Showing posts with label States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label States. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nature Journal: Carolina Wolf Spider

This humongous spider has a nice little hidey hole in our flower bed. We found out some cool stuff about it when we started investigating to find out what it is:

Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis)
  • Largest wolf spider in North America
  • Average 3 to 4 inches long
  • Live in the ground and cannot climb very well
  • Hunt at night, and their 8 eyes reflect light and appear to glow
  • Official state spider of South Carolina (the only state with a state spider)
  • Cool fact: the female carries her egg sac around with her, and when it "hatches," the tiny babies crawl up her legs onto her back and stay there until they are big enough to fend for themselves. 
Stuff to do:
  1. Draw a picture of the Carolina Wolf Spider in your nature journal.
  2. Read more about spiders in these books: Spiders by Gail Gibbons, Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, One Small Square: Backyard by Donald Silver, and The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.
  3. Research this spider and add classification information to your notebook:
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Chelicerata (Chelicerates)
Class Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order Araneae (Spiders)
Infraorder Araneomorphae (True Spiders)
No Taxon (Entelegynes )
Family Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)
Genus Hogna
Species carolinensis (Carolina Wolf Spider)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hands and Hearts History Kits

As part of our studies, we have used three different Hands and Hearts history kits:  Ancient Far East Kit, Early American Kit, and Westward Expansion Kit. My favories part of these kits is that the materials you need to complete the projects are included (a great plus for a busy mom,) and they are of high quality so the finished projects become true keepsakes.

We use a mixture of curriculum resources but rely primarily upon Sonlight as the backbone of our studies. Hands and Hearts history kits are a perfect complement to Sonlight's history. My "hands-on" learners enjoy doing the projects, and I enjoy extending their learning with the additional commentary and resources included on the CD that comes with each kit.

Buffalo tooth necklace from Westward Expansion kit.

I have chosen to print out all the project instruction pages and keep them in a binder, printing out the notebooking pages as needed. We have especially liked using the notebooking pages as the base for each of my boys' field trip scrapbooks where they paste photos and brochures from places we visit that correlate to our lessons.

Buffalo horn whistle from Westward Expansion kit.

In addition to using Sonlight, we spent a year doing The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray (see my sidebar for a link) along with the two Hands and Hearts American history kits. Using the Early American kit, the boys made apple pomanders which they gave their grandmothers for Christmas, beeswax candles, bamboo flutes, bone cross necklaces which they still wear, and authentic-looking wooden hornbooks among other projects.

Hornbook from Early American kit.

Some of our favorite projects from the Westward Expansion kit were the leather pouch and glass marbles, the buffalo whistle, and the buffalo tooth necklace.  My boys are proud of the crafts they have completed, and ask frequently if I have a project for them to go along with something we are reading or learning. My 7-year old carries around his marble pouch all the time, and even brings it along when we travel. The necklaces have been worn around town as well as during dress-up play time. The boys enjoyed comparing the buffalo tooth to their teeth, our dog's teeth, our cat's teeth, etc...

Leather pouch and marbles from Westward Expansion kit.
 (My son added in some of his other mables, too.)

A nice aspect of these kits is that once you buy the main kit, you can order additional student kits for a reduced price since some of the materials can be shared. My boys appreciate having their own materials, and they proudly wear, display, and play with their completed "artifacts."

Buffalo bone cross necklace from Early American kit.

The kit instructions are clear, and though some of the projects are more challenging than others, the kits are easily adapted to various ages/grades. I have successfully used the projects with a preschooler, an elementary schooler, and a middle schooler. I have used the background material as a resource which I refer back to time and again. Though I have used these kits as an accompaniment to our other curriculum resources, I believe you could use them as stand-alone history courses.

Though I purchased all of my own kits, Hands and Hearts has graciously provided me with a coupon code for my blog readers for 15% off any order. Simply use the code "learningtable" with your order (expires at midnight on June 11, 2011.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap: Still Learning about the USA!

The Great American Postcard Swap is still ongoing, and we just received our Rhode Island postcard. Our homeschool group recently held a USA Fair where kids signed up to study a state and create a project board and presentation on what they learned. We all also brought food from the states we studied to share for lunch. My boys had fun learning about Texas and  how to cook chili, and they did a great job speaking in front of the group. 

I took photos of some of the display boards:

We were able to get free travel brochures from the Texas Department of Tourism to cut apart and use for the display board, and my oldest included a press release he found on Rick Riordin's website since he is from San Antonio (and is one of his favorite authors),







New York

North Carolina



The kids did such a good job putting together their displays, and we learned some cool facts about some of the states we've gotten postcards from in the GAPS as well as some that we haven't learned about yet. Trying out different foods was fun too!

Follow all of our Great American Postcard Swap posts here!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap {Louisiana}

The Louisiana Tourism site has tons of stuff -- Louisiana should be called the festival state as it hosts celebrations for everything from jazz,cotton, shrimp, and gumbo to sugercane and crawfish!

Food and music go hand-in-hand in Louisiana. We listened to some chank-a-chank here since we aren't able to go to Mulate's in person right now. My sister-in-law,  who has Cajun roots, has a cousin who is in a chank-a-chank band!

We learned some Cajun history and printed out this unit study.

The movie Belizaire the Cajun taught us a  great deal more about Cajun history:

Belizaire the Cajun starring Armand Assante

For my younger state fact learners, Thacher Hurd's Mama Don't Allow is a fun romp through the swamp with an animal band -- great illustrations provide inspiration for some coloring fun. Crank up some jazz and pull out the pastels!

Mama Don't Allow by Thacher Hurd

Laisez les bons temps rouler!
(Let the good times roll!)

Follow all of our Great American Postcard Swap posts here!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap {Kentucky}

The Bluegrass State is the birthplace of both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, home to Fort Knox and the Kentucky Derby, and headquarters of the Louisville Slugger.

The Kentucky Derby Museum site has a kid's section with a great reading list, and we found a download of a free Abraham Lincoln lapbook here.

I lucked out and found the book, Student History Notebook of America in brand new condition at the thrift store, but it is also available here. If you want an all-in-one place to keep up with state studies, this is very thorough and user-friendly, with maps, timelines, journal pages, and more. The only drawback to this format over a looseleaf notebook is that you can't cut and paste too many items in this one because of the binding, but you could take it to a print shop and have the binding sliced off and holes punched.

Student History Notebook of America

We have requested tourism brochures, which most states will mail you for free by doing a search for the department of tourism or chamber of commerce for the states we are studying. These make great cut-and-paste additions to the notebooking pages. My kids enjoy drawing the state flower, bird, and flag themselves most of the time, but the cut-outs are a nice time-saver when the artistic muse is on vacation.

Follow all of our Great American Postcard Swap posts here!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap: Book Finds

The Presidents of the United States
Fast-Fact Book
50 Great States
Fast-Fact Book

I found both of these books on the $1 aisle at Target. The Presidents book lists all of the US presidents, their home state, a few facts about them, and includes a portrait of each one. The 50 States book includes a nice color drawing of the state birds and flags, maps, and facts about each state including its capital, nickname, and state flower. This is a nice reference for the kids' state notebooking pages, and both were a great find for a dollar each.  

Gotta love Target!  

We've put our notebooks on hold for the past few weeks to soak up some summer laziness, but we will be diving back into them in a week or two and trying to catch up to the postcard swap.

Follow all of our Great American Postcard Swap posts here!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap {Kansas}

Besides being the setting for The Wizard of Oz, Kansas played a large part in the lives of the pioneers settling the West. 

Wizard of OZ movie posterImage via Wikipedia

We learned about the history of Old West Kansas here and followed the links for some interesting articles and old photographs to find information for our notebook pages. The Herbert Hoover Library has free a unit study about the early settlers and travelers through Kansas, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder family.

Follow all of our Great American Postcard Swap posts here!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap: {Indiana and Iowa}

Here is a teacher's resource packet for discovering more about Abraham Lincoln and pioneer life in Indiana.
And here is a lesson plan with resources relating to WWII, the military, and Memorial Day from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 500 Festival.


Visit the Iowa State Fair and see the butter carving competition.

Butter Cow

Iowa was once the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House book series.  Here is a link to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Homesite.

The Little House series is a great window into the lives of the pioneers, and Margie Gray's Prairie Primer is a terrific resource for extending this into a year-long unit study.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Great American Postcard Swap: 50 Card Pick-up

This Teach-Me About the United States 50 Flash Cards Games in Color set was such a cool find at the thrift store, and all the cards are intact. Each card lists state facts on one side and shows the region on the other side. We are sure that the population data is way out of date, though, since the printing date for the set is 1962! It's fun to look through the facts and compare the data to what we've found in more recent resources.