Friday, April 29, 2011

Zombie Fire Ants

This week we have been working on The Curiosity Files: Zombie Fire Ants. This was our first time using one of these unit studies and we really enjoyed it!  This is an e-book study for ages 8-13 though you could easily include children that are younger or older with slight modification. There are links and ideas included for older students and plenty of fun ideas for the younger set.  It includes everything you need to learn about these troublesome creatures.

This is "Ana Lyze" your guide for this study.
The pages are all as cute as this!

The first time I ever heard about fire ants was in a Tim Hawkins video.  I didn't even realize they were a real thing. Here's the video:

This unit study is jam packed. Zombie Fire Ants includes Bible study, writing, spelling, vocabulary, math, handwriting (beautiful copywork pages in both cursive and manuscript), history, geography (as always one of my favorites!), science, crafts and more.  It is internet linked and included a couple of video links as well.

I was especially impressed with the variety of math pages including time zones and real life word problems.

 I didn't realize that there was a book list until after I had already picked out and ordered books but it worked out fine. I was happy to see that there was a book list though because it makes my life a lot easier.  (I will point out that you really don't need to order anything...all of the information you need is included.)
The books we got from the library about ants.

We also watched this movie about ants:

I was so impressed with this study.  One very helpful feature is a complete answer key.  I really appreciate that! The only thing I really would have liked to see was some kind of suggested daily lesson plan.  I like to have things laid out for me. I also know that not having one adds to the flexibility and some people will really love that.

About 5 years ago I bought an illuminated gel ant farm when we were on vacation. The kids had been asking me to get ants and I kept putting it off.  So, I figured this would be the perfect time to order some ants and use it.  I ordered the ants and they came just in time. (Yes, I could have dug some up but it was worth the $5 to just order them.) This was a very enjoyable addition to our study.  You will find complete instructions for how to make your own ant farm if you don't want to purchase one and take the easy way out like me. :)

the ant farm

a close up of one of the ants

We also made our own version of ants on a log (suggested in the study) but we decided to try pretzels instead of celery.  I think it looks more like a log anyway (and definitely tastes better than celery.)

Emma with her ants on a log.

Though we did not use the writing lessons in this unit my 5th grade son is writing a story about fire ant armies. I have also found him reading library books about ants and observing ants outside this week.
some of the pages from Zombie Fire Ants

We also made ants with a cut up egg carton, paint, wiggly eyes and pipe cleaners.
Ryan and Jenna painting

Ellie with her finished ant

Emma with her completed ant.

The Curiosity Files: Zombie Fire Ants was a very interesting study.  I have to say I'm glad I live in the north and we don't have to deal with them. Click here for a fabulous sample of Zombie Fire Ants. You can purchase a copy for just $6.95.  You can see other Curiosity Files unit studies here.  Some are on sale for just $1! They are also available as a downloadable bundle (9 units for $46) or for pre-order on CD for $3 more.  I know I will be using these more of the unit studies in the future!

**I was given a free copy of this unit in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Expedition Israel

All year long I have anticipated Download N Go's Expedition Israel.  I looked forward to learning about the holy land with my children and it was such a blessing.  Thank you Amanda Bennett for writing this special unit!  As I have mentioned in the past, the Expedition Series of the Download N Go units are among my favorites and this one joins that list.  One of the things that makes this unit extra special though is that it is packed with Bible stories.

Each Download N Go unit is designed for grades K-4.  However, I have been using them with my 2nd and 5th graders.  Each unit is divided into 5 days of lessons but we stretched this one out for several more days because it is just loaded.  I really had hoped to make a salt dough map of Israel but we never got around to it. In all of my years of homeschooling we have never made one but I am determined to do that this year so I think we'll include it in our state study that we are about to start.

In Expedition Israel the 5 days of lessons are:

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

sample pages

This unit is packed with geography and Bible, history, a Hebrew word of the day (which was a lot of fun), an animal of the day, foods of Israel and much more!  Take a look inside.

We checked a few books from the extensive book list that is included out of our local library.  I am thankful for the book list that is included in each unit and the capability to order books through our local library's free ILL program right from the comfort of my home.  Though the books are not needed to complete the units, they are always a nice addition and I appreciate not having to search out the books myself.

We are going to take a little break from Download N Go to study our state but this would be a great month for anyone to study Israel paired with Download N Go's Easter Promise which we plan to do later in the month.  I love being able to integrate Bible into every aspect of our homeschool and Expedition Israel certainly fits the bill for that.

See what others are saying about Download N Go's Expedition Israel on the blog tour:

**I received a free copy of Expedition Israel in exchange for my honest review.
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