Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lewis & Clark

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When we did our Mailing May unit study we started learning about Lewis & Clark. We had a great amount of fun with the study, but we never truly finished it up as I’d planned. So before we jump into pioneers I wanted to finish up our study with them.

After all we can’t leave Lewis, Clark, York, Seaman, & the rest of the corps hanging out there in the middle of the river forever! We want to know what happens, and it will tie in beautifully as we learn about the westward expansion this summer. Something we’re all looking forward to.

We’ve been slowly reading the book Seaman. It’s a very well written book mostly from the perspective of the dog on the expedition, but loaded with details about what was seen, done, felt, etc. The women who wrote the book used the journals from the expedition to write the book, so not only is it a well written story but it’s also factual. That’s a double bonus for us!

To help me out with our unit study, which I wanted to keep semi simple and hopefully finish up in a two week time period, I obtained The Lewis & Clark Expedition put out by Kaleidoscope Kids. This book is equally loaded with factual information, direct quotes from the many journals (all though most of those had my head spinning with the spelling!), crafts, maps, and even actual copies of pages from the journals.

We’ll also be using a few notebooking and lapbooking resources that I’ve found around the web:

Free Lewis & Clark Lapbook #2 (This one has beautiful graphics with it!)
History Scribe’s Indians (this one’s still on special for $1.32)
History Scribe’s Westward Ho! (also still on special for $1.32)

We won’t be using every last one of the resources, I’m sure, but there’s really some great stuff out there for this unit study. The Indian resources are something we’ll probably be using for quite some time as it will carry over into our Pioneer studies as well. I also tend to gather both lapbooking and unit study ideas together at once because I have one on each side of that line.

To keep with our Living Math theme I’ve also devised math problems based on the information in The Lewis & Clark Expedition. Some of it will be touching on topics that the boys are unaware they are familiar with (like multiplication), but that’s okay. It was on the books for this year anyway, and I find that introducing a concept and leaving it for a while is good. That way when we come back to it and work more in depth with it the entirety of the concept isn’t foreign to them. Rather, it’s like meeting an old friend they can’t wait to know more about.

I’m thinking we’ll keep these in both our normal Math notebooks, but also in our Lewis & Clark notebook/lapbooks. I’ll simply run copies off after the boys have completed the work. They always thinking running copies off of their own work is so much fun, especially if it’s something they’ve colored.

Here’s a sample of some of the math problems I’ve come up with for them:

“America purchased Louisiana Territory on April 30, 1803. Newspapers didn’t announce the signing until July 4th, 1803. How many days passed before everyone knew?”

“The grizzly bear’s claws were 7 inches long. How long are your fingernails? How much longer are the bears claws?”

They’ll also measure a variety of other animal’s claws to get a view of how long the bears claws were. We’ll be looking at how much longer a league is then a land mile, and “buying” supplies for the journey westward. It should be fun for them to see how the simplistic things they’ve been learning can be used to figure out bigger problems.

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