Thursday, December 3, 2009

Unit Study: Spiders

Treyton and I just completed our first unit study - of course, I just had to share with you what we learned and found!

For as long as I knew I was going to homeschool I knew I was going to use unit studies in some form or fashion. I was planning on waiting until at least next year but a friend of mine sent me some information regarding our local museum and the spider exhibit they are hosting until may of next year. Along with it she sent me a link to a great resource that the museum had compiled for students/teachers to use.... as soon as I opened that attachment I just KNEW we had to do a unit study on spiders!!! From this point on I plan on implementing small unit studies throughout our schooling when and where I can.

We started our unit the week before we went to the museum and we continued to study/read for the past week since we went. We will be finished after this week, though I don't see Treyton wanting to not read spider books for a good long while... he seriously could not get enough.

The Neville Museum that we visited, like I mentioned before, had a GREAT resource to start our studies with that you can find here

Next we visited the Kid Zone website to find even more fun things to do for spiders.

I posted on our field trip to the museum here.

I decided to go ahead and put a little lapbook together as we researched and gathered our information. This was lots of fun. And as  you fellow lap-bookers know, it's an excellent way to not only organize what you're learning but also a way to store and preserve some of your school memories and notes.
Below are the items that we added to our lapbook:
~ My spider book - which I filled out for Treyton (he answered the questions, I wrote)
~ From the lapbook Pieces from Homeschool Share's "Very Busy Spider" Eric Carle we printed the Spider Numbers Flap and
~ An Itsy Bitsy Spider mini-book from Nellie Edge
~ I also printed off this other Itsy Bitsy Spider Book that looks so cute!
~ I printed off a blank fold from homeschool share where we added our booklist - of the books we enjoyed and used the most (though there were more we could have added)
~ Treyton drew a picture of a spider with the primary body parts (2 body sections, 8 legs, feelers, and 8 eyes) obviously being in preschool and all we kept things pretty simple
~ We also made a graph to document a survey we conducted among our extended family - "Are you afraid of spiders?" we actually had to do it twice because once we started it we realized we would need to color code boys and girls because Treyton kept insisting the "no" column was the boy side and the "yes" column was the girl side.
~ We took the pictures of the spiders that came with our educational packet and decorated our lapbook as well as some spider stickers I picked up for $1.50 at a local bookstore.
~ On the other side of the center flap I just paper clipped on some of the spider worksheets we did as well as Treyton's documentation from the spider museum (so cute... it's a notebook piece of paper with letters randomly written all over it)

Make a Sticky Spider Web found at Free Kids Crafts & in the Neville Packet I referred to above. I boiled spaghetti noodles, cooled them, mixed in some elmers glue and away we went - starting with the spoke and adding noodles around and around just like a spider does.

We got tons of books about spiders from the Library - two of Treyton's first choices was one on Tarantulas and one on Wolf Spiders - these are both similar spiders as they live in burrows and hunt food rather than spinning a web so they coincidentally went well together. We read lots of real-life books with real pictures of spiders - these are Treyton's favorites - one was called The Life Cycle of a Spider
We also decided to read Charlotte's Web which we had started once before and Eric Carle's The Very Busy Spider - these are both excellent reads!
Lastly we purchased a book called Are you a Spider? that we are really enjoying and getting a lot out of.
Little Miss Spider was a cute little book that after the first time I read it Treyton went through and recited almost the entire book to his sister.
Aughh Spider was another little storybook that we read, Treyton didn't enjoy this one as much because he doesn't necessarily enjoy the idea of a spider as a pet (though he's not afraid of them) he had a lot of questions about the family and the spider in this book... questions I just couldn't answer. :)

The Official Eric Carle Website
Step-by-step Spider Theme there were lots of additional links at the bottom of this page (which we also used)
First-School we printed off the spider and maze here... Treyton loves Mazes and is very good at them.
We watched several spider videos at the National Geographic Site Treyton absolutely LOVED watching the videos, which I knew he would - he would watch our Planet Earth DVDs all day long!

I think the neatest part about doing this unit study together was that, even at a preschool level I managed to learn alot! How awesome to be a part of not only teaching my son, but also learning along side him. Some of our favorite things that we learned were:
~ Tarantula bites are no worse than a bee sting
~ Most Spiders have 8 eyes
~ Wolf Spiders carry their egg sac on their back and once the spiderlings hatch they actually ride around on the mothers back for about a week (these pictures gave me the heeby jeebies)
~ A Daddy Long Legs is not actually a spider and is actually more closely related to a tick or mite

1 comment:

Amy said...

Wow, this looks great and I love the lapbook idea. I have never made them before, but you are right about a good way to summarize what you have learned. You are very good at putting together a unit study! And I would encourage you that if Treyton is still interested in reading more, keep finding more to read with him. Last year, I read about bees and the solar system for 6+ months, but the kids learned a ton and loved it!