Posts Tagged ‘American History’

Mayflower Tour

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

mayflower-tour

Last month my family flew to the east coast for a family reunion with my husband’s family, and one of our favorite activities was touring the Mayflower! The ship is a replica of the original ship, which went back to England and eventually deteriorated.

Mayflower Tour

Here is our tour of the ship:

My husband’s sister lives in Massachussetts, which is the area where the Pilgrims landed in the New World back in 1620. We hadn’t seen this side of our family in six years, so my kids were excited to see how much their cousins had grown. We had a wonderful time re-connecting.

plymouth-rock-sign

Plymouth Rock is still there, even though it has been chipped away by tourists for years, making it better called Plymouth Pebble. It’s a bit anti-climactic for present-day tourists, who look down on it from the cage or jail cell where it now resides near the beach where the Mayflower ship replica is harbored.

plymouth-rock

When we climbed aboard the Mayflower, we stepped back in time. The ship is actually quite small! Above deck, we walked around the ship, which is not very much exercise, since the entire ship from front to back is only about a dozen steps in total.

on-deck-mayflower

Below deck, it was easy to envision the cramped conditions of the 102 men, women, and children who were living down here for 66 days–over two months! I felt sorry for them, since their conditions didn’t improve that much when they arrived in the New World, only to die of starvation.

inside-mayflower

No wonder Thanksgiving Day really affects our hearts, to know that the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims to survive in this unknown land. We give thanks every year for all the many blessings we take for granted, which the Pilgrims had to mostly do without.

This was a really fun educational field trip for American history that I’d always wanted to do with my kids. It was worth doing, and I’m glad we got to do it with our extended family.

If you want more hands-on activities for this time period, check out our Pilgrims Unit Study!

LEGO Covered Wagon

Monday, October 5th, 2015

LEGO-covered-wagon

My son made a LEGO covered wagon out of regular LEGO bricks. This is a fun hands-on activity you can do with your kids when you are studying the Wild West. You can also combine it with a literature study of Little House on the Prairie.

My son made some log cabins out of red LEGO bricks attached to a green base. He stuck a horse into the barn, and he placed a chimney on the house. Next to the house is where he placed the covered wagon.

lego-covered-wagon-baseHe started building the covered wagon by grabbing some brown LEGO bricks and placing four “wheels” on the bottom. Those wheels were really LEGO bricks with 2 bumps. Then he built the main platform on top of the wheels. This was in the shape of a rectangle. He placed a front seat on the covered wagon. It was another LEGO with 2 bumps.

lego-covered-wagon-topThe top part of the LEGO covered wagon was built out of white LEGOs in the shape of an upside-down “U,” with a row of 2-prong LEGOs along the top. Brown LEGOs attach the white canvas top to the bottom of the covered wagon.

Now your LEGO covered wagon is complete, and you can begin having Wild West adventures with your fun Wild West LEGO scene!

Modern History Notebook

Monday, September 14th, 2015

modern-history-notebookThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today I will be showing you our modern history notebook that we put together during our study of American history. We made two notebooks for the year: one for the Civil War and one for the true modern culture starting at the turn of the century. In our series on modern history, I have shown you many hands-on activities, field trips, and themed parties that help to bring this time period to life. Now I will focus on the written work.

all-american-history-notebook

We used the charts and maps from All American History, Volume II. I liked the fact that my kids had to color and cut out the flags of the different countries involved in the wars. World War I and World War II are especially important to keep separate and are often taught in the schools one after the other. I purposely spent longer than a week (3 weeks!) on World War I so that the kids understood trench warfare and early airplanes. I did NOT want the two world wars to blur together  in their minds.

World-War-II-map

As you can see in the demonstration video at the bottom of this post, we decorated the cover of the modern history notebook with 3-dimensional stickers from World War II. We divided the binder into different sections:

Take a look at our finished Modern History Notebook:

LEGO Trench Warfare

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

LEGO-trench-warfare

While studying World War I, my children decided to build LEGO trench warfare. We started with a green base and built up the terrain by using mostly green LEGO bricks. After building up the terrain as tall as you can, put the LEGO men down into the trenches. The good guys can look up over the trench while fighting against their enemies.

LEGO-WWI

One edge has one trench, and the opposite edge has another trench. There can be holes in the trenches to look out at the enemy.

There should be a plain between the two sides. The plain in the middle has land mines and barbed wire, so have the soldiers run carefully not to set off any land mines. If a land mine is set off, make a small explosion with gray LEGO bricks.

trench-warfare

Machine guns were also stationed behind the trenches, and they would mow down the enemy when they were charging. This is war. It’s tragic and gruesome, and it’s a part of history. This hands-on activity is one way to understand World War I.

If you are doing a unit study on trench warfare, you might also like Trench Warfare Creative Writing.