North America Continent Box Resources & Lesson Plans Round 1
We have had so much fun diving more into the geography sequence this year. Prior to this year, much of our cultural exploration has been completely child-led. We are leaning into balancing child-led and moving through the progression for year 2&3 of Montessori Primary to ensure we have an opportunity to experience the whole 3-6 sequence. This year we are exploring North America, Antarctica, and then South America. The Montessori Method is scaffolded so this unit will come back around in elementary more than once and I’ll also be using this with our younger two when they are ready for 3-6.
Going into this unit, my oldest already knew what continent she lives on but we hadn’t explored the biomes, the people groups, other countries, and animals that live here. We explored different cuisine, cultures, languages, and more! I wanted to be very intentional about making sure we learn about many cultures and people groups on each continent. I love how the biome approach organically brings this in. We had planned to study all of the North American biomes in detail this year, but we did a deep dive into the Cherokee culture so this shifted. We will do more Biomes the next time around as well! With the biome exploration you explore a people group of a different culture, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants.
In addition to this, we brought diversity in through our book choices. I sprinkled these throughout the first four weeks of our unit. This allowed us to consider different cultures, different people groups, and different geological locations throughout the whole unit. There are so many ways to bring in a variety of experiences while doing continent studies.
I originally planned for this unit to take four weeks but we added to it, changed directions, and extended some of our studies. It ended up taking 5 weeks and I had to cut out some biomes this time around. We will be diving deeper into those cultures and biomes the next time we explore North America. I honestly had planned way too much for one month. Go figure 😉
Week 1 – Traditional & Political
The next time we open up our North America Continent Box, I plan to add DIY pin it maps and maybe highlight some specific countries alongside our biome focus. I also hope to add some more pieces of the cultures we explore such as coins, or stamps, or other pieces of their culture. There were also many activities on my list that just didn’t make it on the shelf this time around. We still had plenty to do throughout our study and I love that we can add to this and shift over time to suit the needs and interests of each child.
- Review Continent Globe, Continent, Map & the Continent Song (which we love! We do this version.)
- North America puzzle/map (We own this one from Kid Advance)
- Paint North America Map (Free Printable- North America Activity Printable from Every Star is Different)
- North America Country and Flag Match Up (Free Printable- North America Activity Printable from Every Star is Different)
- Book: “The Very First Americans” by Cara Ashrose
- Explored photos from my Missions Trip to the Dominican Republic; discussed and told stories (unplanned and child-led!)
- Book: “We’re different, We’re the Same” by Bobbi Kates
- Book: “The Statue of Liberty” by Tyler Monroe
- Book: “Carson Crosses Canada” by Linda Bailey
- Animals of North America (general exploration and play with our Schleich animals)
Week 2 – Explorers + Wild Turkey Mini Unit
I originally intended for the Explorers and Ingenious Peoples to be covered this week together but my girls saw the turkey materials I was prepping and had to dive in (that night!) so I shifted. That’s the beauty of homeschool + following the child. This is another lovely unit from Stephanie Hathaway. I adore her work and the girls have loved everything we have incorporated.
I came across Every Star is Different’s resources for Thanksgiving and I fell in love. She did such a great job with realistic images and true history, not a white washed version. But it also isn’t too much for younger children. I really liked her wording when discussing slavery and colonialism as well. It was a great place to get our feet wet with these topics in our own country (we’ve discussed slavery in other cultures prior to this but not American slavery).
My daughters have been interested in birds and specifically turkeys on and off this year. Our sweet neighbor helped them collect bird feathers and we had a few different types of wild turkey fathers. Because of this recurring interest, when I saw this Wild Turkey Unit from Stephanie Hathaway’s Designs, I had to grab it. I didn’t need to anything to this but I did elect to grab this book and I am so happy we did. I feel like we could easily track turkeys and explore them either now or in the spring.
- Book: “If you Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620” by Ann McGovern
- Book: “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble: A Year in the Life of a Wild Turkey” by Cathryn Falwell
- Turkey Fact Sheet
- How to Draw a Turkey
- Types of Turkey Feathers (matched real to poster)
- Lifecycle of the Turkey
- Identification: Compared difference between a hen, juvenile male, and a Jake
- Anatomy of a Turkey
- Cutting Work
- Fine Art & Poetry
To see more of the Wild Turkey Mini Unit we did, click here.
Week 3 – Indigenous Peoples of Continental US + Explorers (Wild Turkey Unit still on the shelf) & Thanksgiving Focus
- Book: “If you Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620” by Ann McGovern
- Colonist’s Needs of Man
- Occupations of the Colonists
- Common Crops of Indigenous People in what is now the continental US
- Regions in the US where indigenous people groups lived
- Indigenous people needs of man
- Watched Pocahontas and discussed Adaptations vs. True Stories; discussed differences between movie and real life
- Book: “Give Thanks to the Lord” by Karma Wilson
- Talk: First Thanksgiving Feast & how we celebrate today (and why!)
Week 4 – Cherokee & Temperate Forest
- Book: “The Color of Us” by Karen Katz
- Book: “The Name Jar” by Yangsook Choi
- Book: “If you Lived with a Cherokee” by Peter and Connie Roop
- Hands on Play (creative child-led play reenacting parts of the book with found objects in home and yard)
Week 5 – Cherokee & Temperate Forest
- Book: “If you lived with a Cherokee” by Peter and Connie Roop
- Biomes of North America Cards (DIY; Link Below) & Further Exploration of Cherokee People (Needs of man and culture)
- Temperate Forest/Appalachian Forest 3 Part Cards: Plants & Classification of Animals
- Temperate Forest/Appalachian Forest 3 Part Cards: Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and plants
- Cherokee Dish: Venison Stew
Next time we explore North America together, we will be diving into Desert/The Dine (Navajo), Grasslands/Iowas, Wetlands/Cajun, the Mountains/Mayans, and the Polar Region/Inuit biomes. It was really hard for me to cut this, but since we added in more on the front end, we didn’t have time to explore all 6 biomes this time around. But we did SO much!
Resources and inspiration for planning:
- Wild Turkey Unit by Stephanie Hathaway Designs *$7 and she runs sales regularly
- Every Star is Different – Explorers and Colonists (she also has Native Americans Printable and a Thanksgiving Printable that we have not used yet! See it in action here) *Subscriber Freebie
- North America Unit by Every Star is Different (We used her continent 3 part cards, the North America Continent Printable for Painting, and the flag/country match up this time around) *Subscriber Freebie
- North America Biome 3 Part Cards and Cherokee/Appalachian Forest (Our North America Temperate Forest Biome) – Freebie from our home to yours – enjoy but link back to this post to share 🙂