A unit study is a great way for kids to learn about a topic that sparks their interest. It is also a great way for writers to share their work and use all that “extra” information your research uncovered that just wouldn’t fit into your final piece.
Unit studies take one topic—anything from quicksand to horses to the Civil War—and teach various subjects through that topic. They can be short and cover only a few subjects such as reading, history, and math; or they can be long and tackle every subject of study you can imagine. The length of the unit study is up to you.
Let’s take the Civil War as an example. You have written a series of fictional stories set in the Civil War, targeted at readers ages 8-12. How could you write a unit study that connects your readers with your topic?
We’ll start with reading and writing. You could give the students three writing prompts that relate to the Civil War. You could challenge older students to write a letter from a soldier to his family back home. You could assign a short research assignment. You could ask the students to identify parts of speech by giving them sentences to work with that are related to your topic.
What about math? You can create math problems based on the number of troops present at a battle; you could explore units of measurement using the weight of a pack or the length of a firearm. You could recreate a battlefield map and explore working with scale.
History abounds in a subject like the Civil War, obviously. Explore it. Create puzzles and games; challenge them to find the answers to questions; create a timeline and allow them to fill in key facts and dates.
But the unit study doesn’t have to stop there. Ask them to create a picture of an historically-accurate dress or uniform for art study. Science could look at how gunpowder works. Home economics could share recipes from the home state of one or more of the characters in your novel or story.
The possibilities are endless. So the next time you sit down to write, consider taking five minutes of uninterrupted time and brainstorm any activity or assignment you can think of that is related to your writing project. You may find yourself holding the outline for a unit study! Be sure to stop back and let me know how it turns out!
Here are some great online resources for creating unit studies:
So what can you make a unit study about?
Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.
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