My notes from what we did during this unit are pretty sketchy, so briefly, here are our activities:
~ learned about the geographical features mesa and gully. We found examples of these in the book, and K drew a picture with both.
~ reviewed tall tales and read some new ones that K wasn't familiar with.
~ talked about light waves and reflections. While at the river and then a park for T's rows, we stopped and admired the reflections in the water.
~ learned about the flora and fauna of the desert. I introduced the term stomata and had K look at a houseplant leaf under a hand microscope. Typical houseplants release quite a bit of water through their stomata, but desert plants were created quite differently in order to survive in their arid homes. We looked for the desert plants and animals pictured in the book and made a list of them. We also read through some library books about desert plants and animals.
~ read cowboy genre storybooks and learned about what life was like for cowboys.
~ learned about sand. Leave it to Five in a Row to make this a topic for exploration and in the process, find out what a fascinating topic it can be! In Gramma's Walk we had learned that the sand on ocean beaches can be many different colors. This time we learned more specifics, such as what sand is made of, how it's made, and products it can be made into (glass!). A fascinating book we checked out from the library was A Grain of Sand. Author and photographer Gary Greenberg has developed a micro-photography technique to magnify grains of sand 200 times. The result is an amazing collection of photos showing the mind-boggling array of colors, textures, and shapes found in grains of sand around the world. Who knew!
~learned how to draw a sombrero and reviewed shading. K also wanted to watercolor a picture of a storm like the illustrations in the book. After the watercolors were dry, she cut out her sombrero drawing and glued it onto the painting so it looked like the sombrero was blowing away in the storm as it did in the story. This turned out well!
~ made a meal of sopes, which seemed to be a version of fry bread, complete with fixings. They were delicious. Unfortunately, I again forgot to take a picture. I had also intended to include a lesson on peppers as we prepared the meal, since we still had pepper plants producing in our garden. However, we didn't get to this as preparing the sopes took all our time and attention.
This was a fun book to row with some memorable topics to learn about!