I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.
This is part 2 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the 50 States. Sculpt the Statue of the Liberty, bake Shoo Fly Pie, act out Rip Van Winkle, hold an Amish barn-raising, and more! My lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. This lesson was written by another creative mom to do with our weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your class, family, or homechool co-op!
Middle Atlantic States
1. Pray. Read and discuss Romans 14:19 in relation to the Amish's and Quakers' belief in non-violence and also about the destruction of the Twin Towers.
2. Briefly discuss what comes to mind when you think of the Mid-Atlantic States. Quickly introduce these states by showing the US map from "It's a Big, Big World Atlas" and asking the children what they see. If desired, have children color in the Mid-Atlantic States on map worksheets.
*Each group of children will rotate between 3 stations twice, visiting 6 stations in all. Each station will last about 20 minutes.*
Statue of Liberty
3a. i. Read The Story of the Statue of Liberty by Betsy Maestro.
ii. Discuss the dimensions of Statue of Liberty. Use a tape measure to show some of the different dimensions. For example, the width of one eye is 2ft 6 in. Pull out the tape measure that distance and hold it up next to one of the children's eyes to give them an idea of her massiveness.
iii. Have children look at pictures of The Statue of Liberty and use clay/play-doh and toothpicks to sculpt a model of her.
YOU WILL NEED: tape measure, clay or play dough (preferably green or light blue), toothpicks, & paper
Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo-fly Pie
3b. i. Divide children into 2 groups of 5 so that each group will make 1 batch of the below recipe. Lead children in making Pennsylvania Amish Shoo-Fly Pie. They'll do all the measuring and mixing. You can tell them the history of the pie found at whatscookingamerica.net as you make it. (*While groups rotate, have 1 person clean the bowls. As soon as the group arrives, the other person can briefly tell the history of Shoo-Fly Pie and its ingredients.*)
YOU WILL NEED: 2 mixing bowls, 2 liquid measuring cups, 2 mixing spoons, 2 sets of measuring cups, 2 sets of measuring spoons, & ingredients for pie (per group of 5 children: 1 9-inch pie crust, 3/4 cup dark molasses, 3/4 cup boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup shortening or butter, & 1/2 cup brown sugar)
ii. If you have extra time, begin to read Winterberries and Apple Blossoms by Nan Forler. Other good picture book options that include shoo fly pie are Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas by Chet Williamson and Selina and the Shoo-Fly Pie by Barbara Smucker.
Each group of 4-5 children will make this recipe.
- 1 9 -inch pie crust (We used Pillsbury)
- 3/4 cup dark molasses
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup shortening or butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Dissolve the baking soda in the water and then add the molasses. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and flour with the shortening/butter until crumbly. Pour 1/3 of the molasses/water liquid into the unbaked pie crust. Add 1/3 of the crumb mixture. Continue alternating the layers, ending with a layer of crumbs on the top. Bake at 375F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- This recipe came from baking.food.com.
Amish Barn Raising
3c. i. Read Barn Raising by Craig Brown. Raising Yoder's Barn by Jane Yolen is another good option.
ii. The children will now get to work together to raise a barn using craft sticks, tape, and glue. The first rotation of children will work together to make the foundation. The second rotation of children will work together to build the walls. The third rotation of children will work together to construct the roof.
YOU WILL NEED: a few hundred craft/Popsicle sticks, Tacky glue, scotch tape, yarn (we didn't use this but it can be offered), scissors, clay/play-dough, & a piece of cardboard or other stiff material atop which they can build the barn
*If you want to make this even more memorable, have the children make a real "barn." Our neighbors had the children in their co-op purchased lumber from Lowe's and had the co-op children work together to build a shed in their back yard. The dads helped with that project.
*While parents/teachers set up the next stations, briefly review what the children have learned so far about the Mid Atlantic states.*
4a. i. Briefly review what the children learned about the Statue of Liberty.
ii. Introduce Ellis Island by quickly flipping through a picture book. Ask the children if any of them know from where their ancestors immigrated. iii. Dramatize arriving at Ellis Island. This is what we did:
-Tell the children that they are going to pretend to be immigrants heading to Ellis Island. Have them each grab a bag (their luggage) and head to the steerage (below deck) as most immigrants had little money. We pretended that a table was our ship, so everyone squished in under the table. Tell the children to rock back and forth like they were on a ship as you explain about crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
-Point out that we can finally see the Statue of Liberty. (Use one of the clay models they made earlier.)
-After everyone arrives at Ellis Island, have them line up. One teacher/parent will pretend to be a custom's agent and the other will be a doctor. -The custom's agent will ask them questions such as, "What is your name? Your birthplace? Your birthday? Do you have a criminal record? Who paid for your passage? Do you have a job? (Remind them to say, "No" because it was against the law for them to have a job before they arrived.) Where will you live? (Many of them can say, "The YMCA" or mention a relative they will be living with.) Can you read and write? Ask younger children fewer questions. Give some of the children new Americanized names.
-The doctor will use a flashlight to look in their mouth, will tell them to turn around, and will tell them to cough. You can pretend to listen to them using a stethoscope. A couple of the children can be pretend to have TB and cough. They will be sent to the hospital or forced to return to their native country.
-Everyone else will get to go to America.
YOU WILL NEED: bags/luggage for each child and a flashlight
Rip Van Winkle
4b. i. Briefly discuss tall tales and legends. Have children dramatize The Legend of Rip Van Winkle as you read some of Rip Van Winkle's Return by Eric A. Kimmel.
ii. Play Skittles, which is bowling played outdoors.
YOU WILL NEED: props for play can include: gray beard, top hat, toy guns, hats for townspeople, dog ears, scraf for wife, plastic toy bowling set or 2-liter bottles that are 1/3 filled with water (for the pins) and softballs/baseballs (for the bowling balls)
Mid Atlantic Sampler Plates
4c. i. Dish up the food and the hot chocolate ahead of time! Give each child only a sample-sized amount so that everyone can get some and so that none will be wasted. Make plates for the teachers/parents as well! When each group arrives, have each child take 1 sampler plate and 1 cup of hot chocolate. Tell them to not taste anything yet as we'll be sampling each item one at a time. You can discuss a little bit about each item as you sample them.
NY: Piece of buffalo chicken wing – In Buffalo, New York a restaurant developed a new way to serve chicken. Instead of breading it and then frying it like we usually do with fried chicken, they didn’t bread it. They just deep-fried it and coated in vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. It’s usually kind of spicy. People usually serve it with blue cheese or ranch dressing and celery sticks.
PA: Hershey’s Kiss and Shoo Fly Pie
- In the early 1900’s Milton Hershey used the widely available fresh milk to manufacture a product most of you probably love today. Do you know what it is? Chocolate. He wasn’t the first person to make chocolates, but he was the first person in America to mass produce affordable chocolates like these Hershey’s Kisses. They are still produced today in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and it is now the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing plant. If you visited there today, you’d find that the air actually smells like chocolate. They even have a Hershey’s chocolate theme park.
- Shoo Fly Pie. You already heard about this pie. Who remembers something about the history of it?
NJ: Salt Water Taffy and Grape Juice
- Salt Water Taffy – Atlantic Beach is a popular tourist destination in New Jersey. There are many shops along that beach. In the early 1900’s a man was selling taffy candy. The ocean water rose up and soaked all of his candy. He sold it anyway, and a little girl was his first customer that day. She called his taffy “salt water taffy,” and the name stuck.
- Grape juice –In 1869 a New Jersey Dentist, Dr. Thomas B. Welch, did not think churches should use wine in communion, so he developed a new drink called grape juice. A scientist named Louis Pasteur discovered that you can kill bacteria in liquids like milk by heating it, which is why the milk you drink is labeled “pasteurized.” Dr. Thomas Welch applied this grape juice. Up until that time, grape juice was left to ferment and become wine. He got lots of grapes from New York, crushed them to make juice, heated the grape juice to pasteurize it or kill off the bacteria, and then bottled it an sold it as grape juice. Now many churches use Welch’s grape juice instead of wine when they serve communion, and many people enjoy the sweet juice.
-Maryland is next to the Chesapeake Bay, which has lots of Atlantic Blue Crabs. They are called blue crabs because the underside of the crab’s large claws is blue. Maryland is known for its Crab Cakes, which they’ve been serving and eating since their colonial days. They chop up the crab, add breading and spices, and then fry them.
DE: Piece of rotisserie chicken (and Scrapple if desired)
-A woman named Cecil Steel, of Ocean View, DE accidentally started Delaware’s huge chicken industry in 1923. She received 500 chicks by accident, so she butchered them when they were still young and small. She marketed her small chickens as “broilers” because they could cook quickly. Within just a few years, the chicken broiler industry was firmly established in Delaware. To celebrate this industry, Delaware picked a chicken, the Delaware Blue Hen, to be their state bird.
YOU WILL NEED: plates, small cups, forks, bite size pieces of buffalo chicken wings, small amount of ranch dressing, Hershey’s kisses, small pieces of salt water taffy, grape juice, small pieces of crab cakes, & small pieces of rotisserie chicken
ii. Begin reading Dancing on the Sand: A Story of an Atlantic Blue Crab by Kathleen M. Hollenbeck or another book on crabs.
5. Come back together as a group and review what the children learned about the Mid-Atlantic States. Ask questions such as: Name a Mid-Atlantic State. (Have the children name them all.) (NY, PA, NJ, MD, & DE) What is something you learned about the history of Shoo Fly Pie? (Ask a few children to answer.) What happens during an Amish Barn Raising? (Ask a few children to answer.) Tell me something you learned from Rip Van Winkle. (Allow a few children to answer.) What is something you learned about the Statue of Liberty? (Ask a few children to answer.) Describe what it was like for immigrants to arrive on Ellis Island. (Ask a few children to answer.) What is something you learned about one of the foods of the Mid-Atlantic States? (Ask a few children to answer.) What was your favorite activity from today? (Have each child answer.)
Material List for the Lesson
ITEMS FOR EACH FAMILY TO BRING PER CHILD:
-this map of the US from last week: http://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/pdf/uscap.pdf
-glue (tacky, wood, or elmer’s liquid)
-scotch tape (1 per family)
-markerS and a pen or pencil
-popsicle/craft sticks (at least 50) to share with the group
-clay or play dough (preferably green or light blue) to be used for Statue of Liberty ( Each child will need an entire container) *If your child might want to keep their model, you can use self-hardening clay. Otherwise, regular play-dough work wells.
-clay or play dough to be used for barn (1 container per family)
-a picture of the Statue of Liberty for your children to look at when they model it (can be printed from the Internet, on your phone, from a book, etc.) (1 per 3 children)
-a bag (We’ll be pretending it is their luggage. It can be your purse, a tote bag you used to bring co-op supplies, etc.)
ITEMS TO BE ASSIGNED TO BRING FOR THE ENTIRE CO-OP CLASS:
-"It's a Big, Big World Atlas"
-FOR EACH GROUP OF 4-6 CHILDREN: 1 glass liquid measuring cup that can hold 2 cups of liquid, pastry blender (optional), mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring cups, measuring spoons, 9-inch pie crust in a pie tin or plate, 3/4 cup dark molasses, 3/4 cup boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup shortening or butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, & baking sheet
-"Barn Raising" by Craig Brown
-a piece of cardboard or other stiff material atop which they can build the barn
-props for play, which can include: fishing pole, gray beard, top hat, toy guns, hats for townspeople, dog ears, scarf for wife, plastic toy bowling set (or 2 Liter bottles filled 1/4 way with water and softballs or baseballs for the bowling balls)
-tape measure & "The Story of the Statue of Liberty" by Betsy Maestro
-1 box of wooden toothpicks (not the colored kind)
-2 flashlights (can be flashlight app on your phone) & 2 stethoscopes - can be toy ones (optional) for Ellis Island activity
-plates, small cups, forks, bite size pieces of buffalo chicken wings, small amount of ranch dressing, Hershey’s kisses, small pieces of salt water taffy, grape juice, small pieces of crab cakes, & small pieces of rotisserie chicken
While studying the 50 States of the United States, we spent one day studying each individual state. For about an hour each day we read picture books related to that state and completed a state fact sheet. We then spent about 30-60 minutes watching YouTube clips related to that state. Each week my 9 year old son also read at least one chapter book on his own related to each region. He would complete a book report or write an essay using information from that book. My 6 year old son would complete a brief book report sheet on one of the picture books we read together. Occasionally during the week we made regional foods for dinner. At the below links I have posted our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook page links, and tidbits about what makes each Middle Atlantic state unique.
New York for Teachers & Travelers - Included are fun worksheets, books, video clips, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about New York, the Empire State.
Pennsylvania for Teachers & Travelers - Included are fun worksheets, books, video clips, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about Pennsylvania, the Keystone State.
New Jersey for Travelers and Teachers - Look here to find fun worksheets, books, video clips, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about New Jersey, the Garden State.
Delaware for Teachers & Travelers - Look here to find fun worksheets, books, video clips, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about Delaware, the First State.
Visit Maryland Now: Maryland for Travelers & Teachers - Included are fun worksheets, books, video clips, and activity ideas for teaching and/or learning about Maryland, the Old Line State.
Cook and eat regional foods, play rodeo games, enjoy a luau, dance zydeco, celebrate a Southwest Fiesta, and more while studying the 50 States of the United States. Since there were so many great resources we found for each individual state, I've also created a webpage featuring our favorite books, YouTube clips, & more for each state. You can find the links for each state on my 50 States Lesson Plans lens.
- New England States Lesson - This is part 1 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on U.S. States & Regions. Bake and eat Boston Brown Bread, create lighthouse models, dissect crayfish, enjoy New England cuisine sampler plates, and more!
- Mid-Atlantic States Lesson - This is part 2 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the 50 States. Sculpt the Statue of the Liberty, act out Rip Van Winkle, hold an Amish barn-raising, and more!
- Great Lakes States Lesson - This is part 3 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the U.S. States & Regions. Make and eat ice cream, construct Lego's cars on an assembly line, dig the Erie Canal and sail boats down the water, assemble Harley Davidson motorcycles out of cheese, and more!
- Midwest States Lesson - This is part 4 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the 50 States. Bake and eat Midwest cornbread, deliver mail on the Pony Express, carve Mount Rushmore, grind wheat, construct sod houses, sample regional foods, and more!
- Rocky Mountain States Lesson - This is part 5 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the U.S. States & Regions. Cook & eat Cowboy Stew, paint a mountain landscape scene, compete in a rodeo round-up, hold salt flat races, and more!
- Pacific Coast States Lesson - This is part 6 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the 50 States. Bake & eat Washington Apple Pie, create “Starbucks” coffee grounds play-dough, piece together “fossils” excavated from the “La Brea Tar Pits,” make “Salmon” fish prints, build and test out marshmallow structures for earthquakes, and more!
- Alaska and Hawaii Lesson - This is part 7 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the U.S. States & Regions. Construct sugar cube igloos, host a luau complete with grass skirts and hula dancing, carve soap scrimshaw, dramatize the Iditarod, sample regional foods, and more!
- Southwest States Lesson - This is part 8 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the Fifty States. Celebrate a fiesta, compete in an Oklahoma Land Run, play Texas rodeo games, create a Sonora desert diorama, and more!
- Visiting Southern States - This is part 9 of a 9 part hands-on unit study on the U.S. States & Regions. Race in the Kentucky Derby, make and eat Key Lime Pie & homemade peanut butter, celebrate Mardi Gras, make a swamp diorama, dance Zydego, and more!
- 50 States Projects - This is the end of the unit project following a 9 part hands-on unit study on the 50 States. Perform a play about the fifty states while enjoying a dinner that features regional foods from across the United States. Also included are regional recipe links and field trips we attended while studying this unit.
- Best Resources on Teaching the 50 States - Included are links to my favorite resources (books, video clips, lapbook pages, etc.) for each individual state in addition to my favorite resources for teaching all 50 US States.
- Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2012 Shannon