERY well mostly because I got one right the first time and could puzzle them together.
    You’d be so ashamed. I got OK wrong by 22 miles. I’m so sorry. 🙂

  35. Kelly says:

    I agree that you are most familiar with the places you live near. Like you, I nailed the SEC states, but the mid-west was a little fuzzy.
    88% with a 23 mile error…I had no idea what to do with Iowa!

  36. Loretta says:

    I scored an 88%. I’m spatially challenged though, so when you give me a state and expect me to drop it in the midst of a blank map I kind of know where it goes but I might get it a little too far in any direction. Delaware was the only one I really screwed up on. Well, that and Wyoming and Montana. Which really isn’t good since they are our neighboring states.

  37. amanda says:

    Check at this youtube video of really SMART toddler; her spatial sense and geography is AMAZING!! Plus her celebrations are super cute

  38. Mrs. S says:

    First try 82% w/ avg error 41 miles. That sticky New England!! I am a west coast girl, our states are BIG…those little tiny states…geeez. I will have my husband do this when he gets home! Shows me how much we need to brush up on our geography!

  39. Donnetta says:

    If you ever make it out this way, I would be glad to personally give you a visual tour of how Washington sits on top of Oregon. Visual learners might see it better that way. We could even throw in Idaho and Montana if it would be helpful. 🙂
    The East Coast has always been my trouble. But then if I ever made it over that way and had the visual in person, it might clear it up that way. HHmmm… think I could convince as to the need of a trip with that reasoning?

  40. Rachel says:

    94%, 5 mile error. It was much harder in the beginning, but I agree that after you get a couple of the “puzzle pieces” in, it became pretty easy. Living the south, I got pretty much all those quickly – its those pesky NE states that are so small, its hard to get exactly right.

  41. Beth S. says:

    Oh my goodness…you are hilarious! I have to admidt that this is my first time on your site. Marie at MakeandTakes listed your site on her blog (amongst others) and the name of your blog intrigued me so that I had to check it out! I may have to add you to my list of favorites! You ladies sure seem to have a lot of fun at the conferences and just blogging in general…makes me tempted to become a blogger instead of a blogger stalker! Hee-hee! Thanks for the laughs!

  42. Linda Sue says:

    apparently you have a smart crew reading this blog – we are mostly scoring 88% and my miles of error averaged 17, What FUN! Of course I live in Texas, was born in Florida went to college in Colorado, Vermont and California (my husband at the time was a grad student/professor – moved a lot) and have lived in Nevada, Kansas, Illinois, Wyoming, and New Mexico. A Rolling Stone so to speak without all the money and weird lifestyles.

  43. T with Honey says:

    OK – having to place Utah in the middle of the country as the very first piece was NOT easy! It got much easier once I had some of the edges filled in and had some sort of guide. At least since I live in New England that was a piece of cake to put together.

  44. LuAnn says:

    I got 88% with avg error of 14 miles. I think my biggest miss was W. Virginia. I did much better than I expected. I will have my children try it after school.

  45. Jordan (MamaBlogga) says:

    My first time I got 96% with an average error of 3 miles, but I was nursing the baby, so . . .
    (Okay, like Bethany pointed out, it’s more like it totally depends on which states you get first. I missed AR by about 5-6 mi and PA by about the same–who knew it was that far WEST? Anyway, if it gives you states on the edges of the country, I’m a lot more likely to get them perfect the first time than, say, the second time I played and it started me off with Kansas. Thanks. A. Lot.)

  46. HW says:

    The test isn’t very consistent…it gives you the states in a different order each time. It’s a lot easier to place Wyoming after one or two surrounding states are in than to place it down in the middle with no guides! I wish I could choose which order I did the states…then I’d do better!

  47. Trisha says:

    I scored 90% but I think this is a tricky game. I was an inch off and it marked an error for me…really?! Also, the hardest part is getting started because with no lines drawn on the map it is almost impossible to get your first state situated just right UNLESS you are given a state that is on the coast or borders. Towards the end even if you don’t know where the state is, you can figure it out because of how it is shaped. Overall I would say it isn’t the best judge of how well you know your states…if that makes you feel any better:) I have a hard time with the North Midwest (Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, etc.).

  48. Suki says:

    Very fun! I had to comment to tell a fun Iowa/Ohio story. My mom grew up in Iowa and when she was in her early 20s she moved briefly to Southern California. She was chatting with a girl who asked where she was from. My mom answered Iowa and the girl got a puzzled look on her face and then said, “Oh, out here we pronounce that Ohio”. That story became even more funny when I married a man from Ohio.

  49. Daiquiri says:

    I got an 84% on my first try. Who knew Rhode Island was so itty bitty? Not me! You’d think I would have done better considering the fact that I’ve LIVED in 9 different states.
    I’m totally going to go try it again to see if I can do better 🙂

  50. Beth S. says:

    I got a 90% the first time and after several more tries and getting New England memorized, I was able to get a 98% with a 3 mile error in 210 secs. This is quite addictive! I have to stop because my brain is smokin’! They get you on the first 3 or 4, especailly if they give you a tricky one like Wyoming or Colorado. Right in the middle of the big open West! Once you get a few in, it’s easier to see it as a puzzle (as long as you know the general vicinity)!

  51. Jennifer C says:

    I played 5 times. My highest was 96%. I think it makes a difference which order the states come in. Once I got several in place it became easier to place the rest. what is hard is when the first few are somewhere in the middle and you have to guess exactly where they go. This is definitely addicting.

  52. A&EMom says:

    I think the score may have a little something to do with what order you’re fed the states!
    96% with an average 9 mile error. My directionally superior hubby will be so proud!

  53. Amy says:

    You know it’s bad when you’re over 100 miles off on your home state! And it’s not like I live in Idaho, or one of those other land locked states – no, I’m in VIRGINIA – should have been pretty freaking obvious…guess not…woops!

  54. Alicia says:

    I started with two 90%s and the fifth try produced a 94% with an average error of six miles – they’re a tad picky when you’re dropping non-border states into an open map. Just sayin’.

  55. Jenni says:

    I nailed it 100%. But then I am a homeschooler who sings the US Geography song with her kids every. single. day.
    Previous to that, however, YES, I was abyssmal at geography. I thought Vermont was up by Colorado. Haha!

  56. Sarah at themommylogues says:

    Yikes. Well, 84% the first time, 96% the second. But I know what you mean, the areas I haven’t spent much time in were the hardest. Fortunately we did a lot of driving trips when I was growing up, and I liked to follow the map. If I tried a world quiz like that, I’d be in BIG trouble.

  57. Erica says:

    Thanks for the link! The first time I got an 82%, but since I can’t live with a B-, I took it again and got a 96%. The part that saved me was that it told you which state you were working with. I don’t know the shapes of states at all, beyond the obvious Texas and Illinois. Oh, and I have a problem with Washington and Oregon too, but I tell myself COW (California, Oregon, Washington, bottom to top.)
    Last month we were in Toronto and met a couple from England vacationing there, and we were talking about how big the US is. My parents made a concious effort when I was growing up to show us the US, but I’ve only been to the Northeast once or twice. There’s so much of the US, let alone the world, that I still haven’t seen.

  58. Libby Brill says:

    Alright, I just did it a second time and scored 94% and had a 24 mile avg error (as opposed to my 86% and 44 miles from the first time). I definitely think the order the states are given to you has a large impact on how well you do.

  59. Jennifer says:

    96% with an average error 7 miles! It was so frustrating to try to place random states in the middle of the country with nothing to guide. If you can get those you’re a REAL geography genius!

  60. Maribel says:

    Thanks for the link.
    I got a 92% with 12 Mile avg error.
    I’m from NY/NJ so the east is very easy for me…don’t ask me about the midwest states…LOL

  61. Sheila p. says:

    O.K. I am totally U.S. challenged….I had no clue where the New England states were and a couple I was on the wrong side of the map with, I got 32 out 0f 50 boy I am bad. I hate to admit it….

  62. Linds says:

    Well, I have never had to look at a map of the USA, because I live in the UK, and my score was 68% so I am not totally unimpressed. It is those straight lines which confuse me! I am going to conquer this and make sure I know where I am goign when I visit one day!

  63. Joelle says:

    That was a good brush-up activity for me. I scored 94% on my first try with average error of 9 miles. Not too bad, I guess. When I was a kid, my mom had a United States puzzle that she had me put together, and it didn’t have lines for any of the states so I guess that helped. It also helped to have driven through or to many of the states.

  64. Kellie says:

    I’m a Washingtonian and thought I’d offer up an Oregon vs. Washington tip. Oregon starts with an O, which is round on the top and bottom, because it is squished between Washington and California. On the other hand, Washington begins with a W, which if flat on top, as it sits below our flat border with Canada, the 49th parallel.

  65. Tonggu Momma says:

    I don’t believe all these high scores. You’ve got some brainiacs reading here. I ONLY scored as well as I did because I’ve lived in the south, New England, Mid-Atlantic and out west. And my sister spent 15 years in the mid-west. And my husband is from the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise… total zero.

  66. Sam says:

    what a fascinating test to set yourself!! I love it – had a go and got something like 66% – as a Brit I thought that wasn’t too bad!! I wonder if there is something similar with the British counties?

  67. AF says:

    I put Maryland where North Carolina is, but other than that I did pretty well. I knew Maryland wasn’t that far south, but couldn’t fit it in above Virginia and keep Delware straight. I’ve been to all those states. I should know better. Final score: 92% 11 miles.

  68. Sally T. says:

    Yes. I have trouble w/ the Dakotas, Iowa vs. Wisconsin & Minnesota, & where to put Connecticut. My fourth grader can probably do better than I can…

  69. SherrieB says:

    My 7th grade teacher gave us geography out the ying-yang – especially the states – I would have been very upset if I hadn’t scored decent, and her too!! I got a 92% my first try with an error of 11 miles – wow is that a tough test – I’ll have to keep the link for the future with my kids – thanks!!!

  70. sharon says:

    This was fun. My first try was 92% – but I live in the mid-Atlantic where some of the harder states are. My problem is the west – Colorado, Wyoming; there just isn’t enough information to judge by. Oh – and yes, I continually reverse Vermont and New Hampshire – I just can’t keep them straight

  71. Kimmy says:

    Cool link! First try was 82 % w/avg error 29 miles in 10 minutes; 2nd try 94% w/avg error 5 miles in under 6 minutes. I was in the ball park but couldn’t get my first 3 in the right position.

  72. Carol Busse says:

    I got a 78% right off, which I wasn’t proud of. I was getting better as I fit each state in correctly. My kids would probably do better at it than I did…at least the older ones anyway.
    Thanks for sharing the link.

  73. marian says:

    Thanks for the link. One of my kids will love this. I gave it one quick try and scored 90%, off an average of 11 miles. I think I could have done much better with a mouse– I’m terrible with this laptop touchpad!

  74. Melissa says:

    90% on the first try. I’m rather disappointed because I like geography!! I’m impressed that I got New England mostly correct (I’m from Northwest Arkansas) but I probably got them right because I treated it like a puzzle. I can’t wait to let my 1st grader try it out.

  75. aSprinkling says:

    I actually did better than I thought I would. I did it twice and got a 94% and a 92%. I think that I know where a decent number of the states are because I have visited or driven through many of them at least once. New England is definitely the hardest for me, though. It helps that some of them fit nicely into the curves of the coast. 🙂

  76. Shoebee says:

    Got a 96% with mile error of 6miles. Not bad. It was my first try. I goofed with the first 2 states. I had the general area, but just far enough off that it said I was wrong. Growing up, my folks and I would drive cross country. So I think that helps a lot.

  77. Tara says:

    Okay, here’s the problem. When they start you out on the square western states, you have nowhere to guess from! When they start you out with TX or CA at least you know where to start! I am from Iowa. I lived there for 20 something years. They gave me Iowa as my first piece once and I was off by some 70something miles!

  78. Vicky says:

    88% the first time, 90% the second time. My biggest problem was getting the states in the exact spot when they’re in the middle and nothing else is there yet (i.e. Wyoming, Nebraska). I’d be really close, but off by a couple of “miles” and they’d say I was wrong. Other than that, my only problem was Delaware the first time. I put it up in New Hampshire. Oops!
    Fun link though! Thanks!

  79. Heather says:

    I got an 88 on the first try. Although, I have to be honest and tell you that if I had gotten them in a slightly different order, it would have been much harder in the midwest and New England. Given the order I had though, it was just like putting a puzzle together…so, I think I sort of cheated. Sorry 🙂

  80. Jennifer says:

    First try – 84%, 42 perfect, 22 miles error. Yes, New England got me, too! I’m from the IL, IN, and TN. You can’t get Iowa and Ohio mixed up — they do farming in Iowa! 🙂

  81. Kara says:

    Fun game! I got an 88, avg. error 35 miles. My college roommate is from Boston, and when her friends were driving to visit her in Illinois, they were stunned to find Indiana…thought they’d be moving right from Ohio to IL. Oops!

  82. Dionna says:

    I scored 78%. But I don’t think it’s fair. Several states I was only a smidge off – so I obviously knew they went there but you have to be very precise on your accuracy!

  83. Tree Climbing Mom says:

    84%, but I should confess that I treated it like a puzzle and paid more attention to state shapes rather than names. I’d be totally up the creek if you gave me an unmarked map and asked me to point to Minnesota. Thanks for the link!

  84. Christine says:

    As an American Studoes major who went to school in New England, grew up in California, has relatives in Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania and LOVED her map of the United States puzzle at 8 years old (the year I did a cross-country road trip…nerd alarm bells should be ringing loudly right now), I got 90% on my first try, average error of 18 miles and 45 of 50 correct in 443 seconds. My biggest error was putting Rhode Island in Delaware’s place. What can I say…they’re both so tiny!

  85. Lady in a Smalltown says:

    I got an 84 with an average of 17 miles off. Partly because using my laptop touch pad sometimes makes me drop a state before I mean to, like Alaska. I can do everything east of and bordering the Mississippi without too much error (grew up in VT), but get me into those squared off states and forget it. States should have recognizable shapes.
    As for your Oregon and Washington problem, I learned some mnemonics:
    (going north) CA, OR, WA: first letter spells COW
    (going east) CA, AZ, NM, TX spells CAN’T
    (going south) MN, IA, MO, AR, LA spells MIMIAL, I am pretty sure it isn’t a word, but I never forgot it

  86. RLR says:

    I’m feeling kind of nerdy – 92%, average error 26 miles. However, I get the opportunity to attend a yearly conference for my job – I’ve been to California, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Utah, and more. Traveling to places helps cement it all for me. Plus, the more states you have on the map, the easier it gets. I’m going to put this link on my blog, too – thanks for sharing it!

  87. Cherissa says:

    This was fun! Thanks for the link. I got a 90% on my first try…. but I think a lot of your score depends on which states you are given first. If you know the first ones well, then the later ones can just fit in like a puzzle.

  88. Erin says:

    I got a 92% with 18 miles average error the first time. Of course between tending to my toddler and letting the dog out, etc. It took me 891 seconds-ha! I’m from Colorado, and I totally agree that it probably makes a big difference which states you get in the beginning…my first two were Pennsylvania and Kentucky–go figure! Not so great with either the South or the East when there aren’t any other outlines to follow!

  89. Carrie says:

    I got 94% right off the bat with an average error of 14 miles. I’ve lived in the west all my life so have been flummoxed by the itty bitty eastern states many times in the past. I think it was the recent presidential election that had me working out which state was which and where it was… 🙂

  90. Kristen Penn says:

    I did pretty good with the east coast and southern states…(i live in VA) but when it came to all those square states out west….it was a guessing game! thanks for the link though it was a nice distraction at work for a few minutes!

  91. Leanne says:

    68% and my average miles error was waaay up in the hundreds. I know I don’t even live in the country but it just seems like one of those things I should know.

  92. Hannah says:

    First try: 80% The east coast is hard, but the worst was the Midwest. How am I supposed to know exactly where South Dakota should go on a blank map? Most of the states I did place correctly were either distinctly shaped, or I’ve lived in them, or I could see the shape of the ridges in another state. Utah was the worst… (Sorry all ya Utahians)

  93. MommyAmy says:

    Thanks for posting it! That was great fun!
    I got 84% with 32 miles average error and 42 out of 50 perfect.
    I’m originally from Oregon, and I didn’t realize until I got to college outside of Boston that I was from, “One of those big square states out West.” lol

  94. Charlotte says:

    I am an Australian, never been to the US and I got 7 wrong, two of which were just a little to the left or right. I used to play a PC game that matched US states and capitals ( back when I was young) and I guess a lot of it stayed in my head somewhere.

  95. Lois Niss says:

    My first try was 94, ave error of 8 miles. Pretty good!
    PS – I did study geography in college, but that was 20 years ago.
    PSS – this is my first comment on a blog.

  96. Cydney says:

    My best score was my first try at 88%. What boggles my mind about New England is a couple of those states are so small I am suprised they can even be classified as a state.

  97. Tari says:

    first try 93% with 3 states off, second try 100%. but i grew up in the NE and have a midwestern husband, who has spent years saying things to me like “how can you not know IL is next to IN?” and so i finally learned.

  98. Fairly Odd Mother says:

    86% but I got all of New England perfectly! It’s the midwest I screw up. I always think Kentucky is a southern state but it really isn’t, and the “MidWest” is really more “east” than “mid”, IMO.

  99. Stretch Mark Mama says:

    Ha! I was up until midnight last night, writing a post about geography resources, and YOU KNOW, playing several of the games I am recommending. There are some fun ones out there! Hopefully I’ll get it done for WFMW. 🙂
    I am a MESS with New England. All those little states! I get the Colorado area messed up as well, oh and the Southwest and I guess I switch AL/MS around too. 🙂
    But I DON’T screw up Ohio, b/c I used to live there. But I have noticed that many, many people think I’m from Iowa. It’s a brain thing.

  100. MM says:

    But I’m a geography-by-emotional-intuition kind of girl, a trait which, you can imagine, my husband finds especially adorable on long road trips.
    LOL! Love this. My husband find me adorable in these ways too. I think I need to remind him how adorable he thinks I am. 🙂

  101. Britney says:

    I’ve seen another website where you can choose the states you want to put in first. It’s much easier than being given a state and having to know where it goes!
    My first try was a 90% with 18 mile average error. I’m pretty impressed with myself! BUT my disclaimer is that I teach 8th graders, so I get a good review every year when I help them study for their states and capitals test. 🙂

  102. Minnesotamom says:

    I always get mixed up in the middle west states (Utah, Nevada, etc.), but I think I was most off with Arkansas and Connecticut (I got Arkansas and Missouri mixed up). Still, I got a 92% my first try avg error 14 miles, which wasn’t bad. I think I may have a new addiction…

  103. Jennifer says:

    I thought I did pretty good but came up with 78% average error was 67 miles. This was hard but I’ve always been geographically challenged. When I am lost and call my hubby and he tells me to head south I ask him if south is right or left:)
    Weekly Giveaways at The Mom Chronicles!

  104. Anna says:

    I received a 90% the first time because I was off an average of 32 miles on the placement of 5 states. Note, my placement actually overlapped the red area where it belonged. How in the world could you exactly place a state in the middle of the US without any landmarks. I think 32 miles off is just fine.

  105. Alison says:

    I am totally the same way with Oregon and Washington, even though my aunt and uncle have always lived there. I just always think Oregon should be on top! And then that’s how I remember Washington is on top…weird! I don’t have a problem with Ohio and Connecticut however, since I used to live in CT and I now live in Ohio. But the western states…EEK, I get them all messed up CONSTANTLY. I feel your pain. It’s alright, you are not alone =D

  106. Amy says:

    “And it always surpises me that Illinois touches Kentucky; it just doesn’t seem like it should, you know?”
    You are hilarious!
    And, 100% correct!

  107. Alison says:

    PS, I got an 88% but I had a lot of the states CLOSE to where they needed to be, but it said it was not right! I think they need to give a little more leeway, its especially hard at the beginning with the states in the middle, how are you supposed to get them almost EXACTLY where they go?? =D

  108. Rachel says:

    Fun! I got an 86% on my first try – and I think I’ll let that grade stand. I figure I can be a B student 🙂 I will however, post it on my blog and see how my own friends and family do!
    I did better once I had more states to compare the locations to. Plopping that first state down in the middle of the country, I was bound to be off-target, even if I lived there, there was nothing next to it. ANYWAY, i’m pretty impressed with your 90%

  109. Jen says:

    That was too much fun! I got a 90% on my first try with an avg. error of 22 miles. I thought I would do worse than that. I think it might help to live in the midwest and to travel both ways!

  110. Diana says:

    I’m Australian and I managed a 64% (however, with an average error of 157 miles…). I think you’re right about areas of familiarity thogh – I have visited California, Oregon & New York & we studied the American Civil War in high school so I’ve got most of the East Coast down pat (thanks, in large part, to an amazing History teacher who made us learn the relevant Geography too!). Everything in-between West Coast & East Coast though? Not much of a clue – turned into a bit of a jigsaw puzzle towards the end – just kept trying to match the shapes…

  111. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    You’re right. New England is the worst, although I suspect people who’ve lived there would do much better.
    I scored 86% with a 23 mile error average. I chalk it up to all those election nights in the newsroom, staring at the electoral college map.

  112. Maria says:

    I got an 86% the first time — my problem was New England of course – and then out west because when the map was open I just had to guess where to stick Colorado and Navada (The first two given to me) I know their general location but it sure doesn’t give you much error room.

  113. Kori says:

    I got a 94% on my first try with 12 avg. error!! The only one I really missed was Wayoming… I tried to stick it in Colorado’s spot… the others I was off by a couple of centimeters!!!

  114. margalit says:

    92% with an average error of 11 miles. I knew where everything went but some of the early attempts were off but a few miles.
    I’m good at geography tho, and can do this with Africa, Europe, and Asia. South American is my personal bugaboo.

  115. Anne says:

    I’m going to go try this, doubt I will score 90%.
    I found you blog because I found a rock in my washer today – compliments of my youngest. I’ve seen your link on Therinrins blog, so just stopping by to say hello.

  116. Amy from Occupation: Mommy says:

    Oh, thanks for a fun post-AI activity! I played twice, first time 90%, second time 92%. I live in Pennsylvania, so I actually was OK with the northeast. I think the western states are much harder. They are all so rectangular with very little in the way of clues (coastline, rivers…). And I know what you mean about Kentucky. What’s with that?

  117. Julie says:

    Thanks for posting this! My six year old son is fascinated with the states and capitals. He got 45 out of 50, with an average error of 17 miles. WAY better than I could do!

  118. StumbleBee says:

    that was a wee bit depressing. now i know never to appear on “are you smarter than a 5th grader”
    i will share this with my step-son, he may enjoy the almost video game appeal.

  119. Judith says:

    LOVED this!
    Did 90%. Like others, had the most trouble with unfamiliar places (nailed New England and East/ Southeast/ North/ Northwest/ etc. ) I had NO idea that Colorado was so far south! LOL I was also lucky with Missouri because it had to go in before the states I know around it.

  120. The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino says:

    FUNNY!!!! I’m glad I’m not the only one.
    There is an AWESOME children’s book called “The Little Man in the Map” which has menemonics to help you remember all 50 states.

    They’re very memorable; for instance, Michigan looks like a dog getting ready to grab a large mitten. My kids, ages 8 and 6 (who knew very few states) and I (who didn’t know many more) sat down with this book and by the end could place nearly all 50 states! We reviewed once more, and then we could do all of them! Not bad for 30-45 minutes worth of work!

  121. Lindsay says:

    96%…I got Rhode Island 99 miles off and then South Dakota was early on in the game and I was some 200 miles off. Considering my 7th graders are doing a state capital unit and I have been quizing for a week…I should know it well.

  122. canadacole says:

    76% on the first try. New England is my best. I made a couple of “oops, I knew that” mistakes and several were very close together, so I knew generally where they went, just not specifically. And who can find Rhode Island anyway? Anyway, this Canadian girl will now be playing happily on this all day. Thanks!

  123. Barb @ A Chelsea Morning says:

    Thanks a lot for getting me completely hooked on this thing, Shannon. I refuse to stop until I hit 100%. I’ve lived all over New England and still have to stop and think about how the states fit together, especially the ridiculously tiny ones.
    Alaska and Hawaii, however, are a piece of cake. LOL

  124. JD in Canada says:

    That was so much fun!! Thank you so much for the link. I’m from Canada, but we studied U.S. geography in Grade 6, and I loved it. I memorized the states in alphabetical order, and I can still remember them. I did pretty good, 86% on the first try, within 37 miles. The states around Maryland mess me up a tiny bit, but otherwise it wasn’t too bad.
    Thanks again for the link!!

  125. edj says:

    I’m hopeless at American geography, and my excuse was always that I grew up in Canada. I can place those provinces just fine, thank you 😉 But you’re right–geography is always easier if you’ve BEEN to a place. No wonder I get all those east and midwest places mixed up.
    The west coast is pretty easy though. Only 3 states. How hard is that? 😉
    (Why yes I am from Oregon/Washington. And the hubs is from Calif. How could you tell?)

  126. Mab says:

    The first middle state you have to put in is what makes it so hard…
    I was born and raised in California and now live in Oregon- just south of Washington 🙂 but I have traveled in 49 of 50 states [I am missing Alaska] which probably helped.
    Got a 94% with a 6 miles average error in 319 seconds [I have a cold and must pause to sneeze 🙂 ]
    Very fun!!!

  127. Vera says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m SO glad I’m not the only person who gets Ohio and Iowa mixed up – I thought I was crazy 🙂 I got an 86% with an average error of 30 miles – it was those middle of the country states with no reference point (other state, ocean, Canada) to help me place it in just the right spot that messed me up… AND THAT’S WHERE I LIVE! Oops.

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