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New England States Lesson

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Whaling Dramatization - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Whaling Dramatization - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

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! My lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a 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 classroom, family, camp, after school program, or homeschool co-op group!

Image Credit: http://www.discovernewengland.org/

Image Credit: http://www.discovernewengland.org/

New England States

*Activities with asterisks denote activities that came from KONOS Volume III.*

*1. Pray. Read and discuss Philippians 1:6. (*KONOS Bible verse)

*2. Briefly discuss what comes to mind when you think of New England. 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 New England States on a printable map such as http://www.eduplace.com/ . (*KONOS Activity 31)

*If you have a large group of children (25+), divide children into 3 groups. Have Each group of children rotate between 3 stations twice, visiting 6 stations in all. Each station will last about 20 minutes. If you have a smaller group of children (about 24 or less), everyone can do the same activities at the same time instead of rotating between stations.*

Boston Brown Bread

new-england-states-lesson

*3a. Divide children into groups of 4-5 so that each group will make 1 batch of the below recipe. Lead children in making Boston Brown Bread. They'll do all the measuring and mixing. You can tell them the history of the bread found at www.wisegeek.com as you make it. Be sure to tell them that this bread is usually steamed rather than baked, but it takes 3 hours to steam the bread and our class/co-op only lasts 2 hours. It was also usually made with rye flour since it was more common than wheat flour, but we're using whole wheat flour instead since rye flour isn't plentiful here. I will bring Boston Baked Beans that we'll eat with this at the end of co-op. (*If rotating groups, have 1 person clean the bowls while the groups rotate. As soon as the group arrives, the other person can briefly tell the history of Boston Brown Bread and its ingredients.*) (*KONOS Activity 44)

YOU WILL NEED: mixing bowl, mixing spoon, liquid measuring cup, measuring cups, measuring spoons, bread pans, non-stick cooking spray, milk, vinegar, whole wheat flour, white flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, molasses, oil, & raisins

Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Boston Brown Bread

Each group of 5 children will make this recipe.

Cook timeReady inYields

1 hour

1 hour

6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Generously spray the inside of your pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine milk and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside. Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Add milk mixture, molasses and oil; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in raisins. Spoon the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. This recipe came from www.sunmaid.com.

Lighthouses

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*3b. Briefly discuss the importance of lighthouses. Show children some pictures of lighthouses. Have children make a model of a lighthouse. Either have them figure out how to create one on their own (discovery learning) or have them follow the directions at www.cheslights.org. If you have extra time, start reading Beacons of Light by Gail Gibbons. (*KONOS Activity 67)

YOU WILL NEED PER CHILD: paper plate, 16 oz or larger Styrofoam cup, 1 inch toilet paper roll piece, construction paper, scissors, toothpick, wooden bead or pony bead, glue (foam or tacky glue works best), scotch tape, regular markers, permanent markers, & any additional items if allowing them to create their own (optional)

Clapboard Houses

Clapboard house photo next to a child's craft stick creation of a clapboard house

Clapboard house photo next to a child's craft stick creation of a clapboard house

Scroll to Continue

*3c. Show children pictures of clapboard houses. You can look at en.wikipedia.org or search other sites for more info. Have children make models of clapboard houses using popsicle/craft sticks by gluing popsicle sticks at the bottom of a box, parallel to the table. Work upward, with each popsicle stick overlapping the one below it, so they will slant out slightly. etc.usf.edu can give you a general idea of what the children can do. While they're making their clapboard houses, you can also talk to them about saltbox houses and widow's walks (second story balconies). Can they guess why the walks were built? (Sea widows were women whose husbands were fishermen on long trips. They would walk along their widow's walk looking for ships coming in to shore.) (*KONOS Activity 38)

YOU WILL NEED: popsicle/craft sticks, glue, boxes, & pictures of New England architecture

*If you are having children rotate between stations, briefly review what the children have learned so far about the New England states while parents/teachers set up the next stations. *

Dissecting a crayfish - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Dissecting a crayfish - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Lobsters

*4a. Briefly mention how catching lobsters is a common activity in New England. Since lobsters are pretty expensive, we'll dissect a crayfish instead. A crayfish is quite similar to a lobster. You can view the below YouTube videos and/or my written out script on my Crayfish & Grasshopper Dissection lesson plan page. (The crayfish dissection is after the grasshopper dissection.) You can decide what would be useful information to share with the children. *If you have extra time, start reading Going Lobstering by Jerry Pallota.* (*KONOS Activity 46)

YOU WILL NEED: crayfish (I ordered 3 crayfish from www.hometrainingtools.com & received them within 3 days of ordering them using their normal shipping. I was very pleased with the company and would recommend them to anyone. The crayfish didn't even smell!), a hard plastic disposable plate (3 sets if doing this as a rotation), paring knife (can be purchased from Dollar Tree & used only for dissections), scissors, & latex gloves

Fishermen Knots & Whaling

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*4b. i. Many of the New Englanders are fishermen and they have to tie many varieties of knots. Decide on a type of knot you'd like to teach, and teach the children that knot. This is one option: en.wikipedia.org You can also find ideas in the KONOS Volume III book. (*KONOS Activity 56)

YOU WILL NEED: 1 piece of twine per child plus 1 for an example

Image credit: http://www.jpcoldham.net/

Image credit: http://www.jpcoldham.net/

*4b. ii. (Speak through this quickly.) Some of the fishermen were whalers. (See Yankee Open Boat Whaling at en.wikipedia.org) Explain a bit about Yankee Whaling. You can mention some of this info if desired: Since whales breathe air, they have to surface occasionally to get air. This is called breeching. Water shoots out from their blowhole. That's when the scout would shout, "Thar she blows!" and the men would race in their boats to harpoon the massive animal. The whale would of course dive (called sounding). The men would row their boats with their backs toward the whale. Why? To prevent fear. After harpooning a whale, they would get a "Nantucket Sleigh Ride." Sailors would pull up their oars and let it run. Once they killed a whale, they'd stick a flag in it to identify which company it belonged to. What they wanted to get was the blubber. They would cut the blubber into chunks called Bible leaves (chunks of blubber about the size of a Bible). They'd take those to the trying posts where the blubber would be boiled to extract the oil. Why was the oil so valuable? (oil lamps & perfume). (*KONOS Activity 57)

Whaling Dramatization Activity - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Whaling Dramatization Activity - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

*4b. iii. Act out whaling: Set up 4 tables in the form of a rectangle with space in the middle. This will be the rowboat. 2 children get to be the whales. The other children will be the sailors and will have to get inside the table area. Set up one child on one of the other tables in the corner. This child will be the scout on the whaling ship. S/he'll get a cardboard tube "looking glass." Whenever s/he sees a whale breeching, s/he should shout, "Thar she blows!" The other sailors in the ship will try to "harpoon" the whale (using pool noodles). The 2 whales can "swim" (crawl) across the floor. Every 5 seconds they must breech. If desired, you can pretend to cut up the whale and boil its blubber as well. We used chapter 1 from Yankee Whalers by M.J. Cosson to get an idea of the steps involved in whaling. (*KONOS Activity 60)

YOU WILL NEED: 2 pool noodles, cardboard tube or spyglass, & pirate hats (optional)