Thursday, March 15, 2007

A New Learning Adventure...Unit Studies!

I've decided to try my hand at creating my own unit studies. I'm currently gathering tons of information about two topics I want the children to study, the first being Helen Keller and the second, Japan & China.

With the Helen Keller study, I'll have the children watch the more recent version of the movie, "The Miracle Worker" and discuss it. From there we'll study:
  • Sign language and Braille
  • Effective communication and its importance (ex. phonetic vs. proper spelling)
  • Guide dogs and how they're trained (looking into a possible "field trip" to a training facility)
  • Read the book, "Koko's Kitten" and discuss apes and chimps' ability to learn sign (trip to the zoo perhaps...?)
  • Learn about our senses in more detail, particularly sight and hearing (I've got several "science" games in mind for this)
  • How different diseases can impair the senses and how discovery and use of antibiotics has helped in this area

Of course we'll add to it as we go, as that's part of the charm of a unit study. ;o)

And now for the China/Japan study....

  • Learn to read/write/count in both languages (to a small degree, unless one of them--or all three--want to become fluent. Then that's another discussion.)
  • Learn important historical facts--The Great Wall, various dynasties, wars
  • Food--the most fun part!!! Learn to make it, use chop sticks, etc
  • Clothing--learn how silk is formed (this requires studying worms...(yuck!)..but its important), historical and traditional "garb"
  • Education--differences between their countries vs. ours
  • Japanese animation and its influence on American children (ie: Pokemon, Code Lyoko, Hello Kitty)
  • Toys and games
  • Money--recognize, learn conversion to dollars/cents
  • Field trip to downtown Seattle's International District/Chinatown ('nuff said!)
  • Population control and China's "One Child" policy--how it has helped and hurt the country, and role of international adoption
  • Festivals and celebrations--New Year, Cherry Blossom, Year of the Pig
  • Japanese gardens
  • Buddhism vs. Christianity--how Christianity is illegal in China, yet missionaries are risking their freedom to share the Gospel
  • Tai Chi, karate, tae kwon do--learn some of each (woohoo!)
  • Sports heroes--Ichiro of the Mariners (esp. for Sierra and Ethan, the baseball hounds)

And like the Helen Keller study, this is just a rough draft, if you will. I'm sure the children will take things in a variety of directions, once their "creative spark" is lit. ;o)

Oh, and I'm planning to put everything in scrapbook format so everything stays neat, organized, and in a "fun-to-look-back-on" way.

So, whatcha think? Care to join us on our adventures? ;o)

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