Sunday, March 26, 2017

U.S. Geography: Woodland Indians, Mound Builders

We are spending our next three week block on U.S. Geography, framed around first looking at the Native American shelter building that took place in each region, which was based on the natural resources, and then the region's biome map, and finally the region's current political map of U.S. States and their Capitals. We are also going to learn about the Territories.

ALL of my detailed notes are on my U.S. Geography page on the website.

I had originally recommended Bonnie Shemie's series of Native Dwellings books for third grade Housebuilding, but in seeing how well they work for this fifth grade block, I'm thinking of changing my grade 3 notes. There are so many great examples of shelters that it is impossible to get to them all, and I like the idea of doing Mongolian yurts and the tree houses of Papua New Guinea and so many other fun ones... and doing a project building with cob (and maybe even a cob oven) in third grade... and I wouldn't want to rush through the houses of other continents in order to get back to the Native American ones... especially when doing the Native American ones in North American Geography in fifth grade provides such a nice assessible way to divide up the regions.

But, regardless of when you choose to use them, Bonnie's books are great. My friend Robin turned me on to her work many years ago!

Houses of bark - Woodland Indians

Mounds of earth and shell - the Southeast

Houses of hide and earth - Plains Indians

Houses of adobe - the Southwest

Houses of wood - the Northwest Coast

Houses of snow, skin and bones - the Far North

To be honest, I also use a lot of Montessori Geography materials because I find they are so well organized. (I do use Montessori materials for Math, Grammar, and Geography because I find them superior to all others.) The two resources below are not incompatible with Waldorf in any way.

The biome maps created by Waseca are extremely intuitive for kids to use.

And I love the U.S.A. Location/Color map made by Nienhuis for hands-on practice in identifying the states by their shapes.

I've also got some links to FREE Teachers Pay Teachers games and activities (such as a word find with all 50 state capitals in it) for further review.

So browse the webpage and enjoy!

This week at the homeschool co-op we have done the following:

had a great Structured Word Inquiry lesson on "heart"

enjoyed Farm Day!

learned a blessing for lunchtime

    To sun and rain
    To grass and grain
    To all who toil
    On sea and soil
    That we may eat
    This daily food
    We give our loving
    Thanks to you

math skills practice

    GREAT FREE daily skills practice for grades 6, 7, and 8:
    set 1, set 2, and set 3 combine to give you a full year!

math homework

Fractions Quilt Bingo and Madame Periwinkle's Halloween Brew for emergency sub plans on Friday morning

Dewey Decimal System lesson

a field trip to the library on Tuesday, plus a stop by Toddler Story Time

a field trip to the High School Science Fair on Thursday

set up the window bird feeder and moved the window nest box to a quieter window, with the curtains closed so as not to scare off any nesting birds

Article of the Day

made homemade yogurt in the crockpot

started our new U.S. Geography read aloud story: the Newbery honor book Minn of the Mississippi by Holling Clancy Holling

assessed prior knowledge of U.S. Geography with Elimination Game (in pairs or small groups) -- students alternate turns identifying states; teacher answers disputes -- and States and Capitals pp.15-16 (individually)

began our new U.S. Geography main lesson block with the Woodland Indians and Mound Builders - using Bonnie Shemie's books Houses of Bark: Tipi, Wigwam, and Longhouse and Mounds of Earth and Shell

my chalkboard drawing inspired by this one of a Wampanoag Shelter

plus tracing and coloring the biome maps by Waseca (my web page also has a set of links where you can download and color your own instead of buying theirs) and the political maps from Ready-to-Use Outline Maps of the U.S. States and Regions: 159 Different Copyright-Free Maps Printed One Side by Phillip Runquist

list of "plates" below refers to the pages in this book

my choice of states for the Northeast Region
(New England and the Mid-Atlantic)

13 states (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV, VA)

    outline map of the Northeast on plate 21
    except Ohio

    States & Capitals List
    Maine - Augusta - plates 18, 28
    New Hampshire - Concord - plates 18, 28
    Vermont - Montpelier - plates 18, 28
    Massachusetts - Boston - plates 15, 28
    Rhode Island - Providence - plates 15, 28
    Connecticut - Hartford - plates 14, 28
    New York - Albany - plates 15, 28
    New Jersey - Trenton - plates 14, 28
    Pennsylvania - Harrisburg - plates 14, 28
    Delaware - Dover - plates 14, 28
    Maryland - Annapolis - plates 14, 28
    West Virginia - Charleston - plates 11, 27
    Virginia - Richmond - plates 11, 27

my choices of states for the Southeast Region
(Southeast and the Mississippi & Ohio Valleys)

15 states (NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MI, LA, AR, TN, KY, OH, IN, MI, WI, IL)

    outline map of the Southeast on plate 20
    plus Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois (plate 20)

    States & Capitals List
    North Carolina - Raleigh - plates 13, 27
    South Carolina - Columbia - plates 13, 27
    Georgia - Atlanta - plates 13, 27
    Florida - Tallahassee - plates 12, 27
    Alabama - Montgomery - plates 12, 27
    Mississippi - Jackson - plates 12, 27
    Louisiana - Baton Rouge - plates 12, 26
    Arkansas - Little Rock - plates 7, 26
    Tennessee - Nashville - plates 11, 27
    Kentucky - Frankfort - plates 11, 27
    Ohio - Columbus - plates 11, 26
    Indiana - Indianapolis - plates 10, 26
    Michigan - Lansing - plates 10, 26
    Wisconsin - Madison - plates 10, 26
    Illinois - Springfield - plates 10, 26

researched a field trip to Cahokia Mounds

for fun: Word Search - U.S. Capitals

Outside of the homeschool co-op, Becca also had her poetry workshop at the library on Thursday afternoon, attended her sister's History Fair presentation on Saturday (Leah's drama performance meant that her team tied for Best in Show and they will be competing at the State level in Illinois - yay!), and volunteered at Flyover Gardens.

Last year Becca made a lovely backboard about the Mound Builders, featuring the Great Serpent Mound rendered using a raised textured paint. We got the textured paint recipe here; here are some pictures of her work:

We tried many different ways of doing the title but she didn't want anything to detract from the sheer visual impact of her painting, so we went with something discreet.

Upcoming purchases:
I'm excited to get a Decimal Stamp Game because the daily math skills practice is showing me that we do still need a concrete material for carrying and borrowing with decimals. I also need a really good bird guide to place by the window bird feeder for easy reference.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!


Renee said...

In addition to making sure we dedicate time to the Territories, I also want to find a way to spend time on Tribal Lands. I just found The Map of Native American Tribes You've Never Seen Before at and it is a great resource! I know that tribal governments sit alongside the state and federal government; however, the relationship between them is complex and not always clear. If we are learning about U.S. Government in later years we don't need to get into it too deeply, but it's really important to me that the children learn that there is more to the story of U.S. land than just "these are the 50 states."

tie-dyed doula said...

I enjoy reading your blog so much. I am not often able to comment but please know that this is one of my favorite blogs and I am grateful with how much you share and for the inspiration it gives to me. Blessings.

Renee said...

That is so kind... thank you! :-)