Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ancient Native Americans

In Lesson 48 of our MOH text, we learned about "Ancient Native Americans." One of the most interesting things about these groups was their humongous burial mounds.
 To supplement our reading, we also perused The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History ...
... which pictured the Great Serpent Mound we read about in our MOH text, as well as ...
... Usborne's Who Were the First North Americans? book.  (You can pick up both of these great books at
The third book we supplemented this lesson with I have been using a lot more lately in our studies, The Complete Book of United States History for Grades 3-5.
 They had some more great information on the mound builders ...
 ... with an awesome aerial photograph of that Great Serpent Mound!
Of course, living within driving distance of the Etowah Indian Mounds, how could we not make a visit to see some of these structures in person?
 Here is a model in the museum of how the village (with its three mounds) would have looked in its prime. 
 A replica village house!
 The ceiling with its opening for the fire's smoke to escape.
 Headed for the mounds!
 It was such a beautiful day!
 Ready to climb!
 The view from the top!
 Enjoying the view!
 On top of an authentic Native American burial mound!
 She spotted the smallest one!
We talked about why living by the Etowah River would have been a great benefit for these people.
 Down by the river!
 We secretly grabbed a little bit of dirt from the area (is this legal?) and put some in an envelope to add to our mound project we would do at home later.
 Etowah dirt!
 In the gift shop there, before we left, we grabbed this neat "Ancient Native People" pine needle basket kit to put together.
 Once home, it was time to work on our own mound model.  The text suggested we make it into an animal shape, like the mounds of the Hopewells, and that we add a bone under it.  My husband is a chef so I asked him to bring home a little bone for our project and this is what he brought, this GIGANTIC ham bone.  Maggie and I laughed because we were expecting a little chicken wing bone.  We realized our mound would have to be bigger than we planned!
 It was a little gross.  (I guess he will be a great resource when we study Anatomy!)
First, we added some dirt to the bottom of a shoebox.
 Then, we put our bone in the dirt.
 We covered the bone and added more dirt for mounding.
 We remembered to add our dirt from the real Etowah mounds to our project!
 Then, she started shaping.  Her favorite animal is the wolf and after learning that the Archaic Indians used wolf skins for hunting, she decided shaping a wolf for her mound was a good idea.
Our cat, Emmett, wanted in on this project, too!
 Here is our mound, a wolf head!
This was a really fun lesson!

Apologia: Zoology 1 - Lesson 2

As much as I love Apologia science (and I REALLY do!), this book (Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day) is a bit of a challenge to plan around.  Why?  Because there are quite a few months when insects are scarce (winter) and when they are not, the birds are scarce from our feeders.  So, I have had to plan accordingly.  Right now, we are back in the full study of birds, as we rarely see insects, and these hungry birds are visiting our deck around the clock.  If you've been following along with our Apologia studies, there is your explanation.  Now, let's talk about what we did with Lesson 2 in this text!
First, let me share this picture of my favorite little ornithologist!  
With this lesson, we have learned about the benefits of birds, what makes a bird a bird, and how to identify different species of birds from one another.  We have also learned about bird calls and songs, as well as other behaviors.
Here, Maggie is using our large ruler and the text to see the length of popular birds from the tips of their bills to the ends of their tails.
Next, we set up a "bird box" at our back windows, for Maggie to do her observation and research, complete with a bird field guide, a notebook, pencils, and binoculars.
One of the first things we did with our bird box materials was complete a list in our notebooking journal of all of the birds that visit our yard.
Mags spotted a cardinal!
He is gorgeous!
Here is her completed sheet!
Next, we completed a bird map, labeling all the parts of a bird with a bird key she designed.
Looks great, Mags!
Here are a few more notebook activities that we did.  (I LOVE Apologia!)
For some extra work on bird calls and songs, we read this Sing, Nightingale, Sing! book and CD by Francoise de Guibert, a book I picked up from my Usborne consultant (you can get it at  We paid close attention to the sounds the birds that frequent our backyard make.
Next, it was time for an experiment to see which food our backyard birds prefer!  We took two of the same types of feeder and filled one with black oil sunflower seed ...
... and the other with safflower seed.
We placed both of them in the same area on our deck.
Then, we observed.  Here is a visitor to the safflower seed ...
... and here are two to the black oil sunflower seed.  Maggie's hypothesis was that the black oil sunflower seed would be the preferred food.
One day later, and here is a picture of our black oil sunflower seed feeder (almost half gone) ...
... and here is a picture of the feeder with the safflower seed (still full)!
Maggie's hypothesis proved correct!  Here is her experimentation sheet!
Birds are so fun!