Free Thomas Alva Edison Unit Study

(Click here for a downloadable PDF of this unit study and other free resources.)

As February quickly approaches, now is the perfect time to share with you a new unit study on Thomas Alva Edison, who happened to be born in February! My kids love anything science and invention related, so last year they were elated when I came up with my Famous Inventors/Inventions unit study. Of all the people we learned about, Thomas Edison was, by far, their favorite, so I think it was only appropriate that I would write a new one focusing only on him.

Enjoy!  Continue reading “Free Thomas Alva Edison Unit Study”

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Free Thanksgiving Unit Study

(Click here for a downloadable PDF of this unit study and others.)

I can’t believe that summer is already almost over! Sniff. Every year it seems like it takes forever to get here and then it passes by in what seems like a heartbeat. So sad.

As much as I love this season, though, and really do not like the colder weather, seeing the autumn decorations that are already all over the stores has made me nostalgic for pumpkin bread, hot chocolate, and apple cinnamon muffins.

And since I happen to be one of those people who likes to plan ahead (which is an understatement…I have three years worth of unit study activities written down in my planner…), I thought that now might be a nice time to share another unit study I’ve written with you.  Continue reading “Free Thanksgiving Unit Study”

Free 12-Week Greek Mythology Unit Study

Learn Greek mythology as a family with these fun hands-on activities!

 

(click here to find a downloadable PDF of this unit study)

(Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.)

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(Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I’ve always been completely fascinated by Greek Mythology and was so excited to find  D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, a beautifully illustrated compilation of classical Greek myths for my then-14-yr.-old daughter. To go with it, I purchased the Student Guide, which contains additional vocabulary, quizzes, and map work that were an awesome supplement to the book.

Recently, as I was going through some of our old homeschooling resources, I rediscovered the beauty of this book and decided to use it with my older elementary-age and middle school-age children; however, I knew that the student guide was probably not going to hold their interest. Since unit studies have been very successful for our family, I decided to attempt to create a study based on this book, and behold- here it is today.

While I did use this particular title as the backbone of the activities included, this study is very flexible in that it will work well with any Greek mythology book of your choosing. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

                                         Greek Mythology Unit Study

Recommended Resources:

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths- Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire– (I highly recommend this book above all others, as it is the foundation of all of the activities listed here.)

– Any book from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series- Rick Riordan

– Any book from the Heroes in Training series- Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Tornadoes– Gail Gibbons

A Komodo Dragon Hatchling Grows Up– Katie Marsico

About Arachnids– Cathryn Sill

Komodo Dragons- Giant Lizards of Indonesia – James Martin

Komodo Dragons– Thane Maynard

Extreme Weather– National Geographic Kids

Scorpions– Elizabeth Raum

Scorpions!– Laurence Pringle

Classic Starts- Greek Myths– Diane Namm

Vultures– Sandra Markle

Pegasus Marianna Mayer

Disney Storybook Collection

Vultures– Wayne Lynch

Vultures– Lynn M. Stone

Mythological Creatures– Lynn Curlee

– Greece! Rome! Monsters!– John Harris

– movies- The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters

Vocabulary:

mythology           idol                     Titan
god                         goddess             bountiful
Cyclopes               universe            sprite
nymph                   trident               lightning
invisibility            helm                  thunderbolt
iridescent              throne               ambrosia
nectar                     underworld      ichor
mortal                     immortality    strait
forge                        volcano            chariot
discord                    pain                   panic
famine                    oblivion            prudence
irreverent              grotto                constellation
pomegranate        eternal              wizened
lyre                          satyr                   muse
spellbound            sacrifice             offspring
centaur                   pegasus             chimera

Activities:

1. Read a section of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths together daily. (Literature, History)

2. Select several vocabulary words each week and practice writing them in cursive. (Language Arts)

3. Read one of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books as a family or independently. Write a book review when finished. (Language Arts)

4. Watch the Percy Jackson movies after reading the books. Write a paper highlighting the many differences between the books and the films. What did you think of these changes? (Language Arts)

5. Discuss the Gaea concept still held by some people in modern times. Is this biblical? (Social Studies, Critical Thinking)

6. Research pantheism, Wicca, and other pagan religions. What does the Bible say about these practices? (Social Studies, Bible)

7. Draw a cyclops. (Art)

8. Discuss the trident, the lightning bolt, and the cap (helm) of invisibility. Write an essay about which you’d choose and why. Read it aloud when finished. (Language Arts)

9. Draw a picture of Argus with his 100 eyes. Why is this a good quality for a guard? (Art, Critical Thinking)

10. Zeus would often disguise himself as animals or other objects when coming down to Earth. can you think of a time that God took another form? (Ex.burning bush) What would you disguise yourself as? (Critical Thinking)

11. Take a trip to a blacksmith shop. (Field Trip, Social Studies)

12. Hephaestus’s forge was in a volcano. Research volcanoes. (Science)

13. Build a clay volcano around an empty water bottle. When finished, pour in some baking soda, red food coloring, a little dish detergent, and vinegar. What happens? (Science, Art)

14. Try the same thing as above, but pour in some soda and Mentos candy instead. Did you get the same reaction? Why do you think that is? (Science)

15. No one knows where Aphrodite came from. Write your own myth explaining how you think she came about. (Language Arts)

16. Who does Eros remind you of? (Cupid) Draw a picture of him. (Art)

17. Make some beaded jewelry. (Art)

18. Cupid is the Roman name for Eros, and Venus is the Roman name for Aphrodite. Learn the Roman names for the Greek gods. (Language Arts, History)

19. Act out the story of the apple of discord. (Art, History)

20. Discuss the meaning of pain, panic, famine, and oblivion. (Language Arts)

21. Learn how to weave or watch a weaving demonstration. (Art, Life Skills)

22. Athena turned Arachne into a spider for being prideful about her weaving. Learn about arachnids. Where does the word “arachnid” come from? (History, Science, Language Arts)

23. Use blocks, Legos, or clay to build a representation of Poseidon’s underwater palace. (Art)

24. Learn how islands can be formed by earthquakes. (Geography, Science)

25. Draw your own rendition of Python. (Art)

26. The dragons of Greek mythology are mythical creatures which may have been based on dinosaurs. Today the earth still holds an island which is home to real dragons. Research the Komodo dragon and write a report or a fact sheet on them. (Science, History, Language Arts))

27. Orion was killed by a scorpion sent by Apollo. Write a report or fact sheet on scorpions. (Science, Language Arts)

28. Study the Orion constellation. Orion’s belt is very easy to locate. Look for it the next time you are out on a clear night. (Science)

29. What is a lyre? Listen to music from one. (Music)

30. Read about Hermes. Can newborn babies really do what the story tells us he did? Why or why not? (Critical Thinking)

31. Hades was not only Lord of the Underworld, but he was also rich beyond measure since he owned all the jewels under the earth. Where are precious stones found? Learn about this process. (Science)

32. Visit a cave that is open to visitors which exhibits geological finds, such as crystals. (Field Trip, Science)

33. Cerberus was a three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to Hades. Paint a picture of him. (Art)

34. Persephone was stolen away by Hades to become his bride. Discuss stranger danger. (Safety)

35. How did the Greeks use the story of Persephone and Demeter to explain the seasons? Find out how the seasons really occur. (History, Science)

36. Using a globe and a lamp or large ball as the sun, give a visual demonstration of how the seasons are caused by the tilt of the earth’s axis. (Science)

37. Dionysus, the god of wine, was raised around leopards and tigers, who were very fond of him. Make some paper plate leopards and tigers. Eat some grapes as a snack! (Art)

38. What does it mean that dolphins are the most human creatures? Read about dolphins. (Science. Critical Thinking)

39. Prometheus was said to have modeled man out of clay, while his brother Epimetheus made animals. Make some people and animals out of clay. (Art)

40. The story tells us that Epimetheus gave all of the good gifts to the animals and didn’t leave much for Prometheus to bestow upon the humans. In what ways are animals more gifted than men (speed, better sight, smell, hearing, endurance, etc.)? In what ways are humans superior? What is the most important thing we have that the animals do not? (Science, Critical Thinking)

41. Draw Prometheus and the eagle. (Art)

42. What does it mean to “open Pandora’s box?” (Language Arts)

43. Define greed, vanity, slander, and envy. Do you see these in the world today? (Language Arts)

44. Compare the biblical flood to the Greek flood. Study worldwide flood legends. Why do you think it is that secular geologists ignore these stories and insist that no worldwide flood ever happened? (History, Critical Thinking, Social Studies)

45. Write an essay on tornadoes, hurricanes, or typhoons. (Science)

46. Read the story of Helios. Why is it dangerous to look at the sun? Does this story make a good case for why it is best to obey your parents? (Science, Health, Safety)

47. Write about a time you did not obey your parents and something bad happened because of it. (Language Arts)

48. What are centaurs and satyrs? (Language Arts)

49. Draw the transition of Tithonus from man to grasshopper. (Art)

50. Write grasshopper facts. (Science, Language Arts)

51. If a pregnancy lasts nine months and Selene bore 50 daughters, how many months was she pregnant altogether? How many years is that? (Math)

52. In Greek mythology, satyrs live 10,000 times longer than humans. If the average human life span is 85 years, how long would the average satyr life span be? (Math)

53. Listen to a recording of a shepherd’s pipe. (Music)

54. Read the story of Echo and Narcissus. How does Echo’s punishment fit her name? (Language Arts)

55. What does “narcissistic” mean? How does this fit Narcissus? (Language Arts, Social Studies)

56. Make a set of reed pipes using drinking straws. (Art, Music)

57. In the Greek Olympics, winners would be awarded with a laurel wreath. Why? (History)

58. Define cunning, savage, and vulgar. (Language Arts)

59. Why was Chiron different than the other centaurs? Why do parental care and discipline make such a big difference in a child’s life? (Critical Thinking)

60. What word is derived from “Hygeia,” and what does it mean? Who was Hygeia? (Language Arts, History)

61. Re-enact a doctor’s visit. Assign roles of nurse, doctor, patient, receptionist, etc. Be sure to take measurements of height and weight, check temperatures, and give eye exams! (Health, Social Studies)

62. Learn about the Nine Muses. Write a list of their names and what they do. Memorize them. (Language Arts, History)

63. If there were nine Muses… (Math)
-How many eyes altogether? Fingers? Fingers and toes?

64. Orpheus’s wife was killed by a venomous snake. Research them. Do any live near you? Learn what to do in the event of a snake bite. (Science, Health/Safety)

65. The story of Orpheus claims that he found the entrance to Hades at the end of the world. Does the world really have an end? What does this tell you about how the Greeks thought the earth was shaped? (Science, Critical Thinking, History, Social Studies)

66. Radamanthus, a son of Zeus and Europa, was so wise he became a judge in the underworld. Who is the true judge of all? (Critical Thinking)

67. Learn about the American judicial system. (Social Studies)

68. Locate Crete and Thebes on a map. (Geography)

69. Pelops participated in a chariot race to win his bride. His opponent lost because of an intentional malfunction of the wheel and axle. Study simple machines. (Science)

70. Pelops initiated the first Olympic games. Watch an Olympic event. Videos of these can be found on YouTube.com (Social Studies, Physical Education)

71. Host your own Olympic games. Plan events, make your own medals, and don’t forget a laurel wreath! (Physical Education, Art)

72. In the tale of King Midas, he grew a pair of donkey ears. In what other story did a character grow a pair of donkey ears? Read “Pinocchio.” (Literature)

73. King Midas’s servant was so desperate to tell someone about the king’s donkey ears that he dug a hole in the ground and whispered it into there. Unfortunately, some nearby reeds heard it, so they whispered it to each other over and over again. Soon, everyone knew the king’s secret. Play “Whisper Down the Alley.” (History, Language Arts)

74. When an ancient Greek passed away, a loved one would place a coin under his/her tongue. What was this for? (History, Social Studies)

75. Read about Pegasus, and write a report. (Language Arts, History)

76. Study the chimera and the different meanings of the word. (History, Language Arts)

77. Melampus could understand animals and once overheard the conversation of some vultures having a meal. Write a report on vultures. Include a drawing or picture of one. (Science, Language Arts, Art)

78. If Melampus wanted 1/3 of the kingdom for himself and 1/3 for his brother, how much did that leave the king with? What portion of the kingdom did the brothers now possess? (Math)

79. Read about Heracles’s labor of retrieving the apple from the Garden of Hesperides. Eat an apple while doing so. (Language Arts)

80. King Minos’s half-man/half-bull son, the Minotaur, had to be kept in an underground labyrinth. Do a maze or make one of your own. (Math)

81. King Minos used a conch shell to find out where his servant, Daedelus, was hiding. The conch shell has long been thought to allow people to hear the ocean when holding their ear up to one. Is this true? What can really be heard? (Blood circulating through the ear) (Science)

82. Oedipus was able to solve the Sphinx’s riddle. Read some riddles aloud or make up some of your own. (Language Arts)

83. What is an Oedipal complex? (Social Studies)

84. Draw a harpy or a siren. (Art)

85. Jason defeated the fire-breathing dragon in order to get the Golden Fleece. Discuss fire safety. (Safety)

86. Visit a local fire station. Bake them cookies. (Safety, Field Trip, Life Skills)

87. Artemis once sent a huge boar to avenge her anger against a king. Write oa report or a fact sheet on wild boars. (Science, Language Arts)

88. Draw Atalanta hunting the boar. (Art)

89. Atalanta was very fast and won many races. Have your own race. (Physical Education)

90. Achilles was invulnerable except for on his heel. What is an Achilles tendon? (Science)
91. Read about the Trojan War. (History)

92. Build a model of the Trojan Horse using items from around the house. Be creative! (Art)

93. Look at pictures of the architecture in ancient Greece. Does any of it look similar to famous buildings in the US? (History, Social Studies)

94. The gods and goddesses would often commemorate heroes by placing constellations in their honor in the sky. Make a chalk pastel night sky scenery. Be sure to include your favorite constellations! (Art)

 

 

 

 

 

Free Famous Inventors/Invention Unit study

Click here for a downloadable PDF of this unit study and others.)

As a busy mom of eleven, I have become the queen of finding the simplest ways to do seemingly difficult tasks. Homeschooling is one of them. Although the prospect of teaching multiple children may seem daunting to some, I have found a wonderful reprieve in using unit studies. Right now, I am using unit studies with all of my elementary age children, and it makes things so much easier.

Recently, after using the same Creation Science unit study for twelve weeks, my children and I grew bored with it, but, unfortunately, I didn’t have any other unit study curricula we hadn’t already used. After searching online for free unit studies, I became a little discouraged because the vast majority of them rely heavily on printable worksheets, and, while that may work for some, I knew my kids would quickly tire of those studies, as well.

Out of sheer desperation, I decided to write my own unit study, and, surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. I eventually ended up writing several, all of which I did end up using, and we thoroughly enjoyed them.

Today I’d like to share with you the very first unit study I wrote, “Famous Inventors/Inventing.” This study is meant to last approximately 2-3 weeks, but you can always have the option of shortening it or stretching it out as you see fit. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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(Image courtesy of  Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos,net)

 

Famous Inventors/Inventing

Recommended Resources:

Did You Invent the Phone Alone, Alexander Graham Bell?– Melvin and Gilda Berger
Who Was Thomas Alva Edison?– Margaret Frith
Inventions- FAQ– Valerie Wyatt
Ben Franklin and His First Kite– Stephen Krensky
The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin– Aliki
So You Want to Be an Inventor?– Judith St. George
Imitating Nature- From Bat Sonar to Canes for the Blind– Toney Allman
Imitating Nature- From Bug Legs to Walking Robots– Toney Allman
Imitating Nature- From Barbs on a Weed to Velcro– Toney Allman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory– Roald Dahl
– khanacademy.com/engineering

Vocabulary:

invention         vibration             helicopter
invent                incandescent    airplane
phonograph     engineer             creativity
telephone         bioengineer       resilient
electricity         print                    determination
experiment      calendar             automobile
telegraph          lightning            genius
patent                machine             ingenuity
laboratory        submarine          lightbulb

Famous Inventors:

– Thomas Edison
– Alexander Graham Bell
– Benjamin Franklin
– Nikola Tesla
– Orville and Wilbur Wright
– Samuel Morse
– Henry Ford
– Leonardo Da Vinci
– George Washington Carver
– Johannes Gutenberg
– Eli Whitney

Activities:

1. Read So You Want to Be an Inventor?, then brainstorm new invention ideas. (Language Arts, History, Science)

2. Create a word scramble out of selected vocabulary words. (Language Arts)

3. Read a biography of an inventor of your choice. (History, Science)

4. Research an inventor and write a short biography. (History, Science, Language Arts)

5. When inventors apply for a patent, they submit a drawing and short description of their idea to the patent office. Choose a favorite invention idea from Activity 1, draw it, and write a short description. (Language Arts, Art, Science, Social Studies)

6. Thomas Edison worked on a train in his youth. Learn about trains and how they work. (History, Science)

7. Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Discuss the meaning of this quote. (Language Arts, Character)

8. Use Activity 7 to inspire a discussion on percentages. (Math)

9. Using common household items, build a 3-D model of invention idea from Activities 1 and 5. (Science, Art)

10. Research Samuel Morse and learn how to tap out your name in Morse Code. (History)

11. Thomas Edison’s mother provided him with a basement laboratory. It was filled with, among other things, empty jars and bottles, feathers, and rocks. Create a temporary lab in the kitchen or basement and experiment using materials similar to Edison’s in addition to: a magnifying glass or microscope, baking soda, vinegar, corn starch, and other household items. (Science)

12. Cut out individual letters from various magazines or advertisements and glue them to a piece of paper to spell out vocabulary words. (Language Arts)

13. Create “goo” by combining a box of corn starch, water, and food coloring (optional). Add water a little at a time and stir in a cake pan until it is the consistency of mayonnaise. This can be found on page 31 of Inventions- FAQ by Valerie Wyatt. (Science)

14. Write a story about an inventor using vocabulary words. (Language Arts)

15. Read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a family read aloud. (Literature)

16. Copy a page of a book by hand, then discuss how Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press not only made the creation of books far easier, but also inspired people to learn to read since books became much more accessible. (Language Arts, History, Social Studies)

17. Create a “mini-bot” by using double-sided tape to attach a cell phone vibrator and a button cell battery to the bottom of a very small toy. One wire from the vibrator should be under the battery. Attach the other wire to a piece of double-sided tape and stick it to the top of the battery. The toy should “run” around the floor. (Science)

18. Read about the Wright Brothers’ various attempts to achieve flight. (Science, History)

19. The Wright Brothers achieved flight in Kitty Hawk, NC. Find this on a map. (History, Geography)

20. Using a map of the US, measure the distance from your house to Kitty Hawk, NC and calculate how long it would take to travel there at 60 MPH. (Math, Geography)

21. Visit a toy or candy factory and observe the machinery used to create their products. Prepare a list of questions to ask beforehand. (Field Trip, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts)

22. Research Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and write a paper discussing the pros and cons of this invention. (History, Language Arts, Social Studies)

23. Read about Leonardo Da Vinci’s “prophetic” inventions, which never came to fruition until centuries after his death. (History, Science)

24. Study some of Da Vinci’s most famous “inventions,” such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. (Art)

25. Draw inspiration from Da Vinci’s work and paint an artistic masterpiece. (Art)

26. While Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, he did come up with the assembly line. Try making something that takes several steps (a sandwich, a simple foam craft, breaded chicken fingers, etc.) alone, then try again using an assembly line. Which was more efficient? (Critical Thinking, History)

27. George Washington Carver was known as the “Peanut Scientist.” Read about his life and enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (History)

28. Make a lapbook to showcase finished work from this study. Use your artistic talents to decorate it scrapbook-style. (Art)

 

 

 

 

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