My Updated Map of Panem, The Hunger Games Trilogy

Map of Panem www.hungergameslessons.com
Newly updated map using information from www.thecapitol.pn
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 Little by little, Suzanne Collins paints a picture of each district for readers. Some may have more details, but each one has distinct characteristics if you do a close reading, which is why this is a great exercise to assign students after reading each book in the trilogy. They will practice map reading, research current industrial areas of North America, and perhaps even have a debate with classmates as to which area is more plausible for each district. All of these exercises will strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills (using both inductive and deductive reasoning). Plus, it's kind of fun, don't you think?

When we finished reading Mockingjay, my students and I realized that our maps of Panem needed adjustments.

Another Map of Panem www.hungergameslessons.com
Map of Panem - Tracee Orman - created Jan. 2011
I try not to share my views until after students have shared theirs because I want them to use their own reasoning and logic, not mine.  But, there are so many maps out there that aren't really based on context clues or logic, so I guess I'd rather them come across some that are (there are quite a few good ones, too, like this one by aimmyarrowshigh).

Even though I do feel confident about my rationale regarding the districts, still I question the exact placement of districts on my map. For starters, what does Panem look like? We know the landmass of North America has changed due to "encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land" (THG p. 18).  So any map is pure speculation based on what we think the oceans have devoured and the war and disasters left untouched.  I tried to place my districts in areas that I believe would still be above sea level, however.

And I do believe that as far as landmass goes, the districts are going to be relatively small. District 12 was the smallest, with roughly 8,000 people. District 11 was one of the largest, but probably not larger than 100,000 or so. We have to remember that much of humanity had been wiped out after the natural and man-made disasters and brutal war.  And logistically, there's not the means or manpower to sustain a much larger population, nor to create and maintain thousands of miles of fencing around each district. (And they are all fenced in. So, I'm pretty sure they didn't build these Great Walls of China there.) Therefore, the districts are represented as dots rather than having large territorial borders.

Map of Panem www.hungergameslessons.com
Another map with District 1 closer to Vegas.
*SPOILER ALERT - Do not read further if you have not finished the trilogy.*
In my rationale, I've abbreviated the novels: The Hunger Games (THG), Catching Fire (CF), and Mockingjay (MJ)
*As of 8-31-11, I've updated my descriptions to include NEW information from www.TheCapitol.pn about each district. The graph below shows the industries by district. I had all correct except #6; #5 and #9 were mixed around (I had #9 as power & #5 as grain). I also used information from the district seals, as referenced in this blog post.

District Industries www.hungergameslessons.com
A list of the district industries! TheCapitol.pn
Capitol - We know the Capitol is in the Rocky Mountains. We know that district 2 is the nearest district to the Capitol (from MJ, p. 192). We also know that Capitol residents have a unique accent that is different from any other district (including 2 - Katniss commented on Thread’s accent in CF, saying it wasn’t like the Capitol’s or district 12’s. We learn in MJ that Peacekeepers come from district 2). So, because of its glamor and celebrity-status, I placed the Capitol in Aspen, Colorado. I'm not sure about the different accent, but who knows–maybe they developed it over time.

District 1 - Luxury: District 1 produces luxury items for the Capitol. But Katniss also mentions diamond mining. Canada is a much more realistic location for diamond mining than the U.S.  I placed it in its current location, near Calgary because this area seems to have a richer source of diamond mining nearby, plus it's not too far away from civilization. My second choice would be the L.A., California area or perhaps even  Las Vegas. TheCapitol.pn released the district 1 seal with a castle on it. I can't think of any places in North America with castles, except the glitzy kind in L.A..

District 2 - Masonry: After reading Mockingjay, I believe district 2  is near Colorado Springs. We learn that it is presented as the nation's stone quarries (masonry), but in fact produces weapons and trains Peacekeepers. This area of Colorado is not only home to the Air Force Academy, but also to Lockheed-Martin, which would have the capability to produce high-tech weaponry. I think NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), which lies within Cheyenne Mountain just outside Colorado Springs, served as a model for the “Nut” of district 2, which was the Capitol’s center for defense. Every description of the Nut (like the avalanche paths running down the side and the entrances that are set deep within the mountain - p. 201-202, MJ) seem to also describe NORAD/Cheyenne Mountain.There's also a comment mentioning that district 2 is actually several little villages/settlements. Colorado ski towns in the vicinity seem to gel with this location for me.

District 3 - Technology: CF’s Beetee and Wiress reign from district 3, as did the boy who wires the launch mines to protect the Career supplies in THG. They are described with almost an Asian look, and extremely smart, especially with electronics, wires, and any sort of technology (CF p. 226). Their district bread is square-shaped, like a computer chip. It makes sense that they would reside from Silicon Valley (San Jose/San Francisco Bay area). Another idea was Arizona, which has a rich supply of copper mines for wire production. One thing makes me question these locations, however: Katniss mentions that district 3 also makes automobiles. Perhaps district 3 is actually in Mexico? 

District 4 - Fishing: Because fishing is district 4’s industry and its bread is seaweed-tinted, its logical location is near the ocean. I previously thought the Gulf of Mexico was a plausible place for district 4, but the more I thought about the damage to sea life in the Gulf (even before the oil spill, there’s a dead zone in the Gulf–a lack of oxygen to sustain aquatic life–caused by a run-off of nitrogen and phosphorous from the Mississippi River. Fertilizers used in farming is one of the biggest contributors; sewer and animal waste is another).  Another consideration is the characteristics of Finnick: he is not entirely dark complected, has bronze-colored hair, and sea-green eyes (CF p. 212). If he were native to a warm climate, his skin would naturally be darker. Sure, he could be an exception. But all the other district people (who are physically described) have very distinct looks based on their region (like Chaff and Seeder, who are from 11, with brown eyes. "Only her golden brown eyes mark her from another district." CF p. 214). So I looked further north for a plausible area for 4. The New England area is out because Katniss specifically says there is nothing past district 12 except the district 13 ruins and wilderness (THG p. 83). So I looked into the Pacific side and decided the Seattle/Vancouver area would be the best location for the fishing industry. I've decided to go with my first instincts and switch district 4 to Mexico. But NOT the Gulf side. It makes more sense to place it on the Baja side. I think (even before the oil spill) the "dead zone" farmers have caused in the Gulf with their chemical run-offs has been too damaging for sustaining the sea life.

Older Map of Panem www.hungergameslessons.com
Panem - Sept. 2010 - Tracee Orman
District 5 - Power: The only clue we have to district 5 is that Foxface is from there. That does not leave us with anything, really. Because we now know it generates power, I'm transferring my notes on district 9 (what I previously believed to be the district to generate power) to district 5: This location could be anywhere, but most likely is located near a water source, as most power plants are. I chose to place this one on the Mississippi River. My second choice was for the electricity to be generated by a wind farm, in which I would place it near Cheyenne, Wyoming, because of its ideal conditions for wind and proximity to the Capitol for supply/demand. If there was any indication that the power plant was a nuclear facility, I would place 5 further east, as a majority of those plants are located in the eastern half of the United States. I actually live near a nuclear facility in Illinois that is on the Mississippi River. Update: With the recent district 5 poster revealing nuclear power, I would probably move 5 further east. Look at this map of currently active nuclear power plants in the U.S.. Bet you didn't know we had that many, huh!?

District 6 - Transportation: So, I originally thought district 6 was the producer of pharmaceuticals. Even though we now know it is transportation, I still contend the location needs to be in the East (which works for transportation) because Bonnie & Twill jump off the train leaving district 8 on its way to 6, then walk the rest of the way to 12 (CF, p. 146). I have 8 near Chicago. Chicago is also a big transportation-hub city, so 8 and 6 could still be near my originally placed locations. Washington D.C., home to Amtrak and Union Station seems plausible, as well. My only drawback is that Katniss says there isn't anything beyond district 12. So, I believe because of its proximity to Detroit (Motor City, baby!), Toledo, Ohio, seems logical to me. It is a transportation haven that runs along three major interstate highways, has mass transit bus services, and provides passenger railway service via Amtrak. I also thought Cleveland would be a good city for district 6, but since Toledo was just a bit closer to Detroit, I went with it. Update: The district 6 poster reveals the two major forms of transportation for district 6 as trains and hovercrafts (I think it's a hovercraft in the picture, anyway). And district 3 supposedly makes cars (referenced in THG), so I think I might need to adjust the location of 6 to the D.C. area. Which means 12 probably has to go a little further south than where I have it.

District 7 - Lumber: Lumber is district 7’s industry. While in America the Pacific Northwest seems ideal, I think in Panem, the Capitol would look for the area with the most to strip and exploit for as long as possible. Therefore, the plentiful forests in Canada might be more plausible. Ontario has the best mix of deciduous and conifers that would be necessary to sustain the Capitol’s needs. Yet, British Columbia's towering forests is a very close second for the location of district 7. OK, I've gone back to my old opinion of the Pacific Northwest for district 7. It just feels right to place it there.

District 8 - Textiles: Textile manufacturing. Parts of Chicago fit the description of a place with all buildings and little to no grass. It also has numerous textile manufacturers, "chilly" weather, and is a reasonable distance from district 12 for Bonnie and Twill to travel to.

District 9 - Grain: Katniss said one of the districts had stinky refineries (CF, p. 71), and she wasn't referring to district 8. I grew up in the Midwest near corn sweetener and cereal factories that stink! So my NEW guess is that district 9 is near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is/was home to ADM Corn Sweeteners, Quaker Oats, National Oats, and General Mills factories. Anyone who has driven through CR (and you can include Clinton, Iowa into the mix, as well) knows how badly it smells. Because Kansas and North Dakota both lead the nation in wheat production, Iowa is located close enough to both states to refine wheat, as well as utilizing its own corn production, as well (which IS a grain, though many seem to think it's a vegetable).
 This district was, perhaps, the hardest to place. We don't get to know any tributes from nine except the boy from the 74th Games who grabbed the orange backpack the same time as Katniss, then is killed by Clove. In CF, there isn't even a mention of district 9 except that both tributes die the first day. She only mentions the fields of wheat in Catching Fire once when they were on the victory tour going from district to district: "...fields of wheat, stinking refineries." It doesn't seem to be in order, though, because she mentions a "glimpse of the sea" (district 4), then "towering forests" (district 7), "ugly factories" (not sure which one...could be 3, 8, or 10 perhaps), then the wheat (which we know is 9) and stinking refineries (which must be either 3, 8, or 10, as well because then they go to districts 1 and 2 after this and they were already in district 11). So, which district would most likely have refineries? Ugly factories? (I say district 8 the ugly factories; perhaps district 3 has metal refineries?)

District 10 - Livestock: Livestock/Cattle production. I believe Texas seems to be the leader in cattle/beef production; the location I chose is King Ranch, near Corpus Cristi, which is one of the world’s largest ranches. My second choice would be Missouri or Kansas, since we have to consider the need for dairy production, as well.

District 11 - Agriculture: We know district 11 is one of the largest districts and it produces food for Panem. Rue worked in the orchards and Katniss commented on how much warmer it was than district 12. Georgia is known for its peaches and would be warmer than the West Virginia/Appalachian Mountain area of district 12, so I placed it in the city of Atlanta. Besides, doesn't this look like the description of district 11's justice building (with its covered terraces)?

District 12 - Mining: Industry is coal and location is within the Appalachian Mountain range. It does have cold winters, so West Virginia seems to fit for the location. Plus, it works with the location of district 13. Note: The movie is filmed in North Carolina; perhaps District 12 is just a little bit further southeast. The area around West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina seems ideal.

Older Map of Panem www.hungergameslessons.com
Panem - June 2010 - T.Orman
District 13 - Previous Defense for the Capitol: District 13 was the defense facility/nuclear development for the Capitol before the first rebellion. After the rebellion when it abandoned the other districts, it went underground, using an existing facility and expanding on it to sustain life. Katniss says the existing facility was used for a refuge for government leaders in time of war or a last resort for humanity if life above ground became unlivable. One facility near the Appalachian Mountains that fits this description is “The Rock,” or Raven Rock Military (or Mountain) Complex. It is a military Command Center for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and located all underground.

*How to cite this source:

Orman, Tracee. "My Updated Map of Panem, The Hunger Games Trilogy." Hunger Games Lessons. Blogger. 13 Jan. 2011. Web. [Add today's date or date you accessed information here.] <http://www.hungergameslessons.com/2011/01/my-updated-map-of-panem-hunger-games.html>


Classroom Materials

You can purchase the 25-page activity packet for your students here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Map-of-Panem-Arena-and-Capitol-Activities
It includes handouts for each book in the trilogy, sample maps of Panem, and arena and Capitol map projects.

This activity is included in my Hunger Games trilogy shipped CD and Mockingjay shipped CD. Unfortunately, it is too large to fit in my other units or in the digital download units.

References are to the Hunger Games trilogy series by author Suzanne Collins, published by Scholastic Press.
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
©2008, ISBN 978-0-439-02352-1
Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
©2009, ISBN 978-0-439-02349-1
Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
©2010, ISBN 978-0-439-02351-1
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