Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Prehistory Unit, pt. 2: Early Man

This was a tough unit to do with a younger student.  We ran into a bit of a wall finding appropriate materials.  Most younger students don't study early man, I guess, so the few books that are available in the library aren't very appealing to a six year old.  Not that everything has to be bright and cartoony, but this was a subject she really wasn't into initially, so it would have been nice to have something fun to draw her in.

Your Mother Was a Neanderthal #4For independent reading, we picked Your Mother Was a Neanderthal #4 (Time Warp Trio).  Ken had read it to her before, so it was good fluency practice.  I also had her read a couple of pages out loud each day.  She really likes the series, and of course the videos, which I believe air on Discovery Kids.

We had slightly better luck with the internet:
  • Becoming Human  is an interactive site that we'll probably get more out of the next time around.  We did download the interactive documentary, and I thought it was great.  Ella watched the whole thing and didn't complain that she was bored, so I guess that's something.
  • If your kids ask what cave paintings look like, visit Lascaux on your computer.  It's a virtual tour of the caves and Ella got the biggest kick out of it when I thought for sure she'd be bored to tears.  
  • The Devolve Me tool on the Charles Darwin site is extremely cool!  We forgot to take Ella's glasses off before taking her picture, but you get the idea.  Once you upload, you can move a little slider back and forth to watch your facial structure change, and it will stop and show you what you would have looked like as different hominid species.  Very cool stuff.


  • For those of you who are fans of Walking with Dinosaurs (and I highly recommend it to anyone with a dinosaur-lover in the house), let me caution you against another BBC video in the series.  Walking With Cavemen sounded like a really good idea, so I was thrilled to see that our library had it.  I requested it online, and didn't get a chance to check out the cover or read much until we picked it up at the window.  Thank goodness I had the sense to preview it first.  I still stand by my initial assessment that it is a great addition to the BBC collection, but this one, unlike the dinosaur one, really isn't for the younger viewer.  First off, there's a good bit of nudity, and, while I'm no prude, I felt the educational value would have been lost in favor of the shock factor.  The video also had at least one graphic hunting scene.  My kid doesn't flinch with animal on animal hunting, but throw a human in the battle and you're asking for nightmares.  And I do mean graphic.  It was even a little much for me to watch.  But we were able to salvage something from the experience, and I let her watch it from the Ice Age until the end.  cold = clothing.  Next I'm going to see if the library has Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, which I'm sure she will like better anyway

To end our unit we made a big box cave.  As soon as she finishes her cave paintings, I'll post some pictures of it.

Prehistory, pt. 1: Through the Mesozoic


  1. Have you seen the 'Make it Work' book series? They have one on Stone Age People with ALL KINDS of cool things to make and do.

  2. Bummer, never saw that one. I'm making note of that series, though. Thanks!


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