Welcome to Alabama! Musings of Me and I are doing a trek across the US -- state by state.
Below are some hands-on activities for Pre-K to 1st grade about Alaska. (Please NOTE: I'm looking for some people to send us postcards from each state. We're still seeking someone to send us one from Alaska, as well as for next week's state of Arizona.)
This week's sensory bin for Alaska includes:
beads received from Honey at Mondorfment for the continent swap
felted polar bear, also from Honey
Arctic Toob items
cutout of the state
AK -- state abbreviation
(you can also add a dragonfly, as it is the state insect)
I am also adding a jar that has SOME of the items from the Alabama sensory bin. Included are: astronaut, pecan, pine needles, cutout of the state, state quarter, small pom pom for cotton, letters AL. I'm going to keep these items out, placed next to the sensory bin, and then after we studied 4 states, I'll combine them all together and let him sort them out (hopefully!), as a unique twist of an "assessment."
After talking about the Iditarod, Aikman took the caribou and sled dog out of the sensory bin, and they became their own mushing team around the house. (Yes, the caribou is the musher!)
Taking care of the dogs:
I found this great printable on how the vets take care of the dogs. We then practiced taking care of our dogs by simulating that we were the vets on the Iditarod. Aikman followed the steps of the vet from the poster, EXCEPT for the last step --- we DID NOT take the dogs' internal temperature. (Eeeew!) Above, Aikman is checking the paw of our dog, to check for any damage from being out in the snow.
After watching a couple of videos about dogsledding, we took turns pretending that we were the musher leading the dog. The commands that we practiced were:
"Hike On!" -- Let's go!
"Gee!" (pronounced like the letter G)-- turn right
"Haw!" -- turn left
"Pick it up!" -- go faster
"Whoa!" -- stop
The other thing that the mushers do to protect their dogs is to cover their feet with booties. We made paper booties out of coffee filters and rubber bands. Aikman attempted to put them on our dogs. Then in perfect timing with the overnight snowfall, we let the dogs out to test their booties -- only to have them come off before they even made it out the door. So, Aikman decided he was going to be the dog and wear the booties, which lead to the THIRD day in a row of practicing musher commands.
Mapping the Iditarod (with a little math mixed in):
Again, I am pre-writing this post, so this is one of the activities that we haven't gotten to yet -- the Iditarod map. He will roll the die and determine if it is odd or even (for those kiddos who haven't learned odd or even, they can look at the dice on the control sheet to determine which route to follow). The child then traces the route to take. You can laminate or stick inside of a page protector, and then use a dry erase marker to trace the route. You can download this activity here.
Mt. McKinley/easy-made igloos with snow:
While playing in a bin of snow indoors (being southerners, my son is NOT fond of the cold, wet snow), Aikman discovered that he could make an igloo out of the snow with a funnel. Then he noticed that it looked similar to a mountain -- PERFECT timing to mention Mt. McKinley!
About a year ago, I contacted the tourism dept. of Canada's Northwest Territories. They sent me a brochure last year called the 2010 Aurora Guide. (It is not showing that it is currently available, but if you specifically ask for it, maybe they can find this for you.) This guide is wonderful in explaining that there are 5 different types of auroras -- depending upon the color. It also goes into detail to explain how and why each is created. Also included is a description of clothing that you would need to wear if you visited there.... hmmm, that may become an activity later this week.
Sorting the auroras by color:
Anyways, I created for you a little printable that has images of the different auroras. My son quickly learned how to sort them whether they contained green, red/green, or purple auroras. There should be a difference between the reds and the purples, but I think my printer is running out of magenta, as the reds and purples looked almost identical in color. (They do not show up that way on my screen.). So, we eliminated the "red" label and just went with the 3 categories. You can get the aurora borealis sorting cards here.
Paint the auroras:
I saw the idea here on how the class painted the aurora borealis with watercolors and salt. Here is our version of making the auroras (which Aikman kept insisting that they were called it the "a-boras"). We colored a coffee filter with washable markers, and then "painted" it with salt water (we used 1/3 cup salt and 1 cup water). We waited for it to dry, and then cut a dark green piece of construction paper at the bottom (to simulate the forest), and then cut the sparkly coffee filters into the shape of the auroras.
Other activities:Quarter rubbing pages found here (this photo is from last week; Aikman enjoyed searching for the quarter and looking at it, but wasn't interested in the quarter rubbing part)
interactive printable games and worksheets from Musings of Me, including a "see, trace, and make" page for practicing writing the word Alaska.
connect the dot pages (counting 1-25) at makinglearningfun
We did a similar activity to what My Montessori Journey did with a block of ice and the toob animals, but her photo is MUCH better than mine, so I'm just going to link to her!
I hope you enjoyed our activities, and that they have inspired you to study Alaska too!