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Russian Geography and Early Russian History 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.

Painting a Russian Orthodox triptych

Painting a Russian Orthodox triptych

This is part 1 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Paint a Russian Orthodox triptych, taste caviar, play the Russian Temperate Zone Game, and more while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while using the fun unit study book Russia: Land of Endurance by Konos Curriculum. Use these ideas with your class, family, or homeschool co-op group!

Included in this lens you'll find some of the activities we did along with our favorite books we read and YouTube clips we watched while we studied Russian Geography and Early Russian History. Topics featured include Russian Geography, Caviar, Slavs & Baba Yaga, Rurik & the Vikings, Genghis Khan & the Tatars, and the Russian Orthodox Church.

russia-geography-lesson

Playing the Russian Temperate Zone Game - To remember the vegetation zones of Russia, pass around 3 bowls: one ice, one with tree leaves, and one with grass. Play Russia folk music (we used music from YouTube). Whenever the music stops, you have to name the vegetation zone represented by the bowl you're holding. - Afterward, my kids enjoyed tracing a map of Russia (holding it up against a window so you can easily see through the paper) and then coloring in the vegetation zones.

  • Russia (DK Eyewitness Books) by Kathleen Berton Murrell is a good book to use for the entire unit on Russia as it shares information about many of aspects of Russia. The photographs are delightful to look through. We used the maps and descriptions from this book while discussing and mapping the temperate zones in Russia.
  • Living in . . . Russia by Jesse Burton is good for younger children and follows the life of a child living in modern day Russia. It includes some Russian history as well.
  • Colors of Russia (Colors of the World) by Shannon Zemlicka is a good children's picture book that gives a nice, brief overview of the country. It features a different aspect of Russia for each color and includes caviar for the color black.

Russian Geography Video: The Ural's Russia's Backbone

Lake Baikal: The Coolest Stuff on the Planet

Free Printable Maps for Russian Geography

Free Printable Maps of Russia

5th Grade History: The Faces of Russia: Russian Geography & Early Russian History Unit Study (which includes 2 printable blank maps of Russia)

russia-geography-lesson

Trying Caviar - Even our local Wal-Mart sells caviar. It's near the canned tuna and costs about $6 for a jar. It's not from sturgeon, but it still allows for the children to get the taste of caviar. I'd recommend serving it on a mild cracker, like a Ritz.

YouTube Clip We Enjoyed on Caviar

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Creating Babushka Eggs using a peeled hard-boiled egg, a cloth scarf, and small edible items we had on hand for the other parts of her face

Our Favorite Baba Yaga Tale

  • The Sea King by Jane Yolen combines the Baba Yaga/Vasilisa folktale with the Russian Sea King folk tale. It's nice to have a slightly different tale among many similar stories. It's well told and kept the attention of my children.
  • Koshka's Tales: Stories from Russia by James Mayhew was our favorite compilation of Russian tales, which includes the folktales of Baba Yaga/Vasilisa, the snow child, and firebird. Each page has nice illustrations. It is long enough that we read it in 3 sittings, even though my children wanted to read it all in one sitting.
  • Some of the other variations of Baba Yaga/Vasilissa folktales that we read and enjoyed include Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave by Marianna Mayer, Vasilissa the Beautiful: A Russian Folktale by Elizabeth Winthrop, Vasilisa the Beautiful: A Russian Folktale by Anna Morgunova, Baba Yaga (A Russian Folktale) by Margaret Yatsevitch Phinney, and Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll by Oram Hiawyn..

Free Lesson & Activity Ideas on the Slavs

Lesson & Activity Ideas on the Slavs

russia-geography-lesson

Dressing as Rurik & the vikings on their way to Russia

Great Video on how the Russia became a country (including Rurik & the Vikings)

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Paying tribute to Genghis Khan

Our Favorite Genghis Khan Children's Book

  • Genghis Khan: The Brave Warrior Who Bridged East and West by Li Jian is the shortest of the picture books on Genghis Khan. It's neat because it's written in both English and in Chinese.
  • Who Was Genghis Khan? by Nico Medina is a longer children's book with black and white illustrations on each page. It took us a few sittings to get through the book.
  • Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde by Harold Lamb is an 182 page chapter book that is part of the World Landmark series. My oldest son (age 10) read it and enjoyed it. The book is fast-paced and full of adventure.

Excellent Overview of Early Russian History

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Painting a Russian Orthodox triptych

Watching a Russian Orthodox Service

Free Russian Icon Painting Lesson

Russian Icon Painting Lesson

Designing and launching rockets from Lesson 6: The Cold War and Arms Race

Designing and launching rockets from Lesson 6: The Cold War and Arms Race

Making grape jelly to demonstrate the process of smelting from Lesson 4: Siberia

Making grape jelly to demonstrate the process of smelting from Lesson 4: Siberia

Performing a miniature production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" from Lesson 5: The Russian Ballet

Performing a miniature production of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" from Lesson 5: The Russian Ballet

Cook borscht and blini, study and paint like the famous artists of Russia, perform a miniature "Nutcracker" ballet performance, dramatize a Communist lunch (complete with sentencing to "Siberia" for the non-compliant), and more in the fun 8 part study on Russia!

  • Russian Geography and Early Russian History Lesson - This is part 1 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Paint a Russian Orthodox triptych, taste caviar, play the Russian Temperate Zone Game, read classic Baba Yaga tales, and more while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian geography and early Russian history.
  • Russian Czars Lesson - This is part 2 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Construct a model of the Red Square, attempting Cossack-style dancing, decorate eggs like Carl Faberge, read classic Czar tales, and more while learning about Russian Czars. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian Czars.
  • Russian Revolution Lesson - This is part 3 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Play the Russian Civil War version of Capture the Flag, endure a "Communist" lunch complete with trying to trade food on the black market, create Communist flags, and more while learning about the Russian Revolution. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Russian Revolution.
  • Siberia Lesson - This is part 4 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Sketch an Aurora Borealis landscape scene using pastels, making grape jelly to demonstrate the smelting process, cut out various shapes of snowflakes, dress up as and pretend to be musk oxen, walruses, Siberian tigers, and reindeer, and more while learning about Siberia. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Siberia.
  • Russian Ballet Lesson - This is part 5 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Perform a miniature production of The Nutcracker, learn the basic positions in ballet, watch videos of and read about famous Russian dancers including Anna Pavlova, Nijinsky, and Baryshnikov, and more while learning about Russian ballet. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about Russian ballet.
  • The Cold War and Arms Race Lesson - This is part 6 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Design and launch various types of rockets, dramatize the Berlin Airlift and the Chocolate Pilot, prepare and eat blini, and more while learning about the Cold War and the Arms Race. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Cold War and the Arms Race.
  • The Space Race and The Olympics Lesson - This is part 7 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Make a full-size model of Sputnik 1, learn gymnastics moves and host a miniature Olympics gymnastics competition, experiment with sugar while learning about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and more while learning about the Space Race and Russian Olympics. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the Space Race and Russian Olympics.
  • End of the Cold War and Russian Artists Lesson - This is part 8 in an 8 part unit study on Russia. Recreate Kandinsky’s and Marc Chagall’s works, build and then knock down a model of the Berlin Wall, decorate pysanky eggs, make and eat kulich, and more while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists. Also included are our favorite books, YouTube video clips, lapbook and activity links, and other resources we used while learning about the end of the Cold War and contemporary Russian artists.
  • Russia: Faberge, Chess, & Borscht – This lesson provides a simple overview of Russia. I have compiled all you will need to locate Russia on a map, cook a Russian meal, watch YouTube clips on Russia, color the flag, create a Russian craft, read a great book about Russia, and more!
  • Ukraine: A Missing Mitten, Pysanky Easter Eggs, & Babka Bread – If you would like to learn a bit more on Ukraine, visit my lesson at which I have shared all you will need to locate Ukraine on a map, cook a Ukrainian meal, watch YouTube clips on Ukraine, color the flag, create a Ukrainian craft, read a great book about Ukraine, and more!
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Over the years I have posted over 35 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! 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 Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies .

Free Russia Lapbooks

Free Russia Literature-Based Lapbook (various books included)

Free One Week Study on Russia (including lapbook links and activity ideas)

Russia: Land of Endurance

Russia: Land of Endurance

Russia: Land of Endurance

All of the above activities featured in the photos are just some of the many excellent activities featured in Russia: Land of Endurance by Konos Curriculum. The curriculum is easy to follow, with a lesson full of activities for each day of the week. You can either buy the book or you can buy the lesson book along with needed craft supplies and books.

© 2013 Shannon

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