Thursday, December 1, 2016

:Waldorf Grade Four: {Geography Block}

  Somehow 2016 is nearly in the books and I still haven't had time to post about what we've been up to for the first semester.

  Jack's first block of Main Lessons from Waldorf Essentials is Local Geography. We started with drawing maps of our home, our street, our neighborhood, city, county and, eventually, state.  I really like how Waldorf Essentials provides a basic framework for lessons (and weekly form drawings and some writing practice) but leaves some room to customize them to fit your own needs.

Jack adding rivers and highways to his NC map
  We added in some local history by visiting Big Rock Park, which is conveniently just a few miles from us.  Nomadic groups of Paleo (or Archaic) Native Americans used this site as a campground dating back 12,000 years.  The gigantic rocks provided shelter from the cold winds that blew across the ancient grasslands and made great lookout points as the clans followed herds of big game.

Learning about the abundant tree nuts around the park.
Big Rocks are awesome!

We traveled to Winston-Salem for the Old Salem homeschool day to learn about the Moravian settlers who founded the town in 1766.  The boys were able to see demonstrations about gardening, rifle making, dyeing, hearth cooking and furniture joining. They got to make marbles from the clay that is dug up in a nearby creekbed, sample hot chocolate and cinnamon water as well as try their hand at writing with a feather quill and ink.  They had a really fun day and really got a sense for the life of an eighteenth-century settler.

Visiting a recreation of a typical kitchen garden
  In addition to drawing maps of the world around us, we also learned about map reading.  I used the Montessori three part (or nomenclature) cards to help us learn terms.  For fun we used our Safari Toobz World Landmarks and Around the Globe with these cards.  The cards don't quite match every landmark from our sets so I made a few more cards by finding a blank template.  The boys got the terms down quickly (yes, this activity was so fun the second grader joined in too), and worked together to plot out the landmarks.  We followed this blog post and used Google Earth to find the latitude and longitude of each landmark and then place it on the big world map.  They worked on the Great Wall of China first and were surprised that their coordinates led them to North Carolina!  They quickly realized that the Google Earth search found a local takeout restaurant instead of the actual Great Wall.  It was a great exercise to emphasize the importance of the East/West and North/South designations on the coordinates.  All three boys loved matching the landmark figures with their three part cards.

No comments:

Post a Comment