Sunday, March 13, 2011


On Friday we finished up our unit on India.  Once again we thoroughly enjoyed learning about a country.  The boys again each created a country summary report on power point (fast facts, history, government, people, religion, education, land, and economy).  Anna had her own little form to fill out for facts about India and also learned about the people through the book Children Just Like Me.  We spent time learning the geography--countries and water around India--and played our geography game for Asia.   In studying the history of India we spent some time learning who Ghandi was and why he is a notable figure.  We looked at the Hinduism religion, as well, which helped us understand what Amy Carmichael had to deal with when we read her biography as a read-aloud book these last two weeks. 

One morning we spent some time with a bedsheet watching you-tube videos on how to tie a sari and a dhoti.  Anna enjoyed spending the rest of that day in a sari with a red dot on her forehead!   We also studied Indian currency, the rupee; learned about India's national bird, the peacock;  the banyan tree; and India's flag.  We read books about the history of the Taj Mahal and watched a short video on-line.  We also watched a you-tube video on henna tattoos which showed a henna artist painting the pattern on an Indian woman's forearm and hand.  Pretty neat.  On the last day we touched briefly on the Hindu "festival of lights" or Diwali and made our own rangoli art.  I think we had just as much fun coloring the rice as we did filling in and making our patterns!

Peacock by Anna
Seth and Lydia's designs
Nicolas' design
Caleb's design
Anna's design
Jars of colored rice

We read Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling as it takes place in India and also rounded out our Kipling/India experience by watching Disney's The Jungle Book which also takes place in India.  We learned that Rudyard Kipling was an Englishman who was born in India and returned back to England when he was five.  Both Anna and Nicolas did a little mini-unit on Tigers with Anna completing several lapbook activities and Nicolas filling out one fun booklet in which he had to research many different types of tigers. 

Tiger by Nicolas

The science topic to go with this unit was "mountains", so we studied the different ecosystems found on just one mountain and made a model of this for science class.  Note the grass for the grasslands, leaves for deciduous trees, pine for the conifers, flower petals for the tundra, and finally the snow on the peak.   Anna drew a mountain climber at the summit which I thought was pretty cute. For each of these ecosystems we would talk about the plants and animals that could live there.  We specifically looked and read books about Mt. Everest since is found in the Himalayas.

Our mountain "ecosystem" model
Lydia's mountain
Anna's mountain painting

As usual, we finished our unit with a meal from the country we studied.  For this unit we made Indian chicken mango curry served over basmati rice with naan bread on the side.  I think most of us enjoyed this meal thoroughly.  The naan was especially good!

We also rented a video from the library called Going to School in India.  These were 10-15 minute excerpts of Indian kids telling how and where they went to school in the various regions of India.  We did not watch this all in one sitting, but were able to watch the little excerpts throughout the two weeks.  These are some of the books we enjoyed:  Stories Told by Mother Teresa, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Taj-Mahal by Caroline Arnold, In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree by Barbara Bash, One Grain of Rice, The Top of the World:  Climbing Mt. Everest, To the Top: The Story of Everest, Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (for the older boys), and two Magic Tree House books:  Tigers at Twilight and A Crazy Day with Cobras.   We are still waiting for the book Daughter of the Mountains by Louise Rankin to be in at the library.  We will catch this story about a Tibetian girl on our next unit--China!

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