Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 4: Middle School Study Of The United States

As I mentioned in my last post, we added a few extra days to our United States study making it 2 1/2 weeks instead of 2. We wrapped up the USA on Thursday and then took a field trip on Friday to kick off our study of Mexico (but I'll save that for next week). My daughter enjoyed learning about the states so much she asked "Do we have to go to Mexico next week? I like learning about the states." So I'll take that as a success! Once she got her passport & we headed south of the border she was ready to go. I told her she could still study the states when she wants to because we are still learning about North America for a few more weeks.


The biggest hit of the week for us were these state flash cards that I found at CurrClick as part of Discovering the Continents: Animals Of North America by Koumi Books - Flashcards for Canada, a North American Animal board game, notebooking pages, and lapbooking pages are also included.

I printed them on cardstock, punched a hole in the top left corner of each card, and put them on a ring - great for travel! They would be great laminated.

Guess The States

We also played a game with the cards (take them off the ring and shuffle) that we made up, kind of like "Guess Who". Each of us drew a random state card then took turns asking questions about the state the other person was holding. 

Example questions: 
  • What is your state animal? 
  • Is it on the east coast? 
  • Does your state have mountains? 
  • Name something your state is known for (industry, landmark, food). 
  • Does it border Canada? 

If all the clues are revealed and the state has not been guessed yet, you can cover the name and show them the picture. If the state is guessed correctly the person who guessed it gets the card (point). If the state isn't guessed the person holding the card keeps the card (point). Whoever has the most cards (points) at the end of the game wins. 

Another version we played was for one person to take a card and give hints until someone guessed which state. Take turns drawing cards and giving the clues.

Sand Painting

Lindsey selected sand painting for our art project this week. We looked at examples of Navajo sand painting and symbols online. We also read about the Navajo people in Windows on the World. I found colored sand on clearance at Michael's with the summer camp crafts :) We used this rather than dying our own sand like suggested. If you dye your own sand kudos to you, I wasn't feeling that ambitious.

It took longer than we thought it would for the glue outlines to dry between colors. Once or twice we thought they were dry, but when we painted with the next color some of the new color stuck to the previous color that we thought was dry. So if you are trying this I recommend extra drying time between colors. 

We used a cardboard box lid to catch the extra sand and it really wasn't that messy for us. Exception: Our cat wanted to leave his artistic impression and walked through some of our sand painting while it was still wet leaving small colored sandy footprints on out art. We were able to brush most of it off :)

Lindsey made two sand paintings, one using symbols and one of a horse she named Waves. I created one also using symbols, a circle like a sun with feathers for the rays. 

This was a fun art project and pretty easy to do. The fewer colors you use the easier it is, but as long as you allow enough drying time between colors you can use as many as you like. Also put them somewhere to dry where your pets won't walk across them (apparently not our project table).

Star Spangled Banner

On 9/11 we watched Nick News: "What Happened? The Story of September 11, 2001", colored the American Flag page, learned about Francis Scott Key and our national anthem. We talked about how Francis Scott Key must have felt watching as bombs attacked our country through the night then seeing in the first morning light that the flag was still there. We also discussed 9/11, mostly focusing on how our nation pulled together to help each other. We focused on the heroes rather than the terrorists. God Bless America.

America's Favorite Footwear 

Lindsey likes fashion, duct tape, and crafts. When she started making flip-flops from duct tape and cardboard Wednesday afternoon I was amused. When she finished them I was impressed. She wore them to church that night. I challenged her to look up the history of flip-flops in American fashion. To top it off, since she was working on writing paragraphs in Writing Strands so I told her she could write her paragraphs about flip-flops and turn it into a blog post. You can see the results of her writing and flip-flop craft here:

Flat Lindsey Visits Hawaii

The flip-flops also tie in with Flat Lindsey's Hawaiian adventure this week :) She had a great time surfing, racing in a canoe, and learning about the Aloha State! You can find the travel log from her journey here:


This week Lindsey asked her dad to help her build a brush-bot. She found them on and wanted to make one and earn a badge. It's a simple robot using a battery, the head of a toothbrush, and a vibrator (they took one out of an old cell phone). The result was a mini robot that entertained us and the cat, while being educational to build. You could experiment with different brushes and/or batteries. You could also decorate your brush-bot. If you make more than one you can battle them against each other. Watch the brush-bot in action below:


We added spelling this week. We are using - it's free and there are 1001 6th grade spelling words. They offer downloadable spelling lists, lessons, games, and tests. I downloaded the list and Lindsey played one or two games of her choice then took the online test. At the end of the week I gave her a written test. Since she was her 5th grade class spelling champion and most of the time she is better at spelling than I am, I'm hoping this will work well for us. The words seemed a bit easy for her, but since it was just the first lesson I hope they will challenge her more as we go along. Maybe the lessons will help improve my spelling too :) In the meantime, I'll keep asking Lindsey how to spell stuff.

We enjoyed our United States adventures and now we are off to Mexico!  Fiesta time!



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