Monday, November 1, 2010

Australia Begins

Today is the first day of our study of Australia in our KONOS Inquisitiveness unit.  (It's actually a sub-sub-unit:  Inquisitiveness - Earth - Australia.)  I have put together a collection of resources that I thought might be useful to other KONOS users or anyone planning to study this fascinating part of our world.  This is what I'll be using besides our KONOS Volume II.  I did not include your basic general info books you can find at any library.  These are a given.

One of my favorite resources are the Top Secret Adventures from Highlights.  They offer a free first kit if you think you'd like to join the club.  Not a bad collection for a geography class.  I happened to find a box full of them at our annual used curriculum sale a couple years ago and I snatched every one of the kits up for a fabulous price and have been saving them to use whenever I can.  Highlights also has a collection of similar puzzle kits for the U.S. States called Which Way USA?  Oh, I bet you can get them used online for cheap too.  But be careful.  These are consumable so make sure you are not getting copies that have already been written in.

Something else I picked up at our last used curriculum sale was Australia: An Interdisciplinary Unit.  I generally like to keep these kinds of books around for a resource but never use everything in it.  This one is filled with an assortment of maps and info including a sky chart, a brief timeline with more detailed historical info on the following pages, an Aboriginal folktale, directions for making a boomerang, a recipe for Mulligatoni soup, animal classificaion charts with extras about Australian animals and the ecosystems found there.  So all in all, a nice assortment of subjects.  Upon searching for this online, I had a little trouble.  It is put out by TS Denison in their Instructional Fair Living Geography line.  Perhaps they're not printing them anymore?  A similar line of books is put out by Teacher Created Materials called Thematic Units but I'm not sure if they have an Australia themed book.  They do have a very small section devoted to Australia in their Trip Around the World Extended Thematic Unit which I used a few years ago with my older daughter.

Both of my younger kids will be giving an oral report on one Australian animal at next week's co-op.  DS will be reporting on the Tasmanian Devil and I didn't have any trouble finding resources for this animal at the local library.  I did however, have trouble finding a book on bandicoots, the subject of dd's report so I did a google search and found this great site with all kinds of Aussie info including an entire page on bandicoots among other interesting Australian fauna.  Another spot for fabulous photos of Australian wildlife you can check out OzAnimals.com  (More online resources are listed below.)

Given my love for games, I can't help but pull out anything I can on the land down under and I just happen to have the Mayfair game of Australian Rails.  It's a long drawn out game reminiscent of Monopoly but I do believe I'll be able to convince my 8yo to play with me! He always wanted to play when we first got it but it was too intense I thought, for he was so young then.  I would just let him be our banker and he was sort of happy but never quite satisfied.  Australian Rails is designed for the 10 + crowd but I think ds will be able to handle it if he can handle the length of time it takes to play it.  I reviewed this game over at Games for Homeschoolers once upon a time and it's still available for you to read if you're interested in finding out more about it.

Lastly, just for fun and to get my kiddos in the Aussie mood, I popped in a video of Five Mile Creek tonight.  If you've never seen the series, it's kind of like Little House on the Prairie only with less kids, more shooting (no bloody scenes) and lots of Aussie accents.

Additional Online Resources:
  • Scroll down About a third of the way to find a section on Time Zones.  Studying Australia is an excellent time to address or re-address time zones and seasons.
  • A time zone brain booster for you from Discovery Education.
  • Sheppard Software is a veritable geography goldmine loaded with games and tutorials for the kids.  Click here for a brief Australia info page and here for games focusing on Oceania and here for info on marsupials.  On the top left of this page you'll find a quiz to do after reading al about marsupials.
  • Another trivia quiz game site that I love because it has everything, no matter what we're studying it seems - Purpose Games.
  • Listen to the sounds of the Kookaburra then sing the song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.
  • We'll also be making a salt dough map of Australia during our co-op sessions.  Here's Jimmie's Squidoo lens to show how you can too.
  • If you get to spend time on Australia's natural resources you'll more than likely discuss bauxite.  Here is a Five minute video on how aluminum is made by Fish Chris.  Who knew that our everyday aluminum foil started out as a red rock in Australia?

1 comment:

Heather said...

I used to love watching Five Mile Creek reruns as a kid!!!