Africa Unit Study

Africa Unit – Desert

After doing a quick overview of what biomes are in general, Caleb told me that deserts were his favorite. Lucky for him the next topic in our Africa Unit Study is deserts, Sahara Desert to be exact. Please take a look at the link if you are interested in other topics we have covered so far in Africa.

We started with this you-tube video. It was very short (2:42)  but a great intro to deserts. It had several vocabulary words that tied in perfectly with the books we read.

The first book we read was Living in the Desert by Carol Baldwin. We enjoyed this book . There was a lot of overview information but we learned about different adaptations plants and animals have to survive the desert and the impact humans are having on them. The only complaint Caleb had was that he wished there were more pictures of the plants and animals that were referred to. The pictures that were shown were bright and clear.

The next book we read was Deserts Endangered People and Places. We only read a few pages out of here about the Tuareg people of the Sahara. The pictures were grainy and it was a very brief overview of this culture. It was a good launching pad for us because we than did a bit more research online.

I decided to do an art lesson right off the bat for this unit. I love Patty over at Deep Space Sparkle. She makes the lessons extremely easy to follow and to teach. Xander even joined us on this project. He sat through the entire lesson and did his best to copy what we were doing.

We than did a desert animal lapbook that I found from 2 Ladybugs and a Lizard. Kattie originally got it from homeshare.com. The instructions were extremely easy to follow and all information you needed was included. That did not stop Caleb, however, from investigating further. I’ve been having him practice his public speaking skills by orally going through his lapbooks in front of myself and his brothers (I rope Dad in too when he is available). This time, Caleb stopped numerous times to interject info he found out on his own. I never mind those types of interruptions.

We jumped back into art with a painting project from Art with Mrs. Seitz. I got all three boys to join in with this one. I LOVE when I can get them all together on a project. This one does take a few days to complete because you have to wait for the paint to dry before continuing. They turned out pretty good though.

Next, we did an experiment showing how cactus’s are able to keep water. I found this on ehow school projects with cactus. There are 5 different project ideas listed but we only did this one. You had to get 3 different pieces of paper towel wet. Then lay one out flat, place 2nd in a glass cup, and 3rd wrap in wax paper and place in a glass cup. You than left them out for a few hours. We were able to see that the one in wax paper was still very wet while they other two were dry. Caleb had to write a lab report about this experiment. He drew a picture of what he did, made a list of the steps and then wrote a paragraph of his big take away.

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Finally, we watched Eyewitness DVD: Desert. This video is 35 minutes. We have been watching several different Eyewitness DVD’s lately and overall we do like the series. This one, however, has been my least favorite. It felt to move slower than any of the other DVD’s we have watched. The information as always was good and even though this was the last thing we did in this unit, there were a few new things we learned.

To wrap everything up, Caleb wrote a short essay on things that he learned. I’m not sure if it was because we did this unit the same time as oceans in American History but overall we found this unit quite dry….;) get it quite dry LOL. So sorry for that joke but hey it’s late. =) Anyways, this was mainly for me. Besides the art projects I was bored with this lesson. Caleb thankfully did not seem to mind and true to form he told me he enjoyed it. Well, it is now time to move on to the African Savanna.

Happy Learning Everyone!

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