Basic 4: Grand Divisions


In the next few years, you will learn a lot about why the state of Tennessee was formed and how it was created.

Before you get into all that, you should start by learning about which part of the state in which you live.

Tennessee is a pretty big state. Within Tennessee, there are three “Grand Divisions“–East, Middle and West.

East Tennessee

East Tennessee

If you live in East Tennessee, you live in a section of the state that has big mountains and deep valleys.

Most of the roads in East Tennessee are not straight lines, because they have to go around so many hills and mountains.

Hawkins County

The biggest cities in East Tennessee are Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Here’s a photograph taken in Hawkins County of East Tennessee. See what we mean about hills and valleys?

Clingman’s Dome

A lot of people vacation in the mountains of East Tennessee.

One thing that they like to visit is Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the state.

West Tennessee

West Tennessee

If you live in West Tennessee, you probably aren’t used to hills and mountains. West Tennessee is mostly flat, with a lot of farms.

Here is a field in Dyer County, which is in West Tennessee.

See how flat parts of West Tennessee are?

Beale Street in Memphis


The biggest city in West Tennessee is Memphis, at the southwestern corner of the state.

Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee has some flat land, but it also has hills and mountains.

Downtown Nashville

The biggest city in Middle Tennessee is Nashville.

A view from a hilltop near the Natchez Trace, in Middle Tennessee

Nashville is also the capital of Tennessee. This means it is where the leaders of Tennessee’s state government meet, make laws, and decide how to spend state government’s money (more on that later!)

Click here to learn about rivers.