Music Program: Great American Puzzle

I have used this program with 3rd graders, but it could be used with several different grade levels.

SCENE – Map starts blank – with a large piece of white felt hung on the wall.

Speaking Parts:

SAL – Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to our great American Puzzle! We are going to tour this big and wonderful country of ours! See this map we made? Isn’t it awesome?!

SAM – Hey! That doesn’t look much like a map to me!

SAL – Ah ha!  I knew we could trick ya, Sam! You see, the map isn’t finished yet! As a matter of fact, it’s just begun! Watch!

(She blows whistle. Narrator 2, carrying Northeastern piece of map enters with Narrator 1. As Narrator 1 recites lines, Narrator 2 tapes map section in place on outline, then says lines.)


If you go to visit the Northeast, you’ll find
Factory and mill and dock and mine.
Men and women everyday
Working hard the American way!


A long time before there were cars & trucks
Shippers had help to earn their bucks.
They’d tie their boat to a mule.
That way they’d never run out of fuel!


SAL – You see, Sam, each part of our country has great natural resources, which have shaped our country into what it is today.

SAM – Neat!

SAL – Now it’s time to place another piece of our great American Puzzle. It’s the SOUTH!  Do you know what great natural resource comes from the Southeast?

SAM – Um…let me see…uh…oh, I know! Disney World!

SAL – I said natural resource, Sam! They can’t be man made – or MOUSE made!

SAM – Oh, you mean cotton?!

SAL – That’s right! Cotton, it is! (She blows whistle. Narrator 4, carrying Southeastern piece of map enters with Narrator 3. As Narrator 3 recites lines, Narrator 4 tapes map section in place on outline, then says lines.)


First we plant the cotton
Then we make it grow.
Its beautiful white blossoms
Seem like fields of summer snow.


Then they pick the cotton
Under the summer sun.
Then it’s ginned and baled
And sent away to be spun!


SAM – Well, that map sure is growing now! This is fun! Let’s bring in the next part of the puzzle.

SAL – O.K.  How about the Southwestern states? Now where are those guys? I just saw them a moment ago… (She blows whistle. Narrator 6, carrying Southwestern piece of map enters with Narrator 5. As Narrator 5 recites lines, Narrator 6 tapes map section in place on outline, then says lines.)


Cowboys and ranchers, we live up to those words,
Riding the plains, rounding up all the herds!


We heat our irons so the cattle we can brand.
Our livestock is famous all over the land! Yahoo!


SAL – And now, here come visitors from our great American “breadbasket,” smack dab in the center of the country! (She blows whistle. Narrator 7 tapes Midwestern map section in place on outline, then says lines.)


Through the center of our country lies a broad and fertile plain;
There the sun and rain and soil bring forth potatoes and grain.
Wheat, corn, barley, oats and rye are removed from their plant beds.
Then they are finely ground into flour, which are baked into bread!


SAL – And now for the Mountain West – where the Native American tribes cherished and cared for the land. (She blows whistle. Narrator 9, carrying Mountain Western piece of map enters with Narrator 8.  As Narrator 8 recites lines, Narrator 9 tapes map section in place on outline, then says lines.)


In the Mountain West part of our land,
Native Americans made their way.
Working and playing in the hot dry sun,
Each and every day.


That was the life of a Native American,
As they made blanket, basket and jar.
They did their work with skill and pride-
America’s first citizens they were!


SAM – (pointing) Look… the map is almost done!

SAL – Almost!  There’s just ONE section left – the great Pacific West!  (She blows whistle.  Narrator 11, carrying Pacific Western piece of map enters with Narrator 10. As Narrator 10 recites lines, Narrator 11 tapes map section in place on outline, then says lines.)


Greetings to all who have come here today,
And best wishes to all the rest.
From all the wood choppers
And the log rollers of our great Pacific West.


And don’t forget our long and winding
Rivers flowing through,
The Yakima, the Klickitat,
And the Columbia River, too!

SAL – Well, there it is, ladies and gentlemen!  The good old U.S. of A and all of its natural resources!

MEGAN – Hey, wait a minute!  Don’t you think you just MIGHT have forgotten something?

SAM – Oh dear!  It’s Alaska and Hawaii!  How could you have forgotten to include our two newest states?!

MEGAN – Just because they’re unattached to the rest of the states doesn’t mean we should leave them out, you know!

SAL – Oh, uh, absolutely!  Right you are! Now, you just go put them right up there with the rest of our puzzle. (Alaska and Hawaii added to map) Whew! Well, now that we’ve taken care of THOSE two, how do you think our map looks NOW, Sam?

SAM – Terrific! Well, ALMOST terrific!

SAL – “Almost” terrific? Why “almost”? The puzzle’s all together now, and no pieces are missing!

SAM – Oh, the puzzle’s just fine; it’s the MUSIC that needs something more.

SAL – What do you mean?

SAM – Well, we had a special song about each region, and that was really nice. But now we need a song to celebrate the whole thing!

SAL – I have the PERFECT song in mind! Listen!

See also

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6 thoughts on “Music Program: Great American Puzzle”

  1. Thank you so much for posting these! I have to do a grade level program with each grade (K-5th) and a lot of times I have to write my own. This will save me a LOT of time in planning next year.

  2. Lindsey Swansen

    I just found this website. WOW! What an amazing resource!! I will definitely use all of these songs. Thank you very much! =)

  3. I am planning on trying this program out this spring with grades k-5. What do you use for accompaniment for these songs; Do you make up your own piano accompaniment based on the chords?
    Thank you!

  4. Janeece Downs

    This is a great site! Thank you for putting this together. I am planning on doing this program “This is America” for my 2nd-3rd grade concert. But I wanted to let you know of an issue that arose as I was putting this together. One of my 2nd grade classes was singing Cotton needs pickin’. A student who was practicing at home was heard by the parent. I received an email from the parent regarding the context of this song. “having a (nearly?) all white group of kids sing a song that celebrates picking cotton (by kids, nonetheless) is culturally insensitive. My preliminary research seems to point to this song being written about blacks hand picking cotton during the Jim Crow era, a time post-slavery when blacks were heavily exploited and forced to continue picking cotton. Regardless of its origins, a song about picking cotton is not appropriate for kids to sing, especially a group of white students in a white school district. In fact, the singing of this particular song has been met with controversy in other schools ” The parent shared the links with me and there have been issues with it’s performance.
    This parent is a sociology professor and teaches classes about racism. I, and I’m sure like yourself, never intended to celebrate and make light of something that was demeaning to any individual. I thought this was a great cross curricular program that would allow for us to talk about many things in our music class. I am still planning on doing the program, but am just leaving that song out now.
    My only reason for sharing is so that you, and others, are aware of the potential for concern.

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