Sunday, February 22, 2009

Social Studies Kits for Gr. 4 and 5

Social Studies Kits for Gr. 4 and 5

One of our HCOS teachers, Aimee Imbeau, has put together homeschool-friendly SS kits. Read on:

"My summer has been filled with reading grades 4 and 5 social studies literature and resources. My objective was to make kits for the families of HCOS to borrow from the library and teach their children. The kits are made so that parents have a choice of activities to do without the stress of having to ‘do’ the lessons in a certain way. I kept in mind that each family has their own style of educating their children. I recalled a saying that I heard when I was an adolescent and I was being forced to do things someone else’s way (and what teenager enjoys doing housework let alone not being able to complete the task in their own way!).

“There are over 200 ways to wash dishes.” (Author unknown)
I think that kind of thinking suits home schooling perfectly as each family home schools in their own way. During my time as an HCOS teacher, I have come to realize – and respect – the different ways each of ‘my’ families educate their children. I have tried to make these kits compatible with almost any home school style. I left the way to ‘do’ the kits up to you, fitting the lessons into your schedule, and I just gave you ideas for lessons and activities. There is so much to each kit, that completing every single activity would be impossible – unless you did Social Studies everyday, all day – which of course is an option if that suits your family!
Many of the resources I chose already had the lessons laid out in such a great way that simply adding my ideas and activities was enough to make each kit complete. Other resources did not have lessons, so I briefly stated ideas for activities and lessons. With these kits, the majority of each lesson, or Social Studies period, will be reading the book(s) included with the kit.
Each family has 8 weeks with a kit and each kit has a student packet full of resources for the student to use and keep.

Here is a brief description of each kit:

Grade 4 Aboriginals
The main resource is Donna Ward’s Canada’s Natives. Each lesson is laid out nicely for you. There are several extra activities included in the kit including, Professor Noggin’s card game, stories, Internet links and many other activities. Students will look at how the Aboriginals used to live, how contact with Europeans affected them, what different tribes ate, lived in and how they interacted with each other.

Grade 4 Explorers
Again, I used Donna Ward’s book, Courage and Conquest for the main resource. I included History Pockets: Explorers for some neat crafty activities. Some explorers who are covered are Champlain, Cabot, Cartier as well as some of the lesser known explorers such as Henry Hudson and James Cook. American explorers are briefly introduced in the History Pockets book. Students will complete a timeline of Canada’s development and will have a chance to investigate other topics like the fishing industry, scurvy, the Hudson’s bay Company and the Acadians.

Grade 5 Immigration and Settlement
This kit uses The Kid’s Book of Canadian Immigration and A Pioneer Story as the main resources. This kit gives instruction on finding out your heritage, where your ancestors came from and making a family tree. The ideas help children to take a good look at why people came and still come to Canada. Each lesson consists of reading from either book as well as an activity.

Grade 5 The Fur Trade, the Canadian Railway, the Underground Railroad and The Gold Rush
This kit explores the themes of the fur trade, the Canadian railway, the Underground Railroad and the gold rush. 2 weeks are spent on each unit and each unit consists of reading the books included in the kit and accompanying activities like a fir trading game, a railway game, paper model crafts, Professor Noggin’s card game, role playing ideas and many other fun ideas.

Grade 5 Government
The text and workbook chosen for this kit is so precisely laid out that the parent guide is quite short. Each lesson is reading from the text and a one page activity in the workbook. One may be able to complete 2 lessons in one day. Since the text is so thorough and complete, I believed any more resources on the government would be too overwhelming.

Each kit is rounded off with a list of Provincial Learning Outcomes that are easily met from ‘doing’ a kit. I also included my email address with each kit just in case you had some questions or needed more guidance in your planning.

I hope you take the time to borrow at least one kit from the library – it would save you from purchasing the resources and having to figure out more activities to do in order complete the units and to demonstrate learning and understanding to your teacher!"

Aimee Imbeau (
HCOS teacher and first time kit maker!

If you are interested in borrowing SS kits from the library, contact Shandra Wiebe and she'll give you your username and password.

Shandra Wiebe

HCOS Online Library Assistant

250-862-2377 ext. 311

907 Badke Road, Kelowna, BC

V1X 5Z5

Monday - Thursday 2pm - 6pm

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