We use a lot of Unit Studies in our home school. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the For Kids Unit Studies. Each study contains a book written about the subject and 21 activities that tie into what you are reading. One of our first to use was Lewis and Clark for Kids: Their Journey of Discovery with 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Janis Herbert.
We really had fun with this study. My favorite part of these unit studies are the activities that are included in the books.
In one of the many activities, we learned that Lewis knew red face paint (called vermillion) would be a welcome gift among the Indians they would meet on their expedition. His dye was made from grinding minerals into pigment. We used a recipe included in the book to make up our own homemade face paint much like Lewis did. The kids then had fun painting themselves up like indians as we wondered what it was like as the expedition met their first tribes of Indians along the way.
Our very favorite activity was to make some homemade fruit leather. We learned in our readings a bit about the foods that Lewis and Clark ate on their expedition across the country. It was interesting to learn how they stored food and what they ate. They traded a lot with the Indians as they met different tribes.
This Lewis and Clark study is 131 pages in length and is broken down into 9 chapters which cover the following….
- Chapter 1 – Covers 1770- 1804. Activities include learning about Latitude and Longitude and making Vermillion (homemade face paint).
- Chapter 2 – Covers 1804 May through August of that year. Activities include lessons on preserving plants and identifying them as well as making homemade fruit leather and learning about the lunar cycle.
- Chapter 3 – Covers August 1804- October 1804. Activities include: Telling a story of your year on pretend buffalo hide, constructing a muslin tipi, constructing a dance rattle, and a recipe to make a great plains stew.
- Chapter 4 – October 1804- February 1805. Activities include: Tracking animals and learning to play hoop and pole.
- Chapter 5 – April 1805- June 1805. Activities include learning some specific Indian dances, making a buffalo mask, sewing your own pair of moccasins.
- Chapter 6 – July 1805- August 1805. Activities include learning to speak Indian signs and making a basket.
- Chapter 7 – September 1805- December 1805. Activities include making a drum, doing an archaeological dig, and making beeswax candles.
- Chapter 8 – March 1806- August 1806. Activity is recognizing and making trail signs.
- Chapter 9 – August 1806- September 1806. Activity is a celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Most of the supplies needed for the above activities are easy to find items that you typically have around the house, but some of the supplies are things that would need to be purchased. With 21 activities and most chapters having multiple activities you certainly do not have to do each and every activity to make the study complete. In fact our family only completed a handful of them. A few of the activities were a bit more time consuming than I desired such as making our own moccasins.
Included at the front of the book are 2 timelines, one being from the birth to death of both Lewis and Clark and one being about the expedition. Also included is a preface about the Louisiana Purchase and a map of the expedition. The back of the book has a glossary of terms used in the study and a listing of Lewis and Clark sites around the United States that you can visit as well as organizations and events that revolve around Lewis and Clark. The back of the book also has a listing of web sites to explore for further information/reading.
Other For Kids unit study titles include: Thomas Edison, Monet, World War 2, Civil Rights Movement, Civil War, The American Revolution, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Isaac Newton, The Underground Railroad, and more. Titles are written by various authors.
-Jennifer is mom to 6 children, 2 boys and 4 girls, ages 14 down to 5. The Unsell family is in their 10th year of homeschooling and are a bit eclectic in their approach to schooling with a focus on unit studies and living books. You can find their family blog at Adventures in Unsell Land.