We spent a good two weeks on this unit of study. I thought we would move through it faster, but we were in no rush and there was so much to talk about. We are reading lots of books, checking out lots of maps, and just talking about what is happening around us. Some of the activities I am having the children do will be used to compile a lapbook. I’ve noted those as such in my notes below.
I’ve been checking out a ton of books from the library based on the subject matter. I’ve continuously had almost 50 books checked out at any time over the last 4-6 while we have been working our way through geography.
The one thing I have most benefited from is learning how best to search our local library catalog for resources to help with the unit studies. I thought I knew how to use a library, but I picked up a few tricks to finding things at our local library and it has made the world of difference. Using the power search, looking only in children books, and searching by specific topics has been incredibly helpful. But also our library has a few weird ways of storing things and this was helpful to know as well.
I would say the unit study was an overall success. When we are out and about the children run over to look at maps we might see around, and they are much more cognizant of the fact that there are other lands and countries. They understand that if we go to see Aunt Jenn and Uncle Gregg then we will need to take a plane because there is an ocean separating us.
Here they are checking out the map at Leon Sinks Geological area.
We also got off on some wonderful, child-led tangents. After the hikes we took in the mountains to see waterfalls, Petra became fascinated with the large waterfalls in other countries. We took a day to learn and talk talking about Victoria Falls and Angel Falls – and we even went to the computer to watch videos on these places. She found this video about devil’s pool at Victoria Falls most fascinating and said she wanted to do this.
We have followed this unit study with a unit on aquatic biomes – oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, swamps and more. It has been a natural progression, especially since the earth is ¾ water. We are finishing it last week (for the most part – I could have spent 5 months on it) and I will try to post on it next week.
Here’s a few photos of some our activities – biome cards, paintings of earth, cut/color/paste compass rose, and passport books.
Here is a general outline of what we learned about, the books we used, as well as the other activities we incorporated into our learning.
Unit 1 Planet Earth – Maps, Globes, Weather, Continents, and Biomes
TOPICS TO COVER
Maps and map legends
Compass Rose – Understanding direction
Globes, and how the earth moves around the sun to create the seasons
Topography – Different regions and climates, mountains, volcanoes, etc
Equator – Warm and Cold regions
7 Continents – Name and Identify on map
4 Oceans – Name and Identify on map
Biomes – how weather affects the world around us and creates different biomes, review of the main biomes
Weather – identify the weather each day, learn about the water cycle
Look at a picture of the earth from space – the white in the picture are the clouds
WORLD MAP ACTIVITIES AND QUESTIONS
• What color is the land on the map? What color is the water?
• Find an ocean. What is its name? Do you live near or far from this ocean?
• Find an island. What is its name? Is the island north or south of the equator?
• Find a country. What is its name? Do you live in this country?
• Find some land. What color is it? Is all the land on the globe the same color?
• Find the equator. Do you live north or south of the equator?
• Find the country you live in. What is its name?
• Find the North Pole.
• Find the South Pole.
• Review on map where you and other friends and family live – talk about distances, how would you get there (boat, airplane, car, etc)
HANDS ON ACTIVITIES
• We colored a world map with the continents and oceans
• We labeled, cut, and colored a compass rose (lapbook)
• We drew maps of each child’s room. I actually drew them while they watched and they had to figure out which room was which. (You could also draw a map of your neighborhood)
• We cut out and pasted pictures of different biomes and discussed the different weather in each region that creates each biome, and the animals that live in each
• We created a passport for each child’s lapbook that we will use to record each country the “visit” as we continue our geography lessons –
• We went outside and found north by holding our right hand toward the east and our left hand toward the west
• We painted a simple picture of the earth – tracing a circle, using blue paint for the water and green paint for the land
We made volcanoes in our backyard with baking soda and vinegar
We created a cloud (condensation) in a jar – experiment from Raindrops and Rainbows by Rose Wyler
Rain collections and measurement
Here are some ideas for music to incorporate
It’s a small world
Our Earth Inside Out
Most of these movies we rented our library and for the most part I let them watch them in the car
• Weather for Children – All about Climate & Seasons
• Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid
• Animal Atlas: Animal Mysteries
• Disney Nature Planet Earth
• Nations of the world with Anamaniacs can be found online here.
BOOKS & READING
As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps by Gail Hartman
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley
Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley
Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest
People by Peter Spier
What is a biome? by Bobbie Kalman
Raindrops and rainbows by Rose Wyler
Blast-off to Earth! : a look at geography by Loreen Leedy
Calabash Cat, and his amazing journey by James Rumford
Who lives here? : Animals of the pond, forest, prairie, desert, mountains, meadow, and swamp by Dot Barlowe
We spent this time learning animal names in French. “eFlash French” has been a helpful iphone app in learning our animals names in French. I’ve mostly stuck to learning the French so far using phone apps because I can get ones with audio – as opposed to just reading a book and having no clue on how to say the word.