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Where Do the People in Utah Live?

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 1 Objective 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 60 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication


Lynn Paquin
Candy Peters


Enduring understanding: The physical geography of Utah influences where people live.

Essential question:

  1. How do the physical features and landforms of Utah affect human settlement?

This lesson will look at population concentrations in the State of Utah. Students will discuss the physical features that are part of various population centers and look for effects that those features may have on population.


  • Utah population density maps
  • Census information showing population numbers by county and city
  • A Utah map that shows county boarders

Background for Teachers


Most of the people in Utah live in the Great Basin. The most populous areas in the state are along the benches of the Wasatch front. The desert areas and Colorado Plateau areas have very small population centers.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students should be familiar with the three main landform regions of Utah. They should know and understand terms such as population and density.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to identify where the high and low population centers in Utah are located. Students will be able to give plausible effects of geography on where the people in Utah live.

Instructional Procedures



  1. Invitation to learn: Use Google Earth to locate your school and classroom. Let students choose a few other Utah landmarks to locate with Google Earth. Some examples might be: the State Capitol, Zion National Park, The Great Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats, sand dunes, and Moab.
  2. Using the population maps and county outline map, show students where the population centers of Utah are. Look at information for the county you live in and ask several students to suggest locations for examination (maybe areas where relatives or friends live). Discuss what landform regions these population areas are a part of. Guide students to relationships between high population in areas where water is available, soil supports growth of food and grazing of animals, and land supports construction. Compare this to areas of very low population where the above mentioned things are not available.
  3. Conclude by having students complete the Decision Making activity determining which of the regions would be the best place to live.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

High ability learners may want to spend additional time investigating populations of different areas of Utah. Bookmark websites on class computers so that they may engage in these investigations.

Assessment Plan

No formal assessment is planned for this lesson.

Created: 06/25/2009
Updated: 02/05/2018