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  1. #1

    Default Putting together unit studies?

    I am looking for ideas on how to put together a unit study. Besides gathering books on a subject (like the Ice Age, early man, dinosaurs, ancient Egypt), what should I be including? Chances to write? Some sort of project? This is for 2nd grade. Or can anyone recommend a good resource for finding unit studies?

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  3. #2


    I know that Build Your Library has unit studies. But they are pretty limited.

    I usually built my own.

    For history, First, interesting books on the topic. I created my own timeline and we would locate the time frame for the topic. If your child likes arts & crafts, consider having some art project. I usually included a video. If they like coloring there are lots of fun activity sheets for many of those topics. And maps. You can either have a map to trace where things happened or have a smaller map for coloring.

    For science, books on the concept, I would do a science experiment, and watch a video on the concept. In second grade, you could have them to a basic worksheet to write in their experiment.

  4. #3


    Moving Beyond the Page has unit studies you can buy individually, as well as together in a full curriculum. Teachers Pay Teachers is a good resource for unit studies as well. Build Your Library has a unit for prehistory, since you happened to mention that in your post above... I bought it this summer and will be using it with my kiddo this year. I think we'll have fun with it, but I'm also tailoring most of the units I purchased specifically to my son's strengths and interests...

    If you want to put units together yourself, it's definitely doable. I put together an astronomy unit for my 5th grader, and he's been enjoying it so far! I pulled together a few books (a DK resource as a "spine," plus two other books to give a little more depth on specific topics, and a third book of weird space facts, just for fun), came up with a few experiments and hands-on activities to reinforce the stuff I most wanted to teach, plus a few worksheets to help him process/organize the new information he was exposed to. I also found a few videos that would be fun to watch to further enhance and reinforce the readings. We've been working our way through it for 4 weeks now, and we're a week away from the final lesson I put together. His final project for the unit will be a wanted poster for an astronomer who's discovered something about the universe that he thinks is pretty cool. So he'll need to pick something that interests him out of all the things we've discussed in the last month, find out who made the discovery, and then research that person. He'll put together a picture (photo/illustration from the internet) and a brief write-up of what they contributed to the science of astronomy. I have a Google Doc template he can fill in for the wanted poster, or he can make up his own format. He actually asked for a test, so I made one up to give him when the unit's complete. I won't be grading it so much as using it to assess Then we're moving on to a unit on the solar system, from Moving Beyond the Page. Our science scope will keep narrowing down throughout the year, focusing on smaller and smaller things, until we're learning about atoms and molecules in the spring.

    I'd say that yes, your unit should include chances to write at an age-appropriate level. And then at the end of the unit, a project that involves some creativity instead of just regurgitating the information, so you know your kiddo's really learned what they should from what you've taught... For example, while we're doing prehistory, one small project I'm planning on doing with my 5th grader is having him come up with "menus" for a paleolithic and a neolithic restaurant. If he understands how the food options should change based on the invention of agriculture, then I'll know he's learned the key points without needing to give him a test or have him write an essay.

    I agree with Mariam's point about maps. They're great for social studies activities - geography isn't my strong suit, but I find that when I do investigate a map along with learning history, I understand the history/archaeology/etc better. You can find maps to have your child color, based on whatever they're learning. They can label important features of the land or track the progress of an army or the travels of a key historical figure, etc.

    I don't think much about art, because my kiddo hates it with a passion. But if you have a kid who enjoys artsy activities, add in an art/craft project or two. Whatever they'll find fun and you'll find useful, go for it.

  5. #4


    I would also add some sort of cooking component to the unit study, if appropriate. What did early man, or the Egyptians, eat?

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  6. #5


    Good advice!

    Also, dont worry about doing everything you had planned. Sometimes we are sure that something will be a hit, and it flops.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  7. #6


    I definitely second inmom's cooking suggestion! We'll be cooking authentic(ish) meals for each of our ancient history civilizations, to the best of our suburban New Jersey kitchen abilities.

  8. #7


    This is a great reminder, thank you. After putting all this effort into making a unit study for the kid, I would probably feel pretty bummed if he doesn't like it and doesn't want to finish it! He does hop around a fair amount in his interests (as do I...).

  9. #8


    Great ideas, thank you!

  10. #9


    This was really helpful, thank you!

  11. #10


    Let us know how it goes! And remember it is a learning experience for you, too!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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Putting together unit studies?