I have never written a post about geography. Why? I have always struggled with putting together a geography block that is satisfying to me. I have trouble making these blocks feel cohesive, organized, and interesting. Although, it is finally getting a little bit easier. So here are a few ideas, in case you have the same trouble!
This post includes my daughter’s first local geography block, completed about 3 years ago, and then my son’s first local geography block, completed last year. I plan to post the work from our second geography block next week.
I think the first poem in my daughter’s book came from Got Geography, but I am not sure. My daughter is in seventh grade now, so some of the details are a little fuzzy!
Then she drew a map of her desk and calculated the area and perimeter:
We talked about the compass rose, and carefully drew one (freehand):
Next we explored our local neighborhood and town. We have a mound of preserved native flowers and grasses in our town, so we rode our bikes there one day. My daughter sketched a few of the wildflowers there, and created a beautiful dry painting, but alas, I don’t know where it is! We talked about the way of life of the native Indians in our area. We walked around our house and an open field, and tried to imagine what the land looked like then.
We also spent some time talking about how the land around our home was formed. We have explored a local nature center extensively with naturalists over the years, so we have some understanding of the land formations and fossils. It was great to put that into the book. We talked about the Norse Creation story… and the worlds of Fire and Ice colliding. Some modern scientists believe this may be how our planet was formed… a ball of fire, lava, and gases, colliding with icy comets. How did the Norsemen know?
I found some information at the local library about the history of our town and land. Many cities and towns have books written by the local historical society that cover the local topography and history. Our local history book also included first-hand accounts of early settlers, so it was wonderful to read those stories to the children, and imagine what it was like to live here over 150 years ago. We also looked up geography related words in the dictionary:
There is a man-made lake in our area that we like to visit quite often. I found a map at the library of what the land looked like before the lake was built in the 40’s. We found that the names of the farms that were there before the lake, have been carried over to sloughs, roads, and other landmarks around the lake. We painted maps of the area as it was in the early 1900’s, and how it looks today:
The whole family took a guided kayak trip down one of our local rivers, which was great fun! I did not have the children do any book work as a result of our kayak trip… just let it fill their minds with another experience of our local landscape. They did write thank-you notes to our guides.
Last year I had the opportunity to visit Local Geography again with my son. Here is his book cover and freehand compass rose. The rose was drawn with watercolor pencils, then a damp paintbrush was carefully used over the pencil drawing.
A map of his desk:
A map of the schoolroom:
I told him a local Native American myth:
We studied what life was like for the local natives:
And we learned about an important landmark in our community:
We attempted to paint the local “Flower Mound” using a veil method. This is a watercolor painting done on dry paper over many painting sessions.
Here is some of my artwork from the these blocks:
My daughter and I each chose a local wildflower to paint. You can see mine above, but unfortunately I cannot find her painting. It was beautifully done in the style of botanic prints, so I think she may have given it away.
That’s it for the first geography block! I will try to get the second geography block posted soon.