Showing posts with label unit studies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unit studies. Show all posts

Friday, August 2, 2013

Space Station Unit Study

We did a space station build last spring that was so much fun and integrated several areas of study and review. I want to say upfront that some of the pictures are not the greatest but I wanted to capture exactly what the kids came up with. It is so important with this type of activity to let them lead because they are learning as they apply the information. I want to encourage moms in general and especially homeschool moms to be more hands off with sensory activities and crafts. If you allow your children to apply what is in their imagination rather than what is in your own, in the long run you will get better learning results.

Oreo Moon Study
Phases of the Moon
We started with a study of the moon using Oreo cookies, this is an idea I picked up on Pinterest. Whenever we do a space study we use Apologia curriculum, Exploring Creation Through Astronomy. I love Apologia! It is perfect for multi-grade level teaching!

Planet Poster as Window Panel

At the beginning of the week my daughter made a poster of the planets that we incorporated out the west window of the space station.

Green Puppy Alien
My son used a Pringles can to make a telescope and attached a green puppy alien to the end.

ISS Space Station
Cardboard Boxes and Solar Panels
Solar panels were fashioned on several points from extra cardboard box pieces and dowel rods. The solar panels were attached around the space station to keep it running and we went to the ISS website where we found plans for a space station, life on a space station and links to follow the space station in your area. A trap door was cut for supplies (lunch) and the kids spent all day Friday using the Apologia book as their ISS manual having fun playing in their creation.

We also visited the Challenger Space Center as our field trip for this Unit Study.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nursery Rhyme Day: A Unit Study

Thursday was Nursery Rhyme Day at our house, inspired by Porridge Play Doe over at Fairy Dust Teaching. We ate porridge (Mal to Meal) for breakfast and read nursery rhymes all day. Not just the classics but spin offs from the classics like "Three Havalinas." This is a great way to teach basic literature skills.

We fed Porridge Play Doe to the Three Bears...

porridge playdoe

With Teething Biscuits for Baby Bear...

three bears

We made our own Storybook Village inspired by Charlottesfancy...

storybook village
And we finished up the day by writing our own nursery Rhymes...

nursery rhyme project

My son, who just started first grade and rarely produces anything on paper, shocked us with this list of perfectly spelled rhyming words...

It was a fun change of pace and a good review.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Week of Fossils, Dirt and Dinosaur Hunting!

We spent the past week studying fossils,dinosaurs, and layers of the earth and getting very dirty in the mud. We began the week on Monday by studying the layers of the earth. This was a simple project that started with a worksheet and ended with a play doe model of Earth. I picked this idea up over at Our Aussie Homeschool, and she has some beautiful pictures and helpful worksheets as well. We also spent some more time reading over at Creation Science and reflecting on all the support for Intelligent Design found in dinosaur fossils and the study of the Earth's layers.

On Tuesday we studied the Grand Canyon and made homemade fossils with a recipe of flour and used coffee grounds. You can find the full recipe over at The Learning Table. She also has some better pictures.

On Wednesday we did the bulk of our workbook activities and reading as I was preparing for our grand finally on Thursday. Thursdays activities began with a list of indoor stations designed to keep the kids indoors while I created a dinosaur dig/hunt outside!

Inside Stations:

Station one involved making binoculars which were used to hunt dinosaurs later in the day.

Station two was a "make your own hieroglyphics" station. I set out a book on hieroglyphics from the library along with paper, scissors and markers. I did make one example to be decoded but didn't get a picture, sorry.

Station three was a rock identification station. We have an extensive collection of rocks. I displayed the rocks on a table along with several books and encouraged them to identify the rocks.

Station four of course was rock painting. We have a great little book with illistrations of how to paint rocks like different bugs and animals.


While the kids were busy inside, I was busy outside setting up the hunt. I started with some hand painted dinsours that I set out just like you would an Easter Egg Hunt. These were refered to as the "live specimens." Some of the fossils were already in our backyard. There was a giant carving of a bird in cement left by the family before us. This I refered to as a flying fossil. There were some footprints in the porch...I used this to point out that man and dinosaurs may have coexisted. I also burried fossils that I made earlier in the week, one of which had chicken tracks. I made sure I planted this chicken fossil next to the shed that we suspect used to be a chicken coop. Finally, there were some frozen fossils scattered around as well. These contained fish bones made from pasta. I also made a scavenger hunt check list so that they would know where to start and finish. It was a fun week and I am impressed with how much they remember from the reading.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ocean/H2O Unit Study

We kicked off our first week of school with an intense study of Ocean life and H2O. On Monday we finished a sort of "fill in the blank" diagram of the ocean floor.

I am not sure if you can see the detail in the painting, but I printed off pictures and labels and had the kids stick them to the painting as we read about that portion of the ocean floor. As a learning check at the end, I had them fill in pictures of what might live or swim where including a mini unmanned submarine for the ocean floor of the Abyss. We also read about the seven days of Creation and studied up on squids for our Tuesday Trip to...

Sea Life Aquarium Arizona, where we dissected a squid and toured the aquarium.

On Wednesday we studied H2O in depth including a demonstration of Evaporation and a worksheet on the Water Cycle. We also read the story of Noah's Ark in the Bible and studied the details of the discovery of the real Noah's Ark! That was a huge hit. I encourage you to click on the link and study it for yourself. It is truly fascinating. We finished our day with a GeoDrawing of Noah's Ark. You can learn more about GeoDrawing over at Fairy Dust Teaching.

On Thursday we finished our week with a study of Rainbows. We read about God's Promise to Noah and the symbol of the Rainbow. We read about what makes a rainbow and we made rainbow covers for our Noah's Ark GeoDrawing. We used paint, I recommend permanent marker as it will cover better. It is just a sheet protector with artwork on it.

We re-used some old CD's by studying them in the light; they reflected a rainbow. We hung them in the garden and the kids have been examining the reflections all week long.

We finished our day with water play outside, only we had a little something special, a huge block of ice with sea creatures frozen inside. I didn't get pictures of that but the idea came from Counting Coconuts.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Flower Unit Study

studying flowers
Studying Flowers
We finally finished our unit study on flowers. I was inspired one afternoon when I discovered that, to my son, a flower was just that...a flower. 

Although at five he can pretty much tell you every category of animal among other things, he can regurgitate very little about a colorful plant. So we began a unit study designed to foster his knowledge of the lovelier things in life.

We started our unit study with a trip to a local rose garden where we spent a day filling out worksheets, taking pictures of roses and finally painted pictures.  Watercolor art is always a big hit at a new location and it's and activity that promotes thought.

water color
A Water Color Sample

 We also read about flowers in our Abeka science book. We start with Abeka science in pre-school thru first grade and move into Apologia with second grade.

We also toured a historic fruit ranch on the same property for our weekly history lesson. This property was formerly a fruit orchard and fruit packing facility so the tour gave us a bit of history and botany in one.

On day two we put food coloring and water in a glass with a stalk of celery (it's an older but a goody) and did worksheets on flowers. We also read about photosynthesis and took a trip to the flower store to buy flowers for more inspiration. My daughter picked these carnations because they smelled like Cinnamon.

We also painted more flowers, the tulips that my husband bought me the day before.

On day three we dissected flowers and the celery stalks, which was a very big hit! We also attempted to sprout seeds for like the umpteenth time...never works out for us.

We continued by making homemade perfume with the flowers we dissected on day two as well as some other common pantry items.


If you don't want to make perfume, you might want to make natural fabric dye instead. I also did a unit study on Natural Fabric Dying.

Finally, my daughter practiced her sentence structure and typing skills by transposing her notes onto paper while my son and I played with memory cards of flowers that I printed off at DLTK.

Chloe’s Flower Notes


Some roses have whorled leaf placement and pinnate veins. 

They also have ovate leaf shape and toothed leaf edges. 

They have pinnately compound leaves and spiked flower placement 

with ovate petal shapes.  
A carnation has opposite leaf placement and parallel veins. 

It also has a linear leaf shape and smooth leaf edges. 

It has corymb flower placement and spatulate petal

Mini Unit Study/Antarctica versus Arctic

Inspired by the movie "Mr.Popper's Penguins,"we did a mini unit study comparing Antarctica the continent to The Arctic waters of the Northern Hemisphere. It was a great way to memorize a continent, study the difference in animal life and compare and contrast the North and South Polar regions. We started with a printed unit study that I found at Pocket Watch Games. Using this as my base I picked up some craft and station ideas over at Living Montessori Now.  We made marshmallow igloos which I somehow forgot to take pictures of and we compared shaved ice and water under the microscope.

We had sensory stations including finger writing in salt "snow."

Another sensory station involved glass stones and sea life of Antarctica.

We also had a penguin making station.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Unit Study Food Pyramid

We recently competed a short unit study on the food pyramid. We spent the first day studying a healthy food pyramid. I started with printable food pyramid worksheets and moved into handing out old food magazines with instructions for making a food pyramid collage.

We started day two with a study of triangles to which my daughter identified and measured triangle cut outs. We also set up a play doe food making station using sight words and a Polynesian cookbook adding some books and a movie about island culture.

We rounded out day three of our unit study with a printable poetry/food label study out of Stetson University in Florida. This was a great little addition to our activities taking two days to complete. It has a great poem to read to which the kids wrote there own poem. There is a food label worksheet and we studied advertising.

We ended the unit study with a video and experiment involving the calorie content of Cheetos. I recommend finding your own video on YouTube depending on the age of your children. After we watched the video we did our own experiment using a frying pan (as I did not want to teach my five year old how to play with fire). The Cheetos burned instantly!

Here is the poem about junk food that my kids came up with together. I had them list their favorite junk foods and then write the poem. There was no word limit. I wanted to encourage them to try.

Popcorn, chicken nuggets, french fries too;
Pizza, ice cream, slushy, ooooooooo!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Unit Study Ocean Life/Tide Pools

Last summer before our family vacation to California we set out on a three week study of tide pools with a review of ocean life from the summer before (that year we visited Sea World). We completed various tide pool crafts each afternoon while reading three chapters of "Exploring Creation with Zoology." I found most of my craft ideas at Fairy Dust Teaching, my favorite craft surfing site.

Our stations included a sea shell tub and play doe tide pool.

Some crafts that we accomplished were tissue and water color fish.

We also pasted tide pool life cut outs on a giant ocean tide pool.

At the end of the three weeks we visited Balboa Island in San Diego, California where we sailed a ship out into the ocean, toured the Nautical Museum with an interactive tide pool and then we took a beach cruiser to a real tide pool at Crystal Cove.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Studying Birds @ the Phoenix Zoo

We used our Phoenix Zoo membership to study birds this week and it turned into a fabulous unit study. On Tuesday we took school out of the house and over to the zoo with a small project that packed a big punch. We packed a picnic lunch, some water colors, worksheets and clip boards.

As our week was about birds, I had each child pick a bird to study and after completing a worksheet about habitat, diet etc. they used a blank sheet of paper to draw the bird.

I talked each child through the drawing process using geometric shapes (you can view a great tutorial on how to do this over at Fairy Dust Teaching). After their drawing was complete they used water colors to get just the right look.

Not only did they have a blast but their brains were deeply analyzing the details of every animal we looked at following the activity. This was such a great project I am thinking of working it into our regular routine.

On Wednesday we used play doe to make our own birds

and cut outs to build bird pictures (well mostly), my youngest was "board of birds" so he constructed "a mouse wearing a jet pack."

We also launched airplanes in the backyard (jet airplanes). @ 'high tea' we feasted on traditional bird food; nectar, bird seed pate' (I think that is what those forks are for), ants on a log, and carrot and cheese nests.

We also used cardboard and  Christmas lights to construct our own light up bird, an idea I found @ Roar.

We finished the study on Thursday with a reading and writing assignment guessed it, birds. Here is Chloe's short report.

January 19, 2012


Do you realize God created all animals including you? “You have given man dominion over…the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea” (Psalm 8:8). My paper is especially about birds.

Birds are the only animals that have feathers.  We  saw a black swan  at the zoo and it was pretty. Quails are very very elegant. Bald eagles are very smart and their wing span is about 72 to 90 inches long. The hummingbird is a small bird that buzzes like a bee. I know that because I have watched them. They like nectar and also sugar and water colored red because we did that. Parrots are very colorful and they eat nuts, fruit and seeds. Pelicans live near the water, they have a pouch in their beak and they are big. They eat fish. The woodpecker uses it’s beak to drill a hole in a tree to make it’s nest. Seagulls have a plan to fight. One attacked my mom at Sea World. She dropped her food.

Habitats; some live in the jungle some live beside the sea some live in trees. Some live in swamps. Birds live all over the world and they are very very pretty. I love birds. They live all around you just look outside and see if you can see some, like a dove.


(1997).Exploring God’s World Grade 3. Abeka Book: USA


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cloudy w/ A Chance of Meatballs Unit Study

We put together our own unit study last week using the theme Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. First of all we love to do theme studies; our brains naturally organize information in themes not to mention everything kids do these days seems to have a theme. Our unit study focused on weather and sustainability.

I found an excellent printable weather unit study @ The Teacher's Guide. The study was complete including vocabulary, a very simple introduction to formula calculation (4th grade), explanation of Celsius and Fahrenheit conversion, a review of the boiling point of water, an introduction to the root words of clouds in Latin, a poetry lesson and a comprehensive study of clouds. Although the lesson plans sound advanced they were quite simple to understand by my 8 year old and my 5 year old learned quite a bit about the water cycle and different types of clouds.

We began the week reading about clouds in an Abeka 3rd Grade Science book. My son is in Kindergarten/1st grade and my daughter is in 4th/5th; since we are a one room school, I sometimes give basic lessons from the 3rd grade manual to keep every one's attention. I have also found that if I give my son coloring pages to work on during the lesson he is a better listener. I used coloring pages on the water cycle @ Kid Zone. On day one we also wrote poems about clouds per the lesson plans.

In regards to sustainability, we have been working on another project @ Considering frugal. We have been previewing several grocery stores to see what kind of organic merchandise is available. After a discussion about sustainability, we set out to the local supermarket, I gave my daughter a clipboard with a chart of the foods we stock most often and asked her to locate organic versions and mark the price. I am proud to say that by the end of the week both children could identify organic labels and had a better understanding of how factory produced foods effect the sustainable food supply. If you are interested in what we found, you can read the full report @ Considering frugal.

So Monday through Thursday we continued to work through the lesson and preview grocery stores for sustainability. On Friday I gave them an art project titled "Snowy with a Chance of Meatballs." I was inspired by a snowman project posted @ Fairy Dust Teaching, she has such great ideas. Anyway, I told them the title and then provided the "ingredients" with a list of what the picture must include.

We finished the day by making spaghetti and meatballs (we chose a vegan recipe in keeping with our  sustainable living theme) and homemade pizza and a movie viewing...can you guess what movie we watched? But you can read the book if you like.

Some variations I came across were themed cupcakes and play doe spaghetti and meatballs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Make a Solar System

solar system project
Solar System Project
Project based learning can be so much fun and it really drives a topic home.  When we studied the solar system we made a solar system.  While I am somewhat crafty; I cannot call it my gift nor do I have a vast amount of materials on hand.  I often find myself improvising so that I can use up and recycle what I have around the house.  So, here is our solar system; improvise to make your own unique version.


For our solar system we used string, a foil box tube, Styrofoam balls, paper clips and bits of old craft paint.  If you do not have a foil box tube then a wire hanger will do the trick.  We simply painted the planets and then after they dried we stuck the paper clips in much like you would for a Christmas ornament and attached them in order to the tube.  The rings on Saturn were made with half a pipe cleaner.  I have also seen molecules assembled this way using the addition of push pins. For our curriculum we use #Apologia, Exploring Creation with Astronomy...It is my favorite!

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

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frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8