This year I’m teaching a “living stories” class for my homeschool co-op. Of course, I found a way to make it an art class too! The result is a homeschool art program I am currently developing: Art Around the Ancient World in which I read a book for each civilization we cover, discuss an art form from the time period and country and then do a related project. The kids are having a blast. And I have to say so am I.
The first book we read this year was The First Dog by Jan Brett.
Ice Age Activity #1: Discussing the Literary Elements of The First Dog.
I totally fell in love with the simple and sweet approach of this story. It was the most perfect story to begin our year. Why? Because it was the classic conflict, climax and resolution story. In fact, the story presents a delightful pattern of repeated conflict.
The First Dog is the story of how the first dog came to be, the domestication that is of the earliest member of the dog family. But it’s even more the story of a “cave boy” named Kip who meets Paleowolf and finds mutual benefit. The boy provides the wolf with scraps of Rhino rib while the wolf offers early warning of danger in return.
But the best thing about the story is that it’s excellent liturature. The language is so well done. There is repeat of lines and event each varying a little which make it easy to follow as well as captivating. The repeated event is the danger of an attack by a time period animal such as the Mammoth. Each time the wolf first hears something, beautifully described, and then there is a warning of danger at which time kip barely escapes from the dangerous Ice Age Animal.
The book is the perfect introduction to prehistoric animals as well. Each time Kip barely escapes to reunite with the wolf. As a result the new friendship emerges.
Ice Age Activity #2- Write Your Own Story
I used this story to inspire the children to write something with the “third time is a charm” pattern. There are three repeated conflicts. Each one varies a little increasing in danger and building to a climax. The third conflict is the climax of the story which eventually brings resolution. I loved the stories they came up with. They were very cute and so much fun to read.
Ice Age Activity #3: Art Project for The First Dog
Next we looked at some cave paintings, stone carvings and petroglyphs and then made our own ancient art- the type we have left from the early hunters and gatherers. The book has some excellent illustrations and the pages are framed with cave painting and animal carvings of stone which I also pointed out to them as we read. For a step by step art lesson follow my Prehistoric Art Lesson for Kids. They really loved this project. They had a blast creating their own cave and rock art reproductions.
Ice Age Activity #4: Go on a Field Trip
Ice Age Activity #5- Discover Fossils
Any prehistory lesson is a great time to look at fossils and other types of preservation such as mummification. We discussed quite a bit about why and how we know these animals and people existed.
I found these fossils from a local nature center. First I used them for our “explorers table”. Then I gave them out as incentives to write their stories. The kids absolutely loved them and thought they were so cool.
Ice Age Activity #6- Study the Ice Age Animals
Here is a list you can begin with. Below are the Animals we learned about on our field trip. They are all North American Animals now extinct:
- Dire Wolf (Canis dirus)
- Short Faced Bear (Artoduc sinus)
- Sabertooth Cat (Smilodon fatalis)
- Giant Ground Sloth
- Ice Age Bison
- American Mastodon
- Wooly Mammoth (mammuthus primigenius)
- Bison (Bison antiquus)
- Giant Beaver (Castoroides ohioensis)
- Woodland Musk Ox (Bootherium bombifrons)
You can use the Ice Age Animal Notebook Page below for any animal and have your child record their research on it. Or perhaps have them choose an animal they would like to learn about and write a little report on it. Some questions they could answer might be:
Find more lovely Autumn Books and the Big Ideas that go with them from the bloggers of iHomeschool Network:
Also linked with: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link Up