Creating a K-3 Unit Study

I say “K-3” because these are the simplest ages for which to create a study, and because I often tell people that they don’t need to purchase a science or a history curriculum for the very young. When my children were that young I often just went with either what they were interested in or what I felt every child should have a basic knowledge of. make friends with your librarians – they have a wealth of knowledge and might even have teacher’s boxes you can borrow. So as an example I’m going to choose “OWLS.”

Usually my first step was a trip to the library, but that was back in the stone age and now most of us in the 21st century have computers at home. You all have so many resources out there, take advantage of them and save your money! Here is just a sample of non-fiction books I’ve found on our library’s website: “Owls and Their Homes” by Deborah Gibson; “Egg to Bird” by Carolyn Scrace; “Owls: hunters of the night” by Elaine Landau; and ALWAYS look for DK or Kingfischer or Eyewitness books such as “Amazing Birds of Prey” by Jemima Parry-Jones.

Fiction Readers for the kids to read: “White Owl, Barn Owl” by Nicola Davies;  “Owly and Wormy, bright lights and starry nights” by Andy Runton; “Julie and the Eagles” by Megan McDonald

Read alouds: “Legend of the Guardians” by Kathryn Lasky

And just for the fun of it: “Odd Owls & Stout Pigs: a book of nonsense” by Arnold Lobel

As they read through the factual books have them make lapbooks or do some notebooking. Personally I like a mixture of lapbooks and notebooks.  You can find great ideas for lapbooks on websites such as https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/lapbooking7up/info    And you can find some great ideas for notebooking on line too   http://notebookingfairy.com/2010/12/50things-to-put-in-a-notebook/

Next step, find out if there is a nature preserve in your area or a wildlife place that rescues injured animals. They may have owls on display. Call your park system and see if they offer a night hike. A local camp might let you come visit in the evening to hear owl hoots.

For a science experiment you can order owl scat pellets online, dissect to see what the owls ate. Can you identify the bones inside?  http://www.teachersource.com/product/1381/biology-life-science?gclid=CPW5xKDhuL4CFedFMgodFy4AeQ   You can also study endangered owls either from books or cool websites, and let your kids memorize a couple of their scientific names  http://rainforests.mongabay.com/endangered/charts/birds-owls.html

Time for crafts, again hit the library:  “Baskets, Beads and Black Walnut Owls” by Sarah Healton  And don’t forget to check pintrest for ideas, or find websites such as http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2013/07/simple-owl-cookies/  And just think while they’re baking cookies they’re also learning fractions!  How about owl pine cones? http://familycrafts.about.com/od/pineconecrafts/ss/Pine-Cone-Owl-Craft.htm  Printable owl coloring pages  http://familycrafts.about.com/od/pineconecrafts/ss/Pine-Cone-Owl-Craft.htm

and don’t forget the videos available at libraries:  “while the World is Sleeping” by nutmeg Media; “Wild Chronicles” by National Geographic.

Now lets tackle history. At age 5-9 my kids found certain people fascinating – Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington Carver (among others). After 3rd grade we started doing history chronologically, but you can still find great ways to incorporate unit studies within those parameters. Again hit the library for information. Lets take “ANCIENT EGYPT”

Factual books: the Bible (read about Moses); “Ancient Egypt” by Niel Morris; “Usborne Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt” by Gill Harvey; “You Wouldn’t want to be Cursed by King Tut” by Jacqueline Morley; and again Eyewitness book “Ancient Egypt by George Hart.

Readers for the kids: “Boy of the Pyramids” by Ruth Jones; “Cleopatra’s Coin” by Gerry Bailey; “Egyptian Diary: the Journal of Nacht” by Richard Platt; “Thea Stilton and the Blue Scarob Hunt” by Thea Stilton.

Read aloud to them: “The Long Lost Map” by Pierdomenico Baccalario; “The Case that time Forgot” by Tracy Barrett.

Crafts: “Make history” by Nancy Fister.

Fun stuff?? Who can build the biggest pyramid from sugar cubes? “Cooking in Ancient Civilizations” by Cathy Kauffman. Make you own mummy!! http://www.rom.on.ca/en/education/online-activities/ancient-egypt/mummification/make-your-own-mummy  How about a coloring book? http://store.doverpublications.com/0486261301.html

Videos abound for Ancient Egypt. PBS is always a good place to start.  Also try to watch a modern Egypt video to give your children some social studies.

So there you have it – two weeks worth of science and social studies planned out. Really at that age you only need to do those subjects 2 or maybe 3 times per week. Make it fun! Book work will come soon enough….