Saturday, November 6, 2010

Expedition Australia and Keeping it Real

We spent this week doing the Download N Go unit Expedition Australia.  I have to be honest and say that my heart just was not in it.  I still wanted to do it, but I just could not get out of my own way this week.  Do you ever have a week like that?  I guess that is the beauty of Download N Go.  We could have made a salt dough map of Australia or made didgeridoos or boomerangs or a hundred other wonderful projects that would make for a fabulous blog post and wonderful memories BUT for this week, we "only" covered the lessons and made a few of the lapbooking minit books provided in the unit study.  And, do you know what?  It was enough!  It was plenty.  In my perfectionism, I still wish that we had been able to do some projects but I am OK with the fact that we didn't.

Have you ever done a Download N Go Unit?  I'd love for you to comment on this post.  I'm not giving anything away this time but I would love to hear from you! :)

Download N Go units are designed for grades K-4 but Ryan (grade 5) also did Expedition Australia.  In each Download N Go unit study you get 5 days of lessons.  The work is really all done for you.  There is an extensive list of library books you can choose from if you wish but they are totally unnecessary!  The links provided in the unit study give you all the information you need!  There are videos, informational links, links to maps and the flag and the national anthem and so much more. I think I might say this with every unit, but I really love how much geography there is in these units.  Before I decided to use Download N Go this year, I had already decided I wanted to focus on geography a lot this year and these units sure fit the bill for that.

Our library books

In Expedition Australia the 5 days of lessons are:

Day 1: Where on Earth Is Australia?
Day 2: Some of the Special Places in Australia
Day 3: A Bit of Australian History
Day 4: Cool Things to Know About Australia
Day 5: Fun and Games in Australia

Here are a few sample pages:

The way I used this unit was to review the next day's lesson the night before and choose pages to print.The next day, we gathered around the laptop to watch the videos and complete the worksheets.  I print them on "fast draft" to save ink.  For Expedition Australia, Emma (2nd grade) and Ryan (5th grade) used this unit.  Some of the other kids also participated by coloring flags and watching videos.  This is another feature of Download N Go that I is versatile and easy to use for children older and younger than the K-4 it is recommended for.

Some of the fun things we learned about this week are marsupials, boomerangs, didgeridoos, climate, hemispheres, constellations and oceans.  (lots to learn about!)  We watched this video (warning: comment section is inappropriate) about tasmanian devils that I found.  One of the wonderful features of Download N Go is that all videos are embedded into a page so you never see youtube comments that are often offensive. (This was a video that I found was not part of the study.)

Since we didn't do any projects I don't have many pictures of this unit but here are a few that I did take on Friday.

Emma coloring her flag of Australia

Ellie's flag (not quite right but she had fun)

Our finished lap folders.  Every unit has a certificate of completion that I
 glue to the back of the folder. (If you use a pocket folder like I do be sure to use
tacky glue or something strong...a glue stick will not work.)

Currently there is a special running on Expedition Australia.  It is normally $7.95 but until Monday, November 8 it is only $5.95!  In addition, there is a fantastic National Geographic Australia map giveaway going on on the DNG blog.  Be sure to check it out!

Now go here and read what others on the DNG team are saying about Expedition Australia. Seriously, go see what others did with this unit.  It makes me want to do it again..... :)

**disclaimer:  I was given a free copy of Expedition Australia in exchange for my honest review.


Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing, Karen - sounds like your crew had fun with this Downlod N Go "as is," and tbat's great!

Amydeanne said...

oh i like the lapbooks you guys put together! and hehe, my kids do their own thing sometimes too! lol I love the upside down picture! Kinda matches the whole Down under LOL

Kahri said...

I haven't do one yet, but can't wait to do the tigers!

Leslie said...

I've only done one. And yes, I have those weeks. I think we are in the midst of two of those weeks actually. Just barely getting the basics done!

Thanks for following my blog! You are the first. I'll try to figure out how to follow yours too. Will that add you to my "blog roll" or do I need to do something else? Lots to learn.


Karen said...

I think you will have to add people individually to your blog roll Leslie. I'm not sure. I think you'll like it here if you keep at it. I like it better than HSB myself.

I am so ready for a break. I was even thinking of taking off the rest of the month but I think we are going to do Download N Go Winter Wonders next week and then we'll take a nice long Christmas vacation. We'll hit 90 school days this coming week so we're half way there!!!

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