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Thematic Unit

Preschoolers and Pumpkins

I know October is almost over, but I had to share this pumpkin unit I did with the preschoolers at our homeschool cooperative yesterday.¬† Actually I plan to share all of the lessons I did with them, but this one is time-sensitive. ūüėČ

We’ve been¬†learning Nursery Rhyme, reading them over and over each week, but focusing on one in particular¬†every Friday for the three hours I have them.¬† This week we did Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater of course!

Pumpkin puzzles are a favorite both in my house and here on the blog.  I tried making them several ways, but these horizontal rings are your best bet for holding together.

A nursery rhyme pumpkin theme!

Since everybody (who doesn’t have to clean it up)¬†loves glue, the pumpkin mosaics were popular.¬† I could have cut pumpkin shapes out of cardstock or whatever, but I’m a believer in process over product when it comes to this sort of thing.¬† Time is money.¬† Less is more.¬† Whatever.¬† The kids loved this station best and that’s what I care about!

A nursery rhyme pumpkin theme!

We also used unifix cubes to measure pumpkins.¬† These kiddos range in age from almost three to five years old, so for some of the older ones I encouraged them to measure the pumpkin, then the stem, and add them together.¬† I also allowed free play with the cubes and we ended up with pens for¬†some My Little Ponies.¬† Just think what they’re learning about area and diameter. ūüėČ

A nursery rhyme pumpkin theme!

For art I cut these great little pumpkin shapes on my Cricut and left them at home.¬† So I quickly cut out some hand-drawn pumpkins and the kids ignored them almost entirely since the paint was such fun.¬† After all, it isn’t everyday someone lets you paint with straws!

A nursery rhyme pumpkin theme!

I helped them make a small mound of paint with regular water colors and then blow the paint across the page to make vines.  This little artist had the coolest vines which he choose to cover up with the only one of my hand-cut pumpkins to be used.  This is both the joy and the irony of working with children.  I thought about making my own so I could show you how cool this project can be, but if you do this with preschoolers, this is what theirs will look like, so why lie?  And unless you can figure out how to isolate the green in the water color pack they will also use all the colors.  Just being honest.

We also read the Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater poem from two different books and (who knows why) these kids were amazed at how different the artists’ renderings were.¬† We had an in-depth conversation about actually living in a pumpkin and if it could have a window box with flowers.

If you need more great ideas, check out the unit I did with my son for kindergarten last year.

Pumpkin thematic unit for preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade. {DaddysTractor.com}

And leave me a comment if you’ve got some great pumpkin activity up your sleeve.¬† I’ll need it for next year!

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Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Bonus: Plant Projects for Mom :-)

You saw what my kiddos have been busy with in the Plant Thematic Unit, but I’ve been testing my green thumb too!¬† I’m a big believer in using thematic units because they work for kids across a wide range of abilities, including siblings in a homeschool family.¬† So I’m sharing some of the projects I’ve been working on as classroom enrichment, extensions for older siblings, or fun¬†projects for mom!

Fairy garden in the dinning room!   {DaddysTractor.com}

This bird cage came from Hobby Lobby (please note: everything¬†in my life seems to come¬†from Hobby Lobby!)¬† Last year I saw fairy gardens at Graber Greenhouse¬†in Jamesport, MO and I knew as soon as I saw the bird house it was the perfect!¬† So I found one of those plastic things you put under a plant pot to catch the excess water (what is that?), some¬†tiny plants, and fairy paraphernalia and assembled this vignette while the kids “helped.”

A Fairy garden inside a bird house  {DaddysTractor.com}

You could have lots of fun building your own fairy items (or shopping¬†on Amazon!), you could write a story, or you could follow Anna’s lead and dance around the house like¬†a fairy for a week.

Live centerpiece  {DaddysTractor.com}

Brett helped me with this “art” project.¬† The box is a shadow frame (Hobby Lobby) we turned upside down so the glass is on the bottom.¬†¬†Using 4″ square pots Brett and I could arrange and rearrange the succulents¬†to our heart’s content.¬† I¬† wanted to¬†hang this on the wall, like I’d seen all over the internet.¬† BUT… it¬†¬†is heavy!¬† So¬†I think I’ll use it¬†as table d√©cor.

Moss basket

This¬†planter is a cheapie basket (NOT from Hobby Lobby, but I’m sure you can find one there.) and moss¬†paper¬†(Hobby Lobby!¬† Look by the floral foam.)¬† wrapped around with string.¬† You’ll need to choose a basket with a large¬†enough weave to fit a large darning needle through the spaces. ¬†Hot glue helps too!¬† The basket came with a plastic liner but you could probably line the basket with plastic yourself too.¬† Then you just need soil and plants!

And finally,

Create your own moss wall art with this tutorial {DaddysTractor.com}

This is more of that moss paper (heart!), a simple frame and piece of foam board.  All from Hobby Lobby.  They should be paying me for this post.

Moss framed art {DaddysTractor.com}

This requires math, which makes it the perfect project for¬†a student who thinks they are making art. ūüėȬ† First, design a stencil.¬† Nothing too complicated because you will trace, cut and glue this many times!¬† Trace the stencil onto the back of the moss paper and cut. Over and over.¬† I recommend watching a movie.

Moss framed art  {DaddysTractor.com}

Then create a grid on your foam board.¬† Get a rough idea of how far apart you want to space them and lightly mark the middle.¬† Measure the distance between the center of two stencils so you’ll know how far apart to make your lines.¬† Do the same thing with the offset lines.¬† You’ll have two sets of grid marks, because of the offset lines.¬†Do check it¬†to make sure the math matches up with your eye.

moss framed art  {DaddysTractor.com}

Then remove the paper backing from the moss and hot glue to the foam board.  I suggest using a high temp glue gun.  Trim the edges as necessary.  Carefully erase the grid lines.  Remove the glass from your frame if desired and put in your beautiful creation!

Plants never looked better!

Categories: Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Plant Thematic Unit

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

Many of you¬†said last month’s Insect Unit was¬†oodles of¬†fun, so¬†today I’m sharing the¬†Plant Thematic Unit we’ve been exploring¬†.¬†¬† It was perfect for homeschool since we¬†are spending lots of time in the garden anyway, but its also the fun kind of unit I would have used as a kindergarten teacher to get us through the end of the school year or for summer school!

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

After reading about what plants need, this experiment was to¬†observe what happens when you take something away.¬† I bought a four-pack of flowers, cut them apart and¬†Brett labeled them.¬† Plant 1 was our control, Plant¬†2 we took away sunlight by placing it in a shoebox, Plant 3 we took away carbon dioxide (we called it “air”) by zipping it in a plastic bag,¬†Plant¬†4 we took away water.¬† Then we used these pages Plant Need Experiment Plants Need Experiment 2¬†to record.¬† It worked pretty well, but the only thing that died in the ziplock bag was the flower part, so make sure your plant has one ūüėČ

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

Of course we used play dough to learn plant parts!  In addition to leaves, Brett also added a stigma and stamen after I took this picture, which could enrich this idea for older children, depending on how complex they made their models.

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

Understanding¬†plant parts led us to a project learning about the parts of the plant we eat.¬† I divided a paper plate into six¬†sections. ¬†Next we¬†cut¬†out the center circle from Plant Parts We Eat¬†and attached it¬†with a brad.¬†Then we cut pictures from garden magazines. (For free catalogs try¬†Gurney’s, Jung’s, Burpee, or Johnny’s.¬† They do take a few weeks to arrive.¬† You could also print the¬†picture of¬†food from the Who Grew My Soup post.)¬† The kiddos matched up the food to the plant part and glued.¬† This became a center activity because the brad allowed the circle to spin and become a puzzle over and over!

Make your own root viewer {DaddysTractor.com}

We found this root viewer at Wal-Mart, but after opening it I think you could make one of your own by filling a quart jar with potting soil, placing seeds 1/4 of an inch from the edge of the jar, and covering outside of the jar with black construction paper and a rubber band (they need dark to grow).  Simple and cheaper!

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

Since lap books are our new favorite thing I created a foldable book to review plant parts and what plants need.  Print this Plants Have Plants Need chart and glue it onto construction paper if you like.  These Plants Have Plants Need labels can be cut out and glued into place on the flaps.

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

Also for the lap book (or center) we made a flower petal math game.  I used an advertisement refrigerator magnets to make the circle for the center and covered it with contact paper.  Then I cut flower petals from cardstock and added snips of magnets.  Anna made patterns or used a wipe-off marker to write the number of petals I put on her flower.  Brett got two colors of petals and had to write addition problems with the marker.

Plant Thematic unit with activities, lapbooks, centers, and printables  {DaddysTractor.com}

To observe how seeds begin to grow we traced bean seeds and then allowed them to soak in water for a few hours.  When we came back we could clearly see how the seeds had swelled and the outer paper-y layer was peeling back!

And since I was unexpectedly promoted to Sunday School teacher during this unit, here’s a bonus activity I¬†did for church.¬†¬†My poor kids had way too much “plant” that week, but it¬†was last minute!

Sunday School lesson comparing faith to a seed {DaddysTractor.com}

We compared faith to a seed, planted in our hearts.  Just like seeds need sunlight, air, and water our faith needs things to grow.  We brainstormed ideas and they drew three they like on the rain drops; things like praying, obeying parents, going to church, reading Scriptures.  Or you could just make the mobile with no pics at all :-).

And last but not least, no unit is complete without snacks!

Plant Thematic unit snack idea {DaddysTractor.com}

This¬†is “dirt” pudding; chocolate pudding mixed¬†with crushed Oreos and layered with a few gummy worms.¬† Sooooooo educational!

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Insect Thematic Unit

A few weeks ago I shared a lap book activity we did as part of our Insect Thematic Unit.¬† Since the creepy crawly bugs were a big hit at our house and the activity was at least noticed online ūüėČ I thought I’d post the whole thing.

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

We started by learning what makes a bugРthree body parts, six legs, antenna.  And since no theme unit in our home is complete without making something out of play dough, we went ahead and got that part over with had lots of fun making bugs!

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

Our Insect unit was full of science, so it was nice to add some dramatic play for social studies.  The kiddos acted out a butterfly life cycle, starting as a bunched-up ball to represent the egg, then crawling on the floor like caterpillars, hanging upside down and being a chrysalis, and finally emerging and being butterflies.

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

After emerging and allowing our wings to dry, butterflies of course, must find food!  So we had a drink of flower nectar with our long, straw-like tounges!

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

(That’s lemonade in cups with a construction paper flower laid over the top.¬† I made holes in the middle of the flowers and gave them our smoothie straws for sipping!)

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

And because all lessons are learned better with food, we also learned how bees, butterflies and other insects pollinate flowers.¬† First the kids cut and glued petals to the outside of a brown paper lunch bag.¬† Then I filled them with (a small serving of baked) Cheetos.¬† They ate the snack and wiped their fingers on the front of the bags as if it were pollen– what’s not to love?!

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

For art we painted a paper plate red, allowed it to dry, then cut it up the middle and attached the two pieces together with a brad.  Then they both glued a head and dots to their ladybug.  Naturally Brett added a face like the grouchy ladybug in the book.  While Anna worked on her gluing technique, Brett wrote down different ways to represent the dots on his ladybug.  He wrote a six first, then made an addition problem by adding the dots from each side of the body (3+3=6), then wrote a fraction showing how many of the bugs were on the left wing (3/6).

We added a few more things to our lap book.¬† There was the Grouchy Ladybug clock activity from the first post.Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

Grouchy Ladybug 1   Grouchy Ladybug cards 1   Grouchy Ladybug cards 2

And then we had fun with a life cycle circle with Velcro pieces that can be put together over and over and over again!

Life cycle 1   Life cycle circle

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

We collected pictures from magazines and printed some from online and then sorted insects from non-insects.¬† Watch the pictures you choose, cutesy ladybugs don’t always have six legs or three¬†body parts!¬† We¬†taped these Bug Sorting pockets¬†into our lap book and used them¬†for storing¬†our pieces.

Brett was interested (for a few minutes anyway) in watching YouTube videos of bees “dance” to show the other bees where the flowers are.¬† He had more fun gluing¬†his own dancing¬†bees into patterns on the back of his lap book.

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

And the Body Part activity¬†on the top half of the folder was a funny way to teach “head,” “thorax,” and “abdomen.”¬† Making sure each body part touched the edges of the paper we took turns drawing insects.¬† Then we lifted the flaps to create funny, mix-matched bugs!¬† Anna wasn’t much help drawing, but she laughed uproariously each time we made a silly creature!

Naturally, books are the most important part of any unit!  Our library had lots of non-fiction books about butterflies, bees, ladybugs etc., for all reading levels and but our favorites were The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug, both by Eric Carle and several Magic School Bus books.  Oh!  Try Nexflixing Sid the Science Kid Bug Club too.  Enjoy!

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Grouchy Ladybug Insect Activity or Lapbook

The Grouchy Ladybug lapbook or center activity {DaddysTractor.com}

If I ask you what bugs eat you might say “leaves!”¬† In which case you would be partly right.¬† Many bugs eat leaves; tree leaves, soybean leaves, corn plant leaves.¬† These types of bugs can be a problem at times.¬† There are other bugs, however, that can be a farmer’s best friend.¬† One of these is the ladybug, which is why we had to include “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle in our recent¬†insect lessons!

The Grouch Ladybug lapbook or center activities {DaddysTractor.com}

Eric Carle dedicates the book with an explanation of how ladybugs eat aphids, a rather destructive little critter.

So in honor of ladybugs, here is a free Grouchy Ladybug Insect Activity that works great as a center in your classroom or in a lapbook like we did for homeschool.

Grouchy Ladybug lapbook or center activity

The Grouchy Ladybug activity for centers or lapbook

Grouchy Ladybug 1

Grouchy Ladybug cards 1

Grouchy Ladybug cards 2

{Update!  To see an entire lesson plan for insects, click here!}

Insect thematic unit‚ÄĒactivities and printables {DaddysTractor.com}

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Book for Your Tractor Lesson

You know that great feeling when you stumble on something great completely by accident?¬† I have it today!¬† We were at the library looking for books for school, which means I’m scribbling down reference numbers and chasing children’s books from all their misplaced places, when the title of this book caught my eye.

A great book for your tractor lesson plan!

Being “Daddy’s Tractor” of course, we had to check this one out.¬† And we’ll¬†probably renew it too!¬† Its a¬†whimsical book with bright illustrations and a¬†bit of nostalgia for the by-gone era of small¬†family farms.¬† Grandpa takes his grandson out to the old homestead, now fallen into decay.¬† There they find a forgotten (red!) Farmall tractor growing up with¬†weeds.

A great farm book for a tractor lesson plan

Please note that Farmall is¬†a predecessor to Case IH.¬† And if you don’t know what Case IH is,¬†kindly refer to the photos in the blog title.¬† And for all of you¬†cheering for green and yellow,¬†just allow¬†me this moment.¬† It is hard for all of us in ag to find truly good literature, but do you know¬†how¬†hard it is¬†to find books with red tractors?!

But back to the actual point…¬† Grandpa tells his grandson all about the work the tractor used to do on the farm when he was a boy, making this book a fantastic addition to our History of Agriculture Theme Unit.

A great book for a tractor lesson plan

The author/illustrator is not a farmer (or even remotely connected with ag in any way) and it was not written to be a scientifically, historically, or otherwise perfectly accurate portrait of farm life, but I thought Michael Garland did a nice job and avoided any of the usual mistakes of drawing all roosters instead of hens etc..   And the story of how this book came to be, featured on the last page, is probably my favorite part of all.

So now you can be as excited as I am :-).

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day, A Missionary’s Story Lesson Plan

I love St. Patrick’s Day.¬† I’m not really sure why.¬† But I do know that most of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration seems to revolve around things that are… not as “G” as I’d like them to be for my family.¬† So I did a little hop, skip, and jump when I read Teaching the Trinity for St. Patrick’s Day from I Have No Greater Joy.¬† That post and a few quick searches later and this is the St. Patrick’s Day lesson plan we’re working from!

St. Patrick's Day, a missionary's story

We checked out Patrick, Ireland’s Patron Saint from the library (even before I read the Trinity lesson plan!) and it was the perfect book for introducing the kids to Patrick the missionary.¬† Did you know Patrick was held as a slave in Ireland, escaped home, and later returned to share the gospel?

St. Patrick, a missionary's story lesson plan

Then we made shamrocks from bits of scrapbook paper by cutting three hearts and gluing them to a craft stick.  Its not in the photo, but we also added ribbons to them to make them pretty.

St. Patrick's Day, a missionary's story lesson plan

We talked about the shamrock shape and how St. Patrick might have taught the trinity with it.¬† Anna didn’t understand at all, but Brett was able to follow along enough that at least he understands there is such a confusing concept, even if he can’t yet grasp it!¬† We sang the song “God the Father” as posted in the Trinity lesson and that was a great hit.¬† It was so easy for them to learn!

At the end of the Patrick book is a short section on the legends of St. Patrick.¬† Brett enjoyed the story about the snakes (of course) and he loved the gross motor activity we¬†created to go¬†with it.¬† I had the kids take their shamrocks outside and¬†chase pretend snakes out of the yard.¬† If there¬†had been any real ones… well, they’d be gone too¬†;-).

St. Patrick's Day, a missionary's story lesson plan

The kids also enjoyed this video I found on Pinterest.

I bought some dot paints from Hobby Lobby last fall, and if you haven’t tried them, they’re great.¬† All the fun of painting (mostly!) without the fuss and mess.¬† When I saw this it seemed like a great idea for the preschool kids in my Homeschool Co-Op class.

St. Patrick's Day, a missionary story lesson plan

And then I used those same leftover bits of scrapbook paper to cut out shamrocks– two of each design.¬† One shamrock I glued to a paper and the other I left loose.¬† Tomorrow I’ll have the preschoolers match the paper’s designs, then Monday I’ll make it a math lesson for Brett by writing simple addition facts on the loose shamrocks and the answers on the glued down ones.¬† Hmm, or maybe capital letters with a lowercase match?¬† Might need more scraps…

St.Patrick's day, a missionary's story lesson plan

And this has nothing to do with missionaries, trinities, or Christ in anyway, but I couldn’t resist.¬† Remember that whole me just liking St. Patty’s thing?¬† Well, I also love Lucky Charms.

There.

I just admitted it.

Online.

I love them.

When I taught kindergarten I always bought one box for my class to sort the shapes and then I ATE THE REST!

Once a year.

But I haven’t taught kindergarten in six years.¬† So its been a looooong time since I’ve eaten Lucky Charms.¬† And I couldn’t resist.¬† Today we sorted the shapes.

It was so educational.

And tasty.

St. Patrick's Day, a missionary's story lesson plan

And then I gave them each a missionary penny.

St. Patrick's Day, a missionary's story lesson plan

What is that?¬† Well, a missionary penny is one SENT.¬† All people are sent to spread the gospel, some in foreign countries and under heroic circumstances like Patrick, but all of us are called.¬†¬†Funny enough, the penny is also considered “lucky,” but plainly states “In God¬†We Trust.”¬† We¬†discussed that it is not luck but God who¬†gives us all good things– which was important to me in a St. Patty’s Day lesson!

If you have other ideas for making Christ a part of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration, leave them below!

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How to Teach using Thematic Units OR How to Teach a Strong Willed Child!

Yes, we farm around here, but we alsoHow to Teach Using Thematic Units homeschool.¬† And since I’ve had a few requests to explain how I teach using thematic units, I’m going to continue the current Organizational theme¬†and show you.¬† First,¬†THE BINDER!

I bought this when school supplies were on sale and I love it.¬† In fact, I want more ūüôā

I have 5 tabs inside, each labeling an important aspect of my daily life.¬†¬†My first tab is “Calendar.”¬†¬†This,¬†of course, lists birthdays, appointments, monthly goals,¬†etc., but I also¬†write the theme for the week on each Monday, which helps me see when we should be learning about spring¬†or Dr. Seuss’s birthday.¬† The key (for me) here¬†is¬†the more stuff is one place, the more I use THE BINDER, so add a babysitter phone number list, shopping list, whatever *you* need.

My next tab¬†is “Brett” for organizing his homeschool¬†curriculum, and this is where the thematic unit magic happens :-).¬† I made these cute pages with Photoshop elements and¬†a digital scrapbook¬†kit.¬† You can use mine or¬†create your own using any simple word processing program.

Using Thematic Units printable copySchool Schedule 2

Using Thematic Units printable Using Thematic Units printable 2

As you can see, I list all the areas I want to cover. So after I choose the theme I just work on filling in the boxes with activities.  Pinterest is a great resourceРI have a Kindergarten theme board and I follow several others who do as well.  I use www.everthingpreschool.com a lot and just make the activities harder when necessary.  I Google themes, I check out library books, I use the same standard ideas and change them just a little to go with the theme.  For example, each week we journal something we learned about ______ (construction, ag history, pumpkins etc.) We often make a graph, use playdough to create something theme-related, do an image search to look at pictures, write a story, sort materials, diagram and label,  design an object using our collection of toilet paper rolls, boxes, craft sticks, pipe cleaners and whatever.  These kinds of activities save me a lot of time but still encourage learning through themes.

And here is the great part.¬† I subtitled my post How to Teach a Strong Willed Child because once these activities are filled in and I have completed the “to do” box I can let Brett make his own decisions about what we learn!¬† A little bit of control goes a long way with the child who must always be right and he’s still doing all the school work I want for him to accomplish in week, so what does it matter if he wants to graph first or read library books first?!¬† Plus I can choose topics he loves, which helps even more!

Yes, thematic teaching can be more work than teaching from a curriculum, but it is worth it!  Everyone learns better when they have the proper files and folders in their brain to categorize information.  Teaching with thematic units is a natural way to learn!

And if time management is a problem for you check back next Monday.¬† I’ll post my last in this organizational series about my favorite time management tool!

Categories: Family, Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , | 3 Comments

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

One of the best things about homeschooling is choosing to study what you like!  We recently completed a theme unit on the history of agriculture.  If this sounds like fun to you, here ya go!

HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE THEME UNIT

Reading

The American Family Farm by Joan Anderson

Farming Then and Now by Katie Roden

Pictures from the Farm by JC Allen and Son, Inc. (Brett loved this one!)

Case Photographic History by April Halberstadt

The Big Book of Tractors by John Deere

Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm by Billy Steers (and other Tractor Mac books)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingles Wilder, Chapters 10 &11

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Writing

Keep a vocabulary list of all the new words you learn

Brainstorm¬†facts you’ve learned about farming; choose one to write in your journal

Explore¬†the poem “One for the Mouse, one for the crow, one to rot, one to grow”

Pretend you are living on a family farm __ years ago.  Write a letter to someone telling them about your day.

Math

Create a timeline of farm history (We started about 1800.).  Add to it through the unit.  These ready-made timelines were great resources!

“Plant” (glue) ears of corn in numerical order.¬† For older students, plant numbers by 2s, 5s, etc. or backwards.

Use this website from nps.gov to learn how many miles a man walked to plant one acre, how much a plow cost and billions of other math facts from the 19th Century!

Use the “one for the mouse” poem to do a little hands-on subtraction

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Science

Try this experiment to learn why rubber tires were a great improvement over horses hooves and steel wheels.

Experiment with¬†tying straw sheaves.¬† If you don’t have straw large weeds from the side of¬† the road will work as well.¬† Will your sheaves protect the straw from the rain?

Make a farm diorama with a shoe box, clay, plastic toy cowboys and horses (can you figure out a way to dress your cowboys to look like farmers?), and any other things you can imagine!

Social Studies

Try sowing seeds yourself.  Grass seed is a great choice.

Use a hand grinder to grind wheat.

Watch the archival footage on these John Deere DVDs. Combines,  Tractors

Field Trip!  The best part of homeschoolingРright?!  Visit Missouri Town, an Amish community, or similar location

History of Agriculture Theme Unit

Art

Make a collage of seeds

Design a piece of machinery the could help farmers.  Use food boxes, paper towel tubes, brads, yarn, whatever!

Roll toy tractors in (washable) paint and create prints

Scripture

The Parable of the Sower, Luke 8:5-8

Other Internet Resources

Country Life vs. City Life from Home School Year Blog

Farm Theme Pinterest board

Fun on the Farm by Fabulous in First Blog

Counting 1-5 Grain Bins from Hands On: As We Grow Blog

Categories: Homeschool, Thematic Unit | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pumpkin Theme Ideas for Pre-school and Kindergarten

Pumpkin puzzle for pumpkin theme ideas

You may have read about the visitors to our farm a few weeks ago.  You may not have the opportunity to ride on a combine during harvest, but almost anyone can visit and farm this time of year!  Pumpkin patches abound with great opportunities for everyone to see bits and pieces of farm life.  And since we just did a homeschool unit about fall for my preschooler and kindergartener, here are some pumpkin theme ideas for you to useРand hopefully you can visit a pumpkin patch as well!

Of course, cutting open a pumpkin and playing with the seeds are a must.  But instead of carving a face, try these math and science ideas instead.

Clean the seeds, layer them on a baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt, and roast at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Eat and enjoy!

Pumpkin seeds, idea for pumpkin theme unit

OR put the seeds in a plastic tub and let the kiddos squeeze and¬†squish the squash ūüėČ

Make a pumpkin puzzle!¬† We tried a few different designs and the best puzzles were pumpkins cut in¬†horizontal “slices.”¬† For older kids talk about how puzzle pieces lock together and have them help design the puzzle.¬† For little ones just cut simple waves around the pumpkin to be used like stacking rings.

Pumpkin puzzle, pumpkin theme ideas

Design a pumpkin patch of your own.  We made fall leaves with my cricut, added a variety of pretty pumpkins, painted pumpkin leaves and vines, added a plastic rake from our summer sand toys, and talked about the pumpkin life cycle.

Pumpkin patch, pumpkin theme ideas

And speaking of pumpkin life cycles, we designed our own pumpkin life cycle chart with a paper plate, a seed, and tissue paper flowers.

Throw bean bags into a pumpkin.

Make a pumpkin smoothie.

And then when you are done with the pumpkins, place pieces in a plastic tub (you’ll want a lid for this one!) and watch the pumpkin decompose.¬† We journaled about our observations in our science journal.

Observe pumpkin decay, pumpkin theme idea

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