Archive for the ‘prehistory’ Category

In the last few weeks of our prehistory study, we reviewed everything we’ve learned by focusing on archaeology, fossils, Charles Darwin, and the process of evolution. Here are the books we used:

Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke

Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki

DK Eyewitness Fossil

You can read more about these three titles in this Non-Fiction Monday post.

Animals Charles Darwin Saw by Sandra Markle – M loved this one.  Markle describes Darwin’s journey on the Beagle and how his observations shaped his thinking about natural history.

One Beetle Too Many by Kathryn Lasky – We enjoyed this one too, but the tone and humor was aimed at slightly older kids than the above title.

DK Eyewitness Evolution – We looked at pictures and read captions when M showed interest.

Evolution Revolution by Robert M. L. Winston – Definitely aimed at much older readers.  Includes a great timeline of thoughts on creation and evolution.  I read some selections and talked with M about how our knowledge of evolution and people’s perceptions have changed over time.


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Last week, we focused on archaeology and fossils.  One of our activities (based on lots of versions of this project that I found on the web) was excavating chocolate chips from cookies.  I baked one pan of cookies until they were quite crisp (verging on burnt) since crisp cookies better simulate excavating from rock.  After the cookies had cooled we gathered an array of tools such as tweezers, toothpicks, bamboo skewers, forks, paint brushes, and small spreaders.  We discovered that excavation is hard work.  Getting a chip our whole was nearly impossible for both of us.  But at least we got to eat our results.

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We focused on archaeology and fossils in our prehistory study this week.  These are the books we used:

Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki – In simple language, Aliki describes how fossils are formed including how animals or plants can be frozen or preserved in amber.  Readers also learn lots of things that fossils can tell us about the past other than simply what a prehistoric plant or animal looked like. This book is great for even the youngest fossil enthusiast.

Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke – This book follows a group of children as they accompany a grown-up friend on an archaeological dig.  They learn how important data collection is to archaeologists, how careful they must be as they complete field work, and how even the tiniest artifacts can tell you a lot about the past.  A wonderful, close-up look at real world archaeology.

DK Eyewitness Fossil – This one is packed with information like the rest of this series. M and I enjoyed all the fantastic pictures and detailed descriptions of fossils ranging from Paleozoic sea creatures to Jurassic plants to human skulls.

This week’s Non-Fiction Monday round-up is at Check It Out.

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These are the books we’ve used in the last few weeks of our prehistory study.  During those weeks we covered prehistoric mammals and early humans.

I’ve added links for those I’ve written about for Non-Fiction Monday.

How Whales Walked Into the Sea by Faith McNulty

Wild and Woolly Mammoths by Aliki

Sabertooth by Patrick O’Brien

National Geographic Prehistoric Mammals

Mammals Who Morph by Jennifer Morgan

Adventures in the Ice Age (Good Times Travel Agency) (historical fiction)

Sunset of the Saber Tooth (Magic Tree House) (historical fiction)

Sabertooths and the Ice Age (Magic Tree House Research Guide)

Cave Dectective: Unraveling the Mystery of an Ice Age Cave by David L. Harrison

DK Eyewitness Early Humans

Part 1 of the list is here.

Part 2 of the list is here.

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I saw a recommendation for Asteroid Impact by Douglas Henderson when I was looking for books about the extinction of the dinosaurs.  When I first picked it up from the library, I was concerned it would be too advanced for M. But as we began to read, she was absorbed by it.  Even C stayed quiet and listened to both the interesting astronomy and physics lessons and the story of the asteroid’s effect on the environment.  I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in dinosaurs or astronomy.

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Adventures in the Ice Age by Linda Bailey is part of the Good Times Travel Agency series.  We checked it out from the library last week and M picked it up as soon as we got home and didn’t stop reading until she was done.  As soon as she closed it she said “are there more of these?” I went right to the library’s website and requested too more: Adventures in Ancient Egypt and Adventures with the Vikings.

In the series, the three Binkerton children enter the Good Times Travel Agency where Mr. Pettigrew’s magic guidebooks whisk them off to a different time and place.  The story of their adventures is told in graphic novel style on big two page spreads.  Boxes at the bottom of most pages add to the factual information you can glean from the story.

This week’s Non-Fiction Monday Round Up is at The Miss Rumphius Efect.

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Last week, we talked about how the dinosaurs died out and that led to a discussion of the food chain and how ultimately all lifeforms, even top carnivorous predators rely on lifeforms that make their energy from the sun.  Using Playmobil plants and animals and some silk flowers, we set up a simplified food chain and extinction demo. First I made a set up, putting out lots of plants, a smaller number of herbivores and a few carnivores. Then I pretended a disaster had struck and most of the plants died. Then most herbivores died out and then the carnivores had no food and they died too.

M insisted on making her own set up next. Then she told the story and explained what was happening as different lifeforms died.

This process led to discussions about the need for biodiversity, global warming, and the need to protect areas where wildlife can flourish.

And of course, after we were done, the rest of the Playmobil came out and much fun was had setting up worlds and creating stories.

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