In 1803, President Jefferson wanted to find out if the Missouri or Columbia Rivers made for easy traveling (and potential trading) routes to the Pacific Ocean. An expedition was planned not only to find out about the routes, but to learn more about the land, weather, plants, animals and even the native people groups encountered along the way.
Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were selected to lead a group of about 45 explorers – both military men and boatmen – who began the expedition on May 14, 1804. Despite many difficulties, for the next two years and four months, the explorers made tremendous discoveries about the previously uncharted land west, as well as opening the doors to others for exploration, trading and eventual settlements. Their story is amazing and inspiring!
Both Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had birthdays in August. To celebrate, we enjoyed a fun to-scale mapping activity during a recent nature walk.
Find an area in nature where you can walk around pretty freely. Farms, parks, cemeteries and orchards are good choices. Because the day was SO incredibly hot, we just stayed in our yard.
Visually set an area that you plan to map. Make it simple. There is no need to be exact. I told my children, “We’re going to map the area from the fence to the shed to the apple tree to the fence.” That gave them a general area to map – or “boundaries” per say.
Decide how many feet of your area will represent one grid on the graph paper. We chose to say every ten feet equaled one grid on our paper.
Start in a corner of your area and measure out a plot of land. In our case, we roughly measured a 10×10 foot square.
Notice what’s in the square plot and draw it on your graph paper. We chose not to be overly precise and simply drew only major landmarks.
Continue measuring out adjoining plots of land and recording their landmarks until the entire plot has been mapped.
To-scale maps can be as general or precise as you wish. After the maps were drawn in pencil, we took a few minutes to use colored pencils to give them more detail.
The activity was meant for my older children, but even the 5yo got in on the action. (And drew a pretty good map in the end.)
Knowledge Box Central has partnered with me through iHN to offer a lapbook ebook giveaway! Since the Lewis and Clark Expedition paved the way for the future development of the United States, I thought it would be fitting to giveaway one ebook of their US Government Lapbook (you get to choose your level.) We did this lapbook a few years ago and learned SO much! You’ll love it!
During my workshops about creative homeschooling and living math, I often talk about incorporating games into the school schedule. The question that always follows is, “Which games are your top picks for each subject?” So, for the record, I’m posting some of my favorites for various subjects. Since this is the Christmas gift season, some of these games might be good choices for secretly educational gifts!
You’re gonna think I’ve gone widget crazy!!!! However, this was the simplest and easiest way to put together a post with photos rather than just writing a long and boring list.
I would love to hear about some of your favorite games! We’re always up for something new!
One of the end-of-the-year writing projects I gave the kids was to research any country of interest around the world and create a report and presentation.
Mahayla chose Uganda since her Sunday school class sponsors a child from Uganda through Holt International. The project became very personal and worthwhile for her as she learned more about the area where her little friend, Ruth, lives.
Caleb chose South Africa since we recently learned about Apartheid and Nelson Mandela during our 20th century history studies. The project helped him distinguish between a current day country and how it is alike and different from the United States.
I only gave a few parameters for the reports/projects:
The report needed to include nice-sized paragraphs, correct grammar/punctuation/spelling, and be more than simple facts. In other words, I wanted them to infuse a little opinion into the information, too.
They had to include at least the following topics, but could include others if desired: where in the world (maps), a brief history, current day culture such as food, clothing, homes, etc., things that are native to the country such as animals and crops, how Christianity is accepted and what other religions are popular, and if any famous missionaries ever worked there.
The project board needed to be colorful and visually pleasing, as well as providing the audience something to look at as the presentation was made.
I continue to be amazed at how much ownership my children take in their learning when preparing for a project!
Would you like to know more about project-based learning? Check out these posts!
We took some time to learn about famous national landmarks during the unit, too. For a final project, I gave the kids a list of several landmarks from which they had to choose eight to research. They created informational postcards to highlight what they learned. You can see the front of each postcard shows a picture and the name of the landmark. On the back, they had to write a paragraph of interesting information for each. It was a simple project, but a nice way to ease into the new year.
We did it! Well, I guess you could say we (the four of us) AND two sets of grandparents did it!! Yes, it took eight people in all to finish this puzzle.
Now that we know the tricks to the puzzle, it will probably be easier the next time around.
It’s a wonderful puzzle for learning all the countries of the world and I would highly recommend it. Just be sure to place it on a table you won’t need for awhile (unless you have eight people available to work on it at one time!)
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