Friday, January 22, 2016

American Revolution Unit Study: Jamestown Paper Model and History of Us

After our unit on Hawaii/vacation to Hawaii, I am ALL ABOUT conducting a major unit study that culminates in a road trip on that theme.

Our next big unit study/road trip?

The American Revolution!

I'm super excited, because I LOVE traveling, as do the kids. I've also promised them many Junior Ranger badges, one of their favorite things about traveling, and the fact that we have Syd's free Every Kid in a Park national parks pass is cake AND icing AND candy decorations on top!

I'm still in the early planning stages of our road trip, but if you want to see what I've got so far--and especially if you want to make suggestions about where else we should go!--then you can check out my Roadtrippers route here. Even though I've got Assateague Island National Seashore on the route, as it's less than an hour from Washington, DC, we're really probably not actually going to go further south than DC (I SUPER want to see the wild ponies again, but the kids and I *have* already been there...), which means that we won't actually see Jamestown, Virginia, in person.

All the better, then, to make a model of it!

For background information and historical context, we're moving quickly through Joy Hakim's Making Thirteen Colonies, before we begin with studying the American Revolution itself. We'll use Hakim's From Colonies to Country as our spine for that, and then finish up with The New Nation. After that, we may continue with US history, or may move on to a different historical subject altogether--we'll see!

Anyway, for history this week we listened to the first four chapters of Making Thirteen Colonies. Sidebar: I LOVE that both Story of the World and History of Us have audiobook versions. Their narrative style works well as audio, and it allows the entire family to absorb the same material, while working on a related hands-on project, such as coloring pages or the model-making that we did here.

These chapters cover a wide swath of historical background on the Age of Exploration that we'll dive deep into another time, but they also discuss the founding of Jamestown, and that's what we focused on here. My goal was to familiarize the children with the basic structure and organization of a typical colonial town, so I had the kids each play through the Jamestown Online Adventure, and then we worked together as a family to create this paper model of Jamestown.

The kids did all the coloring (we LOVE Prismacolor colored pencils, although lately I've tried replacing a few of the stubs with the Dick Blick brand, to see if I like them enough to switch. I remain undecided) and cutting out--

--and I helped only by assembling the fiddly outer wall myself. Pro tip: Use hot glue instead of the white glue or tape that the tutorial calls for.

Here is a testament to how fun this project is:

WILL cut out every single house and assembled them. Happily! Frankly, this is the first time that I have ever seen my 11-year-old lefty cut anything with precision. Her scissors skills, up until this very moment, have been tragic, largely because although I have always provided her with left-handed scissors, she has always insisted on attempting to cut right-handed, and she is in no way naturally ambidextrous enough to have accomplished it before. As with her print handwriting, which she also learned there, and is also terrible, I suspect that her Montessori preschool/kindergarten did not focus enough attention on teaching her proper left-handed techniques. I have spent years--and am still spending those years!--working with her on her cursive handwriting, so knowing that time and maturity is improving her scissors skills is a huge relief.

As for the reason why she enjoyed cutting out and assembling these houses so much?

They. Are. ADORABLE!!!

Seriously, I know that this is meant to be a paper model and accuracy is key, of course, but this paper Jamestown is one of the cutest things that we have ever created. It's wee and the houses are sweet. You don't have to glue them down, so you can play with them and rearrange them. It's a terrific little small world that, if you've got young ones who love such play, would be worth making FOR them, simply so they could have it to enjoy:

Each of us has been found with our head on the table, peering in the little doors. It's enchanting.

The kids have already used it for pretend play--here, you'll see the game entitled Gracie is Godzilla--

--and although it's still on our school table, after we move on from Jamestown I'll put tiny Jamestown on the shelves in the playroom where I keep the children's small world toys. I think they're going to be playing with this one a lot!

P.S. We're not using many more resources to study Jamestown, but here are some more that I found in my research:


Tina said...

I wish I had my printer!

This looks super fun :0)

What is Roadtrippers? It sounds interesting.

julie said...

Oh, my gosh, Tina, you will LOVE Roadtrippers! It's a free site that allows you to map out and save road trip itineraries. It includes estimates of driving time, so while I wouldn't use it to replace Mapquest or my Tomtom or anything, it is super useful in planning stops along a trip and organizing them.

I'm not sure if this link will work, but here's my American Revolution road trip so far:!9522237

Tina said...

Oh, that sounds cool! The link doesn't pull up your route, but I think I might play around with this for our trip to BreyerFest this summer. Thanks!

Tina said...

Ha! Once I created an account I could see your route! Off to play with Roadtrippers!

krhod said...

Do you have a copy of the pdf for the Jamestown model the link is broken or they don't sell it anymore? :(

julie said...

The Jamestown paper model pdf is now $2.95 from Homeschool in the Woods, it looks like:

I also really like this set of pdf lesson plans that require a student to make her own paper model of Jamestown after researching it: