Tag Archives: hands-on

Innovators Tribe: Engineering Review

If you are interested in helping your kids explore and develop their engineering skills, then you might want to check out the online courses from Innovators Tribe

Innovators Tribe currently offers 3 hands on courses for kids who want to learn to design, create, and build.

Thinking Like An Engineer 

Thinking Like An Architect

Thinking Like A Carpenter (coming soon)

We were recently sent a 2 year subscription to Thinking Like An Engineer for the purpose of this review.

Thinking Like An Engineer

Online Course

Interactive Lessons

Activity Guides

Design Software

Online Support

Thinking Like An Engineer is taught by Wayne Kroeplin, an experienced engineer and educator.  This is an “Introduction To Engineering” course designed for kids in 6 grade through 12th grades.  This course qualifies for highschool science credit, (check with your specific state for more info on highschool transcript requirements).

Thinking Like An Engineer is an online self paced course with 30+ hours of interactive lessons broken into 6 units.

  • Unit 1 – Introduction to Engineering
  • Unit 2 – Introduction to 3D Computer Design and Solid Modeling
  • Unit 3 – Engineering Rollercoasters
  • Unit 4 – Engineering Bridges
  • Unit 5 – 3D Computer Design
  • Unit 6 – Nano-Engineering

Thinking Like An Engineer includes 38 interactive lessons, 10 design and build challenge activities, activity guides, online support, and 3D design software, etc.  With the subscription to Thinking Like An Engineer, we were also sent a bonus course called Thinking Like An Innovator that contained 9 additional lessons plus 3 challenge activities.   Listed below is the course outline for both of these courses.

Course Outline / Table of Contents

Unit 1 – Introduction to Engineering

Lesson 1 :  What is engineering?

Challenge activity: Design the tallest paper tower

Lesson 2 :  Different types of engineers

Challenge activity: Design a paper structure that can carry the most books

Engineering in the News!

Lesson 3 :  Engineering clean water

Challenge activity: build your own water filtration system

Lesson 4 :  14 Grand engineering challenges of the world

Unit 2 – Introduction to 3D Computer Design and Solid Modeling

Lesson 1 :  How to get ideas out of your head (Tools of modern design and innovation)

Lesson 2 :  Introduction to your software

Lesson 3 :  Creating basic objects

Lesson 4 :  Moving and connecting objects

Lesson 5 :  Grouping objects

Lesson 6 :  Edges and faces

Lesson 7 :  Adding, Intersecting and subtracting material

Lesson 8 :  Material properties

Challenge activity:

Lesson 9 :  3D scanning

Lesson 10 :  Rapid prototyping – 3D printing

Unit 3 – Engineering Rollercoasters

Lesson 1 :  Types of roller coasters

Lesson 2 :  Roller coaster design

Lesson 3 :  Energy and a little math

Lesson 4 :  Roller coaster construction

Engineering in the News!

Lesson 5 :  How to become a roller coaster engineer

Challenge activity: Build a paper roller coaster

Unit 4 – Engineering Bridges

Lesson 1 :  An engineering mystery that stunned the world!

Lesson 2 :  5 types of bridges

Lesson 3 :  Parts of a suspension bridge

Lesson 4 :  How to build a suspension bridge

Challenge activity: Build and test your own suspension bridges

Engineering in the News!

Lesson 5 :  Bridges and physics

Lesson 6 :  Famous (and scariest) bridges in the world

Lesson 7 :  Structural engineering (and a little math)

Lesson 8 :  Testing the wind (gathering clues)

Challenge activity: Build your own wind tunnel and test your own model bridge sections.

Engineering in the News!

Lesson 9 :  What really happened that day

Lesson 10 :  Out with the old, in with the new

Lesson 11 :  What engineers have learned

3D challenge: Bridge design software

Unit 5 – 3D Computer Design

Lesson 1 :  Quick introduction to 3D computer design

Lesson 2 :  Introduction and installation of 123D Design software

Lesson 3 :  Learn how to use 123D Design (Tutorials)

Lesson 4 :  Let’s make a car rim!

Design Challenge: Create a piece of furniture!

Lesson 5 :  3D printing (3D what?)

Design Challenge: Make it better in 3D!

Unit 6 – Nano-Engineering

Lesson 1 :  How we see small things

Lesson 2 :  The discovery of a new world!

Lesson 3 :  What is Nano-Engineering?

Engineering in the News!

Summary – What do I do now?
Links for additional research in the world of engineering
High school offerings and career pathways

BONUS COURSE 

Thinking Like an Innovator

Lesson 1 :  The 6 steps of innovation (A tragedy at sea)

Lesson 2 :  What is a problem?

Lesson 3 :  What is an idea?

Challenge activity: Brainstorming!

Lesson 4 :  How to create more ideas

Lesson 5 :  Brain Games!

Challenge activity: Mental fitness

Lesson 6 :  4 Poisons to innovators

Lesson 7 :  The secret ingredient

Lesson 8 :  How to make money!

Challenge activity: Solo cup

Lesson 9 :  Woman Innovators

Check out this short video for more information about Thinking Like An Engineer course from Innovators Tribe:

Our Experience:

We have only had this course a few weeks so far and all I can say is wow!  This course is a wonderful way for kids to explore the field of engineering in a hands on way.   Their time is divided between spending some time at the computer watching the lessons or designing, and other times actually creating different challenge projects.  I am thrilled this course can be listed on my kids highschool transcript and can help them meet those requirements for graduation, while at the same time learning practical knowledge and skills that will help them as adults.

Each time my son sits down to work on his course, he is able to work independently and progress at his own pace.  He logs into his program, watches the video lesson, then proceeds to the challenge activity if there is one for the lesson.  Some of the lessons have challenge activities, and some do not.

My son has finished the first four lessons and challenge activities in Unit 1 and is currently working in Unit 2.  I have primarily focused this review on his experience with Unit 1.  His favorite part so far has been the challenge activities.   There is a course outline / syllabus and a basic materials list that you can download and print.

For the first unit challenges, we gathered materials from around the house, and picked up a few at the local store too: pencil, paper, scissors, clear tape, ruler, measuring tape, masking tape, a small construction level, recycled soda bottles, measuring cup, spoon, water, dirt, coffee filter, rocks, sand, etc.

The Challenge Activities kids get to do include designing and building: various towers, structures, water filters, and more.  The Design Activities kids get to do include:  roller coasters, bridges, Rube Goldberg machine, and learning to design with 3D CAD software.

This is a great opportunity to learn about engineering.

Here are some of the hands on challenge activity projects my kids have been building:

Challenge Activity Lesson 1 – Design the tallest paper tower as tall as you can using only 4 sheets of paper and 1 foot of masking tape. Try to reach a goal of 5 feet tall that can stand on its own without falling over.

He tried several times to get his tower to five feet, but I didn’t get a picture of all of his attempts.  The tower was difficult to get it to stand straight without it falling over.

He eventually built his base wider and wider for better stability and it resulted in a shorter than 5 foot tower.

He wanted to explore this concept even more, so he tried a different method on his own with four more sheets of paper and 1 more foot of masking tape.  This time he turned his paper into a grid so he could work with it better.  He said he prefers working with blocks instead of circles.

He went with a wider base again to support the upper levels and prevent it from falling over.  This base was tall too.  We discussed that he could have used a shorter base that was still wide.

He came up with a model he liked, that wasn’t as tall as 5 feet, but stood straight without falling over.

Challenge Activity Lesson 2 – Design a paper structure that can carry (support the weight of) the most books.

Again, he chose to work with block shapes for his support structure.

He managed to load 31 books just fine, but on the 32nd book his tower of books collapsed on 1 side.

He made various structures several times to try different systems to see which design could support the most books.

Challenge Activity Lesson 3 – build your own water filtration system.

This was a fun experiment.  My son used a plastic bottle, cut in half, and covered the pouring end with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Then he added a layer of small pebbles, and two layers of sand to create a water filtration system.

Next, he mixed dirt into water in a measuring bowl and stirred it with a spoon until most of the dirt dissolved into the water.  Then he slowly poured the dirty water into his filter system.

He was very pleased when the water coming out of the homemade filter was clear and all of the dirt was gone.

This is an excellent lesson for kids and adults of all ages.  There is a shortage of clean water in this world.  There are people in in various places who don’t have clean water to drink, to cook with, or to bath in. Many people die from diarrhea from bacterial and parasite contamination they get from dirty drinking water.  Knowing how create a water filtration system could save your life someday.

He would definitely want to make a few modifications to this homemade filter before actually drinking this water.  If left as is, he could use the clear water by boiling the water to kill any pathogens before consuming it.   Or if he had access to add a layer of charcoal to the bottom layer, and a layer of grass to the top layer of this filter, and possibly even use a bandanna or tee shirt as the first layer the dirty water is poured through before it enters the filter system, would help to get the water as clean as possible.

Even his little brother was impressed he could turn muddy water back into clear water.

It seems like kids are natural engineers.  They love to explore, build, create, and problem solve.  From birth their mind is filled with wonder and great potential. Kids naturally have an optimistic outlook and most of the time they still believe that everything is possible.  Father God is the greatest engineer of all time, and we are created in his image.   No wonder kids are natural engineers!

My son really likes this course and says he enjoys learning from the instructor, Wayne Kroeplin, because he explains everything very clearly and he gives lots of examples.  He is interesting to listen to.  When the course is finished, hopefully he will have reached the goals of what it means to think, problem solve, design, create, and build like an engineer.

Goals kids will be able to reach by the end of this course include:

  • Explain and apply 6 steps of problem-solving.
  • Know how to use techniques.
  • Explain ideas.
  • Explain “solution.”
  • Demonstrate the use of different brain-games that boost innovation skills.
  • Identify the 4 poisons to innovation and their cure.
  • Explain the importance of engineering and problem-solving using real-world examples.
  • Explain 14 grand problem-solving challenges that need solutions.
  • Define: tension, compression, twisting, bending, shearing, torsion, vortices, vortex shedding, aerodynamics, dead load, live load, structural-engineering, girder, truss, friction, potential and kinetic energies, g-force.
  • Give examples of how math subjects are used in engineering: Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Advanced Calculus, Trigonometry, Probability & Statistics, Physics.
  • Demonstrate the correct use of various tools: ruler, construction level, 3D design software, etc

Thinking Like An Engineer is a terrific course.  We are having a lot of fun with it. I would encourage everyone to give it a try.  A great skill to have is to learn how to identify a problem or need that might be in your own home or community or across the world, and solve the need with things we can design and create.  Father God has truly blessed us in his image with an intelligent mind and so much creative potential.

Social Media

Be sure to check out the website and social media for all the latest news and product updates.  There are also some interesting videos on the teacher’s youtube channel and you can get an even better feel for the kind of teacher he is and the materials he teaches.  Right now InnovatorsTribe is running a special sale of 35% off all their courses.  The current sale runs through 11/11/17.

Website (InnovatorsTribe): https://www.innovatorstribe.com/

Youtube (Wayne Kroeplin):  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRZ9sOi8qIKqFH3Z5g7VURg

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using products from Innovator’s Tribe in their home.

Please share.

Home School In The Woods: Time Travelers American History Studies Review

If you love learning American History, then you will want to try out the History Through the Ages: Time Travelers American series by Home School in the Woods.

Home School In the Woods Publishing produces creative “hands on” Curriculum and Historical Timelines.  They specialize in teaching history with fun projects that will interest your kids and keep their interest by involving all their senses in the learning adventure.  We are currently reviewing Industrial Revolution through Great Depression in the Time Travelers American series.

HISTORY Through the Ages
Time Travelers American History Study: The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression

25 Hands On History Lessons

Covering 70 years of American History

From The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression.

Suggested grades: 3-8

For individual family use.

Format: CD or Download (Mac & PC Compatible)

Download $27.95

CD $28.95

This curriculum is loaded with printable lessons, printable activity masters, a sample schedule, teacher tips, photos of every projects, resource lists, teacher keys, a “guide-at-a-glance”, and more.

Choose the curriculum format, either CD or Download, that best meets your needs. You will need a computer and printer to use this curriculum.  You will also need a 3-ring binder for the parent/teacher, and a 3-ring binder for each of your students to store everything.

Other items needed include folders, printing / copy paper, card stock paper, colored pencils, glue, tape, scissors, plus a few other items for various projects.

25 HANDS ON HISTORY LESSONS!

The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression contains 25 History Lessons filled with fun hands on activities .

The lessons and activities cover many changes in American history that occurred from the end of the 1800’s to the early 1900’s (approximately 1869 to 1939) as America became a modern industrialized country.

Topics include:

  • The Transcontinental Railroad
  • Growth & Expansion of the Nation
  • The Indian Wars
  • The Gilded Age
  • The Spanish-American War
  • WWI
  • Innovations & Inventors
  • Immigration
  • Orphans
  • Woman’s Suffrage Movement
  • People of Interest who Made America Great
  • Business Tycoons
  • Working Conditions
  • The Progressive Era
  • The Roaring 20s
  • The Stock Market Crash
  • The Dust Bowl
  • and much more!

The lessons are very organized and easy to follow.  Each lesson can be completed in an hour if projects are pared down, or can be stretched out over a few days to include all the projects suggested for that lesson. Pages and projects are coded so that you always know what lesson and what projects go together.  There are printable lessons, project pages, project masters, information sheets, photos of completed projects, teacher helps, and more. There is a sample lesson plan schedule that you can use, or you can skip around and mix up the lessons if it suits your needs.

These History Studies are presented in a cross curricular Unit Study method. They include History, Art, Science, Engineering, Music, Creative Writing, Penmanship, Clothing, Cooking, Research, and more.  The lessons are flexible and can be adapted to the needs of various skill levels and age ranges.  In addition to the lessons, and activities provided, there are lists of materials needed, a section with additional resources and suggestions for books to read, videos to watch, and internet subjects to explore.  You can choose to do as many of the suggested hands on activities and projects for each lesson as you wish.

Suspension bridge project photo and instructions in curriculum

Depending on how many activities you want to do, and how often you do a lesson, will determine how long this curriculum will take to complete.  For example, you can do 1 lesson a week and the suggested activities and this study should last 25 weeks, or you could go faster and complete 3 lessons a week and finish in about 8 weeks or so.  Or go super fast and complete 1 lessen per day and finish in as little as 5 weeks.  It is up to you how fast or slow you wish to go, and how many of the activities you wish to do, to learn the materials covering this period in history. Over 50 activities and projects are included.

Project & Activities

Here are just a few of the 50+ suggested activities and projects:

  • Suspension Bridge
  • Wright Brothers “Flyer”
  • Train & Railroad Booklet
  • America Grows: Mapping the New States
  • Penny Rug
  • Yo-Yo Quilt
  • Paper Tole Craft
  • Flip Book
  • WWI Silk Postcards
  • Creative Writing
  • Fact File Cards
  • Trade Cards
  • Penmanship Pages
  • Turn of the Centuries Scenes Game
  • File Folder Games
  • Notebooking Activities
  • Timeline of History
  • Experiments
  • Depression Era Recipes
  • Depression-Era Dinner
  • A Lap Book with 12 Lap Book Projects

A really cool aspect of this curriculum, is that in addition to all of the hands on projects your kids will get to create, and learning about historical events and wars that helped shaped the nation, they also learn several things about the culture of America during these years.  They learn about the impact of industry and the making and selling of goods and services and also how disasters (natural and man-made) shaped the culture.

The early American culture was made up of hard working immigrants from around the world and native Americans, and in this curriculum you learn about their influence in music, clothing, art, theater / early movies, and also learn about “American” food during this time in history.

Kids get the opportunity to make recipes in several of the lessons.  They also create a recipe box for their final Lap Book to store the recipes in.   At the end of the course they can throw a dinner party for guests or family members.  For this party they decorate from the era, recreate the recipes for a special meal, and play games from this period in history as a final project pulling together all the fun they have had learning about this time in America’s history.

Recipes and corresponding lessons include:

  • Chipped Beef on Toast (Lesson 5)
  • Poor Man’s Meal (Lesson 5)
  • Buttered Noodles with Cracker Crumble (Lesson 10)
  • Meatless Loaf (Lesson 10)
  • Corned Beef Hash (Lesson 15)
  • Shepherd’s Pie (Lesson 15)
  • Chocolate and Rice Pudding (Lesson 20)
  • Depression Cake (Lesson 20)
  • Tuna, Mac, & Cheese Casserole (Lesson 23)
  • Brown Betty (Lesson 23)

Time Travelers American History Study Series

There are currently 7 titles in the Time Travelers American History Study Series:

  • New World Explorers
  • Colonial Life
  • The American Revolution
  • The Early 19th Century
  • The Civil War
  • Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
  • World War II

To learn more about this wonderful History curriculum, check out this video put together by Home School In The Woods about their Time Travelers History Studies Series:

Our Experience:

When I received my product via download, I read through the introduction and printed off the suggested lesson plan.  This curriculum is jam packed with fun hands on learning opportunities! I couldn’t wait to dive into this experience with my kids.

Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression Lesson Plan Schedule

As you can see at first glance in this lesson plan, there is a lot of great learning opportunities with these lessons.  Rather than try to go to fast, we decided to take it slow and do 1 lesson a week.  There are at least two hands on activity projects with each lesson.  It can be overwhelming at first when you see all the projects listed and printable material included.  Taking it slow will help mom’s plan ahead and have time read through this material a few days in advance before you plan to start so you can get prepared.

After I looked over the first couple of lessons, I printed out a few and the corresponding activity instructions and masters and put these into a three ring binder to keep them organized. There is a printable notebook cover that you can use for your 3-ring binder.

The parent/teacher’s binder will house the lesson reading text, direction pages of projects, the “Guide-at-a-Glance,” teacher keys, and teacher helps. There is also a cover for the student binder and you can choose to print in color or in black and white for the student to color in and personalize. The student binder houses all the stuff the kids do in their lessons such as Timelines, Newspaper, Penmanship and Creative Writing activities, etc.

HANDS ON ACTIVITIES:

Here are a few pictures of some of the hands on activities from our learning adventures with this curriculum:

The Wright Brother’s Flyer:

Brooklyn Bridge Project:

Learning about bridge construction was one of the historical projects the older boys really enjoyed.  They learned about the construction of the first suspension bridge in America. The curriculum suggested making a bridge with the cardboard from milk cartons and string.

However, we don’t have milk cartons to use (we buy raw milk in 1 gallon jugs), so we brainstormed some ideas.  We made one version with a granola bar box.

Then my older sons came up with their own version of suspension bridges with craft sticks, hot glue, cordage, etc. and then explored more ideas on other kinds of bridges from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s too.

They made several models, took them apart, refigured their plans, and built them again.

Model of suspension bridge in progress.

Model of traditional truss support bridge.

Another suspension bridge experiment in progress.

Another suspension bridge in action

WWI Soldier’s Journal:

Another project they really enjoyed was creating a WWI Soldier’s Journal with real pictures of what life was like for a soldier.  This journal will contain photos and letters.

Soldier’s Journal

One of my son’s wanted these photos to feel sturdy so he went an additional step with these printed pictures (and several other paper crafts) and he cut and glued file folder onto the back to make them stronger.  The other boys didn’t reinforce their journal photos.  You could also laminate these projects to keep them nice, water proof them, and help them last longer.

WWI Ammo Belt:

Part of the Soldier’s Ammo Belt

Inside the pockets are various items such as a paper map, ID cards, a mini Soldier’s New Testament, mini timeline of the war, etc. and there are additional facts about the WWI in the flaps when you open the pouches.

This project is supposed to be mounted on a paper base, but one of my son’s wanted to actually wear the WWI ammo belt.

After reinforcing the printed and cut out project with manila folder and glue, (he really enjoy’s doing this by the way), he then made belt loops for the back and was able to put the ammo belt project on his belt and wear it around.

He is quite creative and likes to role play and this gave him a military gear costume piece he is quite proud of.

He also turned some of the other projects into wearable pieces as well. The cool thing is all these pieced he reinforced can also go back into his notebook or Lap Book when he is done playing with them.

Field Trips:

Part of the beauty of homeschooling that you can lay down the books and worksheets and get outside and go somewhere and relate what you have been studying to the real world.  If you can’t make it outside for a field trip, you can always view a virtual field trip online.   Check out videos on “youtube” for lots of ideas / suggestions for virtual field trips related to the time period or a specific topic, it is easy to find.  Field trips are not required in this curriculum, but we try to include field trips in every unit study adventure we do.

We love field trips!  We try to keep our expenses as low as possible for activities because we have a large family and things add up quickly.  We usually look for free field trips / things to see and do that go along with our studies.  Usually that also means it has to be a “day trip”, somewhere within a 3 hour drive or less so we can make it back home before dark.  We actually started this habit before we had kids.  Our local town advertised a booklet called “One Tank Trips” and it kind of became our method for travel and seeing new things and learning history of the area.  We are fortunate that for most of the time we have been married, we have lived within a short drive of a lot of history that we could see in 1 day or 1 tank trips.  So we have tried to keep up this tradition with our kids.

During this study we went to see several really cool things.  We saw a navy battle ship in Wilmington, NC and a suspension bridge near Charleston, SC, and a shipping canal that was made and used during this time period for shipping goods on the Catabwa SC river.

Battle Ship at Wilmington NC

There is a pedestrian suspended bridge in Greenville, SC at Falls Creek Park that we have been to see a few years ago.  We used to spend some of our Sunday afternoons after church there and play with the kids and explore the history.  There is a foundation of an old mill there too.   We didn’t make it back out to see it for this learning project, but hope to go see it again soon. But we did drive out to see a suspension bridge that you can drive on near Charleston, SC.

Suspension Bridge near Charleston, SC

This one is on Highway 17 in South Carolina along the Atlantic Ocean.  The kids were amazed going across this bridge suspended over the open waters between mainland and islands on the SC border.

Log House from 1800’s

Sign for the canal on Catawba river used for transport of products.

Remains of old canal used for loading boats in the 1800’s along the Catawba River

Ford at Catawba River

Family hike to see the 1800’s canal and ford on the Catawba River.

In the recent past we have also visited other sights related to this time in American history and would go great with this unit study. I will mention them here because it might give other families some ideas of things to go and visit.   Some of the places we have been related to this period in history are a mill, we visited the Wright Brother’s Museum in Modoc Indiana, and the Historical Museum of Flight in Hendersonville, NC and both lay claim to the Wright Brother’s fame.  They both have life size Wright Brother’s air planes and the Hendersonville one also shows planes from different wars. There are also models the kids can climb in and explore.  We have also been to the Air Force base in Dayton Ohio where the kids have seen planes from all throughout history and they have a huge room full of WWI planes.  We took a ferry ride on the Atlantic ocean of the coast of the Carolina’s where big ships come in with goods on barges.  Before suspension bridges were made across rivers and ocean bays, transport ferries and boats were the only method across these waterways.  We have also visited and rode the historic trains at the train museums in Statesville, NC and Knights Town, Indiana. We on a boat in the canal at Metamora, and took the train at Metamora Indiana, the train at Knights Town Indiana, the train at Branson, Missouri, that goes across a huge tall wooden bridge overlooking an incredible gorge in the Ozark Mountains. Our kids have really enjoyed these adventures.

We will be working through this curriculum for quite some time, and my kids are loving all the activities.  We like to take it slow and tweak as we go, see and do as much as we can, and this curriculum is perfect for that.  With so many lessons and projects, it will probably last us until the end of this year.

One of the next to last projects is to create a Lap Book with all of the wonderful projects your kids have made.  A Lap Book is kind of like a scrapbook to store all your memories of the learning adventure.  The outer cover is made from a file folder(s).  We are looking forward to creating our Lap Books.  We have added in a couple of items a head of schedule because we were doing this as a review post, but we have a long way to before we are actually ready to put it all together.  These Lab Books will look really neat when they are finished.

My advice to other homeschool families (especially if you have lots of kids using this curriculum) is to “plan a head”, read a head, print out everything you need for one or two lessons at a time. Collect whatever additional materials for the lesson you will need.  There is a lot of material to print and suggested projects covered in this curriculum. That fact alone equals a ton of fun for the kids!  Remember, you don’t have to print or do every activity listed, these are suggestions and you can tweak this curriculum how ever it best fits for you.  Just take it at a pace that is comfortable for your family and have loads of fun with it!

We love this curriculum and highly recommend it to everyone!

Home School In The Woods

Home School In The Woods is a “hands-on history” curriculum company. They carry a huge variety of projects.  I have only told you about the Time Traveler Series.  Check out their huge range of products and various title series they have to offer, and the free lessons and timeline samples they give away.  I am sure you and your kids will have a blast with these hands on learning adventures.

Timeline Materials
Map Sets
Time Travelers
Project Passport
Activity-Paks
Lap-Paks
Activity Studies
À-La-Carte

Be sure to get your free Erie Canal lesson from their newest product A-La-Carte when you use the code “alacarte” at checkout.  This is a great time to study about the Erie Canal because it is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the canal.

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolinthewoods
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HSintheWoods 
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hsinthewoods/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Homeschoolinthewoods/posts
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrKq6iLty2fpB6R6ZpcUb8A

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using these products with their kids.

Please share.

Project Passport: The Middle Ages Review

Home School in the Woods offers top notch History based unit studies that kids and parents love!  They recently sent us HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages for our family to review.

Kids love to go on trips.  Why not take the kids on “a trip back in time”?  With this unit study your kids can pretend to take a journey, pack their bags and board a “time machine” right in your home to travel back in history to the Middle Ages.   On this trip, you won’t even have to hear the usual “are we there yet?”  This unit study journey is so much fun!

 

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

Format: CD or Download (Mac & PC Compatible)
ISBN: 9780984204144
Retail $33.95 Download
Retail $34.95 CD

Suggested grades: 3-8
25 Lessons, Go at your own pace.
Tons of Printables For Parent / Teacher and Students
50 Projects and Activities
Arts, Crafts, Recipes
7 Dramatized Audio Tours

Lessons and Printables

The CD includes directions and masters for over 50 projects and activities. There is a HUGE menu of files.  Also included are Travel Tips, teacher keys, Additional Resources (to enhance the learning), and a Quick-Stop Itinerary. Photos of completed projects, and a three-page travel planner to help the teacher plan the the schedule with upcoming topics and projects at a glance.

Dramatized Audio Tours

Also included with this study are 7 Dramatized Audio Tours.  These audio dramas are fun to listen to and take you right to the action!  What a great way to get your kids right in to the daily life of the past by listening to and take this journey with the “Knight in Shining Armor Tours”.  The tour guide is Agatha and the coach driver is Brian and they will take the kids on various errands and excursions.

Your kids will spend time at a town Festival Day, visit a monastery where they will hear the sounds of Gregorian Chant, or visit the Battlefield of Hastings, and they might catch a glimpse of Duke William of Normandy! Wow!

Topics

There is so much to do on this journey.  It is more than just learning HISTORY!  This trip is filled adventure, exciting events, fun people to learn about, and lots of facts about life from the past. Some of the topics in this unit study include:

Barbarian Invasions
Daily Medieval Life
Class Structure in Society
Towns & Guilds
Science & Invention
Education
The Arts
Church History
Castles
The Crusades
Knights
Vikings
Weapons
Battles
Wars
and a whole lot more!

Projects & Writing & Arts & Crafts & Life Skills

A “Scrapbook of Sights” for storing notebook projects
Creative Writing projects for Lapbook
Souvenir Craft Cards with a dozen 3-D projects to make
A Newspaper “The Medieval Times”
A “Snapshot Moments in History” Scrapbook Timeline
“Postcards from Famous Folks”
Viking Ship
Castle
Puppets
Catapult
Tapestry
Hat
Wreath
Mosaic
Stained Glass
Herb Salts
Rose Water
Coat of Arms
Cooking & Recipes
A “Dining Out Guide”
2 Board Games

And More…

What We Thought

One of the things we like most about homeschooling is the freedom to choose curriculum that interests us.  The curriculum style that interests us the most is unit studies.  It is our favorite method for learning.  Unit studies are our first choice because they are flexible, adaptable, and there is such a huge variety of projects and resources that make learning any and every subject fascinating.

The first step for me after we received our product download was printing the information.  This unit study comes with a huge amount of printables for the kids as well as instructions for activities and lessons.   The mom / teacher definitely needs to be organized and print the lessons out and put them in some sort of a binder or file so you can keep track of the journey and get the supplies and printables ready for the adventure.  Besides mom’s binder, a computer, printer, and lots of paper, each kid also need a binder and a couple of file folders, glue, colored pencils and crayons, scissors, etc.

Our trip back in time to the Middle Ages includes 25 “stops” (1 +/- hour lessons) at specific locations where my kids learn what life was like during this time in History.   We went at our own pace and did 2 lessons a week. We skipped around a bit in the lessons and are half way through at the time of writing this review.  This study should take us about 14+ weeks to complete at this pace, but I plan to stretch it out longer with some additional activities.

Here is a list of a few of the STOPS and PROJECTS we have made so far:

Stop 1: Laying the foundation / packing for the trip.

Create a “Luggage” Folder and Passport.

The next step is to help the kids make a luggage or a travel suitcase, and a passport for the journey.  They will re-use these items in future Project Passport studies you do.  The suitcase helps keep all their papers and projects organized on their trip so they don’t get lost.  Kids can use the completed printables they stored in their suitcase to create a Lapbook at the end of the journey that showcases what they have learned. Another step to prep was to print out the history timeline, news paper, and scrapbook of sights so we were ready to add in tidbits along the journey.

The “prep” work and the first “stop” (lesson) was the most challenging for me as I learned to print out everything and make the “storage” or “foundation” projects of the unit study.  After that, it was easy to look at the organized lesson plans for the day and follow the plan.  The rest of the lessons take about an hour or less to complete.  All of the lessons and project instructions, crafts, and recipes are provided in the unit study and are easy for the kids to follow.

Stop 4: Everyday Life – Family and Class Structure

Firewood & Fence & Farming:

While learning about Class Structure and the Feudal System of land tenants (Serfs and Peasants) working the land for the land owners (Lords), we found ourselves wanting to know more about the daily life of the Serfs and Peasants who raised food.  We have a long way to go yet, but a few of things we focused on so far was “fuel” to cook and heat with, tools, and fencing to hold animals in a designated area.

A two worksheets are provided as well as an audio tour for this section. Since we like homesteading and farming, we decided to add more hands on projects learning about how people farmed / homesteaded during the Middle Ages to our study. We will be adding in more learning in this section in the future.  We plan to learn how to build a replica of a dwelling, how to lash boards together, how they started fire with friction, fishing with nets, butchering, growing harvesting storing and grinding grain, growing a vegetable and herb garden, etc.  These are skills that will be invaluable to these kids in the years ahead and help them connect their learning about the lives of people who lived in the past.  Tweaking a lesson here or there is the great flexibility that we love about unit studies.

Since we have been using this study during the months of January and February we focused on homesteading projects from the Middle Ages that were done this time of year.   These projects fit right in perfect timing to our study.

Chopping and gathering firewood and building and repairing fence was a common practice in January and February for the Serfs and Peasants.

January and February was also spent repairing hunting nets and repairing and building traps, sharpening tools, making utensils etc.    So we worked with the kids on learning how to sharpen a pocket knife and we also took the kids to the lake and they made their own small bait traps and worked on their fishing poles when they got snagged and lost their lines.

While researching how the Serfs and Peasants farmed the land, we learned that the most common form of fence used in small scale farming in the Middle Ages was called a “hurdle”. It is built of a “waddle” or woven fence panel made of upright posts and willow (or other flexible wood or vines available) woven in between the posts.   The next kind of fence used the most was hedges and stone fences or walls were also common if enough stone was available.  All of these fences were used to keep livestock in a boundary, either a small pen or a small field that was on crop rotation with livestock.  The fence or hedge held livestock penned in, or it held them out of gardens, graveyards, and orchards.

We could of made a small replica of the waddle fence panels and may still do this, but one of my sons likes to “build big”. Since he did not have the flexible material on hand to weave in and out of his posts he tried another method to make a simple fence panel about 5 feet long made of upright posts.

Of course 5 feet of fence isn’t enough to keep animals in, so this panel would have been combined with several more panel sections to create an actual fence.   These paneled fences would have been joined together to create pens for milk cows, ox, chickens, pigs, and sheep.    He used a small ax to make the panel and it was very obvious to the kids that just creating one panel was a lot of work.  Folks who farmed or homesteaded in the middle ages had to work very hard to do even simple tasks.

Stop 5: Everyday Life – Clothing and Food

Herb Bread:

When making the recipes, you can cook these in your modern kitchen, fire place, or outdoors.   We did some of both. We wanted to try cooking over an open flame/hot coals for a more realistic experience.  It is a lot harder to cook outside, build a fire, prep and cook the meal, bake bread, etc than it is to make this in today’s modern kitchen.   It was fun to try it out both ways.

Pictures of our creating our Herb Bread:

This bread was so delicious!  Some of the kids ate it plain, some ate it with butter, and some ate it with strawberry jam.   My husband loved it too!

Everyone wanted second and third servings of this delicious bread.  The crust and texture of the bread came out amazing!

My son also wanted to try topping his slice of bread with honey.  Every way they tried it, they enjoyed it.

 

Barely Stew

For the stew, we changed the recipe to fit what we had on hand. That is how the people in the Middle Ages did it too.  If they had an ingredient they used it, if not they substituted.  This is a good exercise in helping people to be flexible, content, and make do with what you have on hand.  Here is a picture of what the kids put into their stew.

He ate several slices with butter and then wanted to try it out with strawberry jam.

Outdoor cooking with Herb Bread:

This was another “extra” we added into our hands on learning.  Folks cooked over a fireplace in the Middle Ages.  We decided to make our “Middle Ages fireplace” kitchen in the back yard with some old bricks laying around and cook a few meals listed in the “Dining Out Guide”.

We made the fire place big enough to accommodate two fires or two cooking areas.   Two of the boys made their fires to the best of their ability to see who could heat up their bricks and get their fire just right for cooking first.   These two are competitive.

It was well after dark before we could get the fires to die down enough to cook on.

The kids learned it takes a long time to build a hot fire, heat their bricks, then let the fire die down to hot coals to bake bread.

We did not have a dutch oven pot or any “Medieval pots” to cook the bread in so we improvised with foil and shaped the foil like a pot and a lid.   The kids used the same herb bread recipe we had made in the house, and this time they put it in the foil pot we made and placed it on bricks we put in the hot coals to bake.

This is the finished bread from the outdoor fire.  It tasted delicious, though it looks misshapen or funny!  With more practice, they will be able to shape it better.

We sliced it up and lathered it with butter and some of the kids had strawberry jam with it and it was delicious!  The outdoor fireplace bread tasted just as good as the bread we had baked in the house in our modern stove oven.

We would like to try to create some pots from the middle ages to cook food in again.  We might make some clay pots and try firing them in the fire in the future.

Porridge

This was a common food eaten by peasants and surfs during the Middle Ages.   This is also a common breakfast food my kids are familiar with.  We have it once or twice a week.  It is very nutritious!

Stop 6: Everyday Life : Community

Field Trip Castle:

One of the fun activities in this lesson is to build a replica of a castle. Included are directions to build a castle with sugar cubes.  But my kids wanted to build one that will last and they can actually play with when they are through building it, so we are budgeting out money to buy a hobby brick kit to build one.  We also have a wooden castle the kids have played with for years and the kids often build small castles with Legos.   We pulled out our pictures from a while back when we actually took a field trip to see a real castle.  The kids remember this well and talked about it as they learned about castles in this unit study.

Stop 7: Everyday Life – Crime, Punishement, Entertainment

Jousting and Fox and Goose Game

This section was really interesting to the kids because one of the suggestions is to play indoor and outdoor games: checkers, chess, horseshoes, marbles, dice, board games, capture the flag, tag, games with balls, and physical training activities to become a knight, etc.    They also learned about a competitive game knights and warriors played to prove themselves in a challenge called Jousting.

Stop 13:  Medicine and Disease

Herbal Salt:

“Medicinal” herb salt.

Herbs and super foods were “medicine” in ancient times.  Folks who knew how to use strong herbs and oils and salt survived some of the darkest diseases in history.  Nowadays, petrochemicals are used to make synthetic medicines.

Though it is sad how many people died of the plague during the Middle Ages, learning how to make your own herbal remedy was an interesting lesson to explore.  This is a subject we are very interested in.  We have spent some time in the past learning about herbs used for healing.  We have made elderberry extract, tinctures, various kinds of honey, teas, and several herbal remedies over the years.  This study gave simple instructions for creating an Herb Salt that is just salt and dried herb(s) of your choice that can be used both in cooking and health care.   We made an herbal remedy with oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, and sea salt for this project.  Whenever one is feeling down, you can stir a teaspoon of this into hot water and drink it to restore minerals and act as an antibiotic anti fungal.   You can add a touch of raw honey and lemon juice for even more benefits.  We also rub the herb salt mixture into meat before cooking, or use it to season broth or other foods or put some in your bath water too.

We would like to create an actual “Herbal Apothecary” someday.   We are in the process of learning how to do this.  We have a good start with herbs, salts, essential oils, and dried super foods that ancient people in history knew how to use to support the body.

Stop 22:  Battles, Wars, Conflicts

Catapult:

During this journey, the kids learned about ancient weapons that were used during warfare.  One of those weapons was a catapult.  We built our own catapult variation with the instructions supplied.  We substituted some of the supplies listed.  We built our catapult using twigs, a pocket knife, rubber banks, and hot glue.   It turned out fantastic and worked perfectly.

It is amazing how sturdy this catapult is and how well it works!

Now the boys want to build a big life size model.  Oh boy!

One of the boys also built a Lego catapult.  He had a battle with his Lego men.  This catapult worked very well too.  Do you know how hard it is to find a Lego that was flung across the room?

Swords:

Dad helped the kids make wooden swords a while back.  They had a lot of fun making them.

It was fun to have their own sword and compare it to the weapons used in the Middle Ages unit study.   The 12 year old made a paper hat for a king, draped a blanket on as a cape and pretended he was in a heated battle with the others to protect his kingdom.

Someday they would like to make an actual shield to go with their sword. They would also like to make a long bow and set up an archer range.  They have shot bows and cross bows before.  But they are interested in making their own primitive long bow now.  They have been researching how to make it, but we haven’t built it yet.  I just hope no-one gets hurt with all these battles they like to act out.

Stop 25: Final Stop – Packing Up

Lapbook

Lapbooks are one of our favorite projects.

The Lapbook is the last lesson #25 in the Project Passport Middle Ages, but we decided to put ours together as we went along for the purpose of this review so our reading audience could see it in action.

We are about half way through with the Lapbook at the time of writing this review.

We still have a ways to go to finish this study of the Middle Ages and in addition to the recommended activities, we are adding some “extras” into our study as we find the time.   These additional activities will add a few more weeks onto our hands on learning.  The kids are really enjoying this unit study.

Because this is a flexible unit study, you can go faster or slower and pick and choose which lessons you want to complete.  For example if you speed up to 3 lessons a week, and do all of the lessons, you can finish this study in 8 weeks, or if you slow down and do 1 lesson a week on the journey, this unit study will last a full 25 weeks.   We chose to go at our own pace, plug in the activities we were interested in, added in a few additional ideas we researched, and customized the study to fit best with our family’s interest and schedule.

Check out this video that explains even more about Project Passport unit studies.

Home School In The Woods offers free samples of audio dramas and lessons and much more.  Be sure to check out their free samples on their website.  We love their History Timelines too!  Home School In The Woods is a great resource for homeschool families.   We highly recommend all of the great products at Home School In The Woods.

Homeschool In The Woods

Be sure to check out all of the great products from Home School In The Woods.  And be sure to check out all of the HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Studies series including their latest “Ancient Greece”.  They will have “Ancient Rome” available soon and are adding new products all the time. 

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Home School In The Woods Project Passport Review

I am excited to share with you about wonderful product we will be using this fall called  Project Passport  World History Study: The Middle Ages by Home School In The Woods

Home School in the Woods Review

Home School In The Woods is a company created by a real homeschool family in 2002.  The Pak family understands the challenges of learning history in a way that is truthful, as well as easy to understand and remember.   They have created many wonderful uncensored historical homeschool curriculum resources for families, including amazing illustrated history timelines, lapbooks, notebooks, and unit studies.  The printable graphics and illustrations in the activities and the organization really gives this curriculum a special quality and I encourage everyone to check out their products and see which ones will work for your family.

Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

Home School in the Woods Review

Format: CD or Download (Mac & PC Compatible)
Suggested grades: 3-8
For individual family use.
PDF Download Version $33.95
CD Version $34.95

WHAT IS INCLUDED:

This history product contains 25 lessons (or stops along the journey) that cover people, events in history, and geography from The Middle Ages about 400 AD to 1500 AD.   Some of the main historical events covered include:

  • Barbarian invasions,
  • Everyday Medieval life,
  • The structure of the classes,
  • Towns & guilds,
  • Science & invention,
  • Medieval education,
  • The arts,
  • Church history,
  • The castle,
  • The Crusades,
  • Knights,
  • Vikings,
  • Battles & wars

When your student is done, they will have made a passport that can be used for this and additional Project Passport Studies in history, a lapbook of all their research activities, a scrapbook of sights visited and project papers completed and a history timeline.  They will have several arts and craft souvenirs, file folder games, and recipes that they have made along the learning journey too.

Project Masters
The CD includes directions and printable masters for over 50 projects and activities.  This is very flexible. You can choose all of the the projects, or choose just a few of them that work best for your family!

Project Passport

Activities:

  • Creative Writing
  • File Folder Game
  • “Scrapbook of Sights” for storing notebook projects
  • Newspaper “The Medieval Times”
  • “Snapshot Moments in History” Scrapbook Timeline
  • “Postcards from Famous Folks”
  • Souvenir Craft Cards with a dozen 3-D projects to make
  • “Dining Out Guide” of Recipes
  • Lap Book Projects (over a dozen)
  • Dramatized Audio Tours
  • Travel Tips
  • Teacher Keys
  • Itinerary

Dramatized Audio Tours,
There is nearly an hour of listening on dramatized audio tours. Join “Knight in Shining Armor Tours” as Agatha (your tour guide) and Brian (your coach driver) take you on medieval excursions, such as a town on a Festival Day, a monastery where you will hear the sounds of Gregorian Chant, or the Battlefield of Hastings, and the Duke William of Normandy.

Travel Planner
The travel planner helps the teacher see the whole schedule.  They can see upcoming topics and projects at a glance and plan and gather supplies accordingly.  Use a three-ring binder to lay everything out for this history study including: Travel Tips, teacher keys, Additional Resources (should you wish to include more reading or viewing to enhance the study), and a Quick-Stop Itinerary.   Also included is a 3 ring binder notebook cover you can print in either color or black & white.  Putting everything in a binder will help you keep it neat and organized.

Notebook

Teachers Guide
The teacher’s Guide Book houses the reading Guide Book Text, the Travel Itineraries of project directions, as well as Travel Tips, teacher keys, and any of the other teacher helps.

Lapbook, Notebook, and Souvenirs
Throughout this history study,  students will accumulate many lapbook or notebook items they created from printouts and research activities to include in a final lapbook / notebook / scrapbook of the learning adventure.  Some of the specific activities include  “Snapshot Moments in History” timeline, Mapping the Barbarian Invasions, Famous People of the Crusades, Medieval Weaponry & Armor, The Coat of Arms, Illuminations, Pilgrims & Pilgrimages, etc.

We Love It!!!

All of my kids love this curriculum.  It is hands on and my kids love hands on unit studies on any subject, and this one is especially exciting.   We have this as our number one history and geography curriculum for this fall.   The Project Passports are designed to last at least 8 to 12 weeks in length.  That would mean doing two or three lessons per week.  However, this will project will stretch for 25 weeks if you choose to do one lesson a week, choose to do more of the projects suggested, and go deeper in the learning opportunities that are offered.  So I would personally recommend taking your time with this learning adventure and get as much from it as you can. It is quite the adventure and your kids are going to love it!

I am so impressed with this company and I personally would love to have all of the resources they have created for our homeschool.   We were sent their Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages for review and it is so huge, it will completely fill our history schedule this fall for our upcoming school year.  Here are just a few details to let you know more of what this about and I hope you will check them out and get started using them in your curriculum too.

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