FIAR – Very Last First Time

This was a fascinating story of a young Inuit girl from northern Canada who takes her first trip under the ice to collect mussels.

credit: Amazon

Geography/History/Social Studies
Even I was trying to figure out how someone can realistically walk on the seabed, under ice!  When we watched a BBC video clip of two Inuit doing exactly that, the pieces came together… and you could sense the trepidation as they hurried to gather the mussels before the tide came back in.  Fascinating!  You can understand the excitement and fear that Eva, the little girl, feels on her journey under the ice.

We located North America on the globe, then pointed out Canada and northern Canada.  The kiddos colored Canadian flags and Eskimo coloring sheets and we read a neat Canadian alphabet book which has something about the country for each letter – like hockey, maple syrup, mounted police and so forth.

Since we did a unit on Eskimos last year I had a few other resources that I was able to use again, including an arctic animal file folder game and an inuit statues shadow matching game.  The kids enjoy talking about animals – especially polar bears and penguins – and after reading a number of books about the wildlife they got to play around with a little arctic sensory tray I put together for them.  Later in the week we watched a couple “Planet Earth” episodes.

Language Arts
In addition to making a list of various vocab words – those pertaining to things under the sea, Inuit, or words Gwen didn’t recognize – we talked about story titles.  I asked her if she knew why the story was given its title and we talked about it for a bit.  Kind of confusing at first but then you get it.

Fine Arts
The illustrations in the book are beautiful.  I explained how the pictures had many different colors throughout and we discussed warm vs. cool colors and they painted pictures after identifying which colors came from which spectrum.  We also did a little study on pointillism, observing how some of the pictures seemed to be made of lots of dots close together, making our own pictures with q-tips.

Gwen’s favorite was salty watercolors, which we’ve done before – but didn’t go over as I’d hoped the first time.  This time around, she oohed and ahhed every time she touched the paintbrush to the glue and salt mixture, watching the colors seep and spread.  It’s really a fun process!  This is a keeper in my stash of craft ideas.

Science
We read a number of books about sea creatures – mussels, mollusks, starfish, etc.  I didn’t realize how many of them are in the mollusk family – like squid!  They just don’t have shells like many of the other types.  They wanted to watch the BBC video over and over!

The kids always enjoy the science experiments and we did a couple involving frozen water.  First, we filled two cups with water, adding salt to one of them.  We observed which one froze first – the plain water – and talked about how saltwater freezes more slowly than fresh and why we salt the roads in winter.

Next, I had them gather snow from outside.  We filled three bowls – one with light snow, one with tightly packed snow and one with ice.  We observed which ones melted more slowly; it wasn’t as obvious as the saltwater experiment so I read the explanation in the book.  Apparently, ice melts more slowly in comparison because there isn’t as much air surrounding the water molecules.

I tried having the kids make paper snowflakes, thinking they would love it, but they got really fussy and impatient over not being able to cut the paper the “right” way.  We’ll save that for another time!

Go-along Books
M is for Maple: a Canadian Alphabet
My Arctic 1, 2, 3
The Inuit
Arctic & Antarctic (DVD, too)
Arctic Ocean
Polar Animals
The Ice’s Edge: The Story of a Harp Seal Pup
Nutik, the Wolf Pup
The Polar Bear Son: an Inuit Tale
Snow Bear
All About Snow and Ice
Sea Life
Kitchen Science
Mollusks
Mollusks and Similar Sea Creatures
About Mollusks: a Guide for Children
Sponges are Skeletons
Starfish
Star of the Sea: a Day in the Life of a Starfish
“Planet Earth” DVDs

Resources
Homeschool Share’s Very Last First Time resources
Education.com’s Niagara Falls coloring page
Education.com’s Multicultural Coloring: Inuit Worksheet
Misc. resources from our I is for Igloo week
Youtube’s “Race Against the Tide” video
pointillism inspiration
salty watercolors inspiration

*See my FIAR Pinterest board for more ideas & inspiration.

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