I am so excited to have Eden’s best friend Rylynn joining us two days a week this school year. The girls get time to play together and then we sit down and do history together.
This is our first year using history curriculum (we did simple unit studies last year). I didn’t feel like there were very many great options for history curriculum, but I ended up going with History Odyssey by Panda Press and we love it. My favorite part of this curriculum is the many hands on activities and additional resources they organize and suggest using.
We started out with a week studying how we know about what happened before there was written documentation.
There are lots of great books out there but our favorite was “Archeologist Dig for Clues” by Kate Duke.
Our activity for the first day was to became Archeologist for the day. After reading about archeologist, the girls gathered their gear (they were very clever, they came up with most of the tools needed) and dressed for the occasion from the examples in their book. Dressing up makes everything more fun.
While the girls were getting ready I set up the dig site with two trays filled with a sand/flour/oil mixture and a variety of artifacts for them to find. They helped me to grid off the work site and used their microscopes to look for clues as we start digging.
Working square by square the girls carefully sifted, dug, and brushed away the “dirt” as they found their artifacts.
I loved hearing their squeals of delight as they found each item. We weren’t even halfway done and the girls were already asking if I would hide everything again for them to find. Little did they know I had another kind of excavation planned for the next day.
They loved using the small bags to collect and organize their artifacts. They quickly picked up the method for labeling the bags and made it a game as they compared what each found in say A3 or B1.
While our entire lesson isn’t quite as exciting as our excavation activities, I try to keep it fun as we learn through reading fun books. Often I like to have the girls work on coloring part of a project while I read.
I love that all of the parts of this are small and interactive. When folded up they all fit neatly in the little pocket. Eden loves pulling out her pocket and looking at each of the elements she made. It makes for great review as we reread and talk about each item several times.
Most of the items we made for this pocket were part of the above book but I made a few extra items that were both a big hit.
The first was a little memory matching game and the second was a tool kit with all the tools we had learned about during our study.
As I shared earlier, I had one more big activity I knew the kids would love.
As we studied archeology and excavation, we learned that sometimes artifacts are frozen in ice and that these too must carefully be excavated.
I created these frozen dig sites by freezing about an inch of water mixed with the sand/flour mix from the other activity in aluminum trays. I then added in dinosaurs and cavemen figurines and filled it up with water.
If you try this activity and need to freeze multiply trays, I suggest putting the tray in the freezer and then filling it with water as it is very hard to carry this full of a container across the room without spilling.
On the day of the excavation the ice block easily slid out and I then filled them with water to use for the activity. I started by putting the sand side up so that they couldn’t see what was frozen inside just yet.
The kids then went to work using water and a variety of tools to melt the ice and find their “treasure” as Eli called it. I love that he gets to participate in most of the activities we do. This one was right up his alley; water, water squirting tools, dirt, mess, dinosaurs, and open ended.
Everyone enjoyed using the spray bottle but it was the older two that first figured out another use for it. Thankfully Eli was too busy to see how else the sprayer could be used.
After about 30 minutes (I was a little surprised how long they were willing to spray and drip water) parts of the dinosaurs start sticking out and it was all they could do not to just pull and try to break the ice.
They then figured out that if they used more water by pouring from the cup things went a lot faster. They wanted to use the hose and while clever I said no and they happily continued.
Not sure why I didn’t get a final picture of everything freed from the ice but don’t worry there wasn’t a speck of ice left after this activity.
Next week look for a fun post on early humans as we start learning about ancient history.