Saturday, October 9, 2010

Way Back When: Pre-History, The Big Bang & Evolution

You might, or might not remember me posting about our Story of the Universe readings quite some time back. The second book in this series, was a little hard going for the kids and so it was shelved. Finally we brought it all back out (including quite a few extra's that I had found since we first began looking at our Pre-History topic) and finished up with a nice little unit of work.

This is a huge concept to fathom, millions of years, a certain big bang and the creation of the universe out of nothing and all that so I was really just aiming for exposure. I chose not to prepare a myriad of lesson plans (they often back fire on me anyway) and just went along for the ride, seeing where it took us.

 Basically we ended up with lots of read alouds and discussions ( a lovely living book approach) and ended, as you will see in my next post about Charles Darwin with a few beautiful notebooking pages.

When I first thought about sharing this topic with the kids, I was barely aware of any books available for children. The Universe Story (the first photo with 3 books in the series) were the first ones I found. As I continued to search more and more titles were brought to my attention one way or another and in the end I had to stop buying books on the topic hehehehe

Whilst we really enjoyed the Universe Story series it is (in my opinion) definitely more suited to at least middle primary and up. However the illustrations are fabulous pieces of art and it is written in such a way that you can easily cut out the more detailed parts to lighten the load for young children.

The two books above were Lifeline Bookfest finds. The Making of Man is an upper level reader that covers the majority of topics regarding the evolution of man and The Human Body by Joanna Cole was a fabulous find. This narrative really gets inside the body and looks at the various bone structures of early humans compared to those of today. Much to our surprise it also included a few simple, but very effective experiments the children can do to show how their bodies have evolved to suit the conditions.

Evolution Revolution is full of great images. We used this more as reference (which really is what is) as opposed to reading it from cover to cover.

When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth and Bugs Began To Swarm, is a  middle to upper elementary cartoon of prehistorical life. We will definitely revist this one down the track.

The Dawn Of Man was another Lifeline find. Whilst some of the information may very well be a little dated, as it was published in 1992, I grabbed it for the photographic images than for anything else. Lots of images of bones and fossils and early human implements that we enjoyed looking at.

The First Humans offers one, very detailed, double page spread image for each significant time period from 950 000 years ago to today. Each illustration is depicting the same area and how it and its' inhabitants evolved over that time. One or two of the images are a little confronting but it definitely paints a good picture of what life might of been like during those early years.

Beautiful illustrations certainly ensure that Our Family Tree is picked up again and again. Here is the story of evolution depicted once more, but through a rythmic patterm of storytelling. I am very glad I found this book as it much better for a younger audience than some of the of the others.

Just a couple of very simple notebooking pages for this time period, apart from of course their watercoloured narrations of the Universe Story

I have absolutely no idea where these books came from, I am guessing a friend, but I can't be certain. I also know that there is at least one more somewhere around the house that we were unable to hunt down. These are funny little stories, about some very silly prehistory characters. Everyone got a giggle out of these.

There are at least a couple more posts coming on this Pre History unit, it's too much to share all in one post.


Unknown said...

We read several of these about a year ago when we covered the history of the earth. I love how you pulled this unit together ... notebooking pages (wish I'd thought of that).

Anonymous said...

This looks like great fun! We had such a good time covering pre-history, evolution, and the beginning of the universe. I'm looking forward to cycling back around to these topics in our 5th year!

Ticia said...

Interesting. The name Joanna Cole is ringing a bell, but I can't place where.

Anonymous said...

JC really enjoyed tbat last series of books & yes there was a 4th from memory. I am glad your munchkins got some enjoyment from them too. I have taken note of a few of those other titles to look up for my two. the family tree book did u get from one of the book parties?? I have a vague recollection it is one I wanted to get at some point?? As you know JC loves all this early history stuff and I know he will get enjoyment reading some of these books. You always do such a great job presanting these things. Cant wait to see what u are doing next.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I have to bookmark this post - I've searched high and low for evolution books and came up practically empty. I did see some of those you mention (The Universe Story and Our Family Tree), but after looking at them at Amazon I think that they are better suited for children your B's age. It's disappointing that while there are zillion of books on creation for preschoolers, there is so little on evolution.

Kylie said...

Raising A Happy Child - sadly I have to agree with you. Nothing of what we read is really suited to a preschooler. Our Family Tree is better (for that age) than the Universe Stories and really the illustrations are good enough to just look at them and discuss the topic.

Hey Joh, Our Family Tree is from, where else, but The Book Depository!

Bianca said...

Oh wow! You have some awesome books! I love teaching my kids about the big bang and evolution :)

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