Thursday, September 18, 2008

History Curriculum

Now that I can breathe again, be prepared for a barrage of posts :)

One thing I've been meaning to blog about for ages is a world history curriculum I found. I can't remember whose blog I read it on, but a while ago I saw a link to this free world history study -

I was (and still am) totally blown away by it! There are a couple of versions available - one based on creationism, one on evolution. It uses books that are easily available as the "spine" - I've purchased 2 books as the texts and will more than likely get the rest from the library as needed. The main book we're using is the The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia Of World History - at the rate we're planning on going it will last many, many years!

The curriculum covers from pre-history through to the Roman Empire and Aztecs - the author is now working on the next one. It has lesson plans for 5 days /week for 36 weeks but is designed to be done however you want - we're working at roughly 1 lesson / week, so we'll be doing it for a while! My rough plan is to cover prehistory to the end of the dinosaurs this term, Mammals through to First Civilizations in Term 1, our own unit on Australian Aboriginals in Term 2, and Ancient Egypt in Terms 3 & 4. As I said - my rough plan! It may not work out that way!!

We're adding some of our own activities in as we go - beacuse I can never follow anything to the letter! - a couple of things we've done have been to make fossils, and to make our own volcano.

Fossils: Mix plaster of paris

Place feathers, shells etc into a container and cover with plaster of paris

Let dry, tip out, remove the items and voila - fossils!

Then when one doesn't want to come out, re-read the instructions and realise you forgot the layer of sand! Oh well, fossil in progress..

And then since the plaster is out, make a hand-cast!

Volcano: mix the dough with some friends

Mould dough around a small plastic bottle.
3/4 fill with warm water, 2 tbsp bicarb, a few drops of food colouring and some dishwashing detergent.

Add vinegar

Stand back and watch the lava flow!

The only thing I've found odd about the curriculum is that it adds in literature & poetry that don't seem to relate to the history in any way. The first one is "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - Billy had just finished watching the original Willy Wonka for about the 10th time when we started so we're currently reading through that anyway. We may or may not do the others but there are some good choices there.


Jayne said...

Another fossil idea is to put one of those small plastic dinosaurs in the plaster, let it set, then Billy can play paleontologist and chip it free of the plaster ;)
That website looks interesting :)

Kez said...

Hi Jayne,

He actually got one of those type of kits for his b'day as well - so he had a lot of fun doing that!

The Tin House said...

Kez, this sounds so exciting. I'm a history lover, from a family of history lovers. I loved every one of my high school history teachers as they seemed to make the stories come alive, and that sounds like what you're doing. My all time favourite school activities were colouring in some amazing scenes of roman battalions marching in straight lines somewhere...can't remember where...And the stories of the preserved bodies found in peat bogs in Europe.
Another idea: national geographic kids is a lovely magazine - might make a nice Chrissy prezzy - full of all sorts of goodies to interest little boys.

Lisa x

Kez said...

Thanks Lisa - I hadn't heard of that one. Off to check it out..