Learning about those who made a true impact on our nation is our favorite type of history to learn about. When we were asked to review a Heroes of History book and Digital Unit Study by YWAM Publishing, we jumped at the opportunity to learn about Harriet Tubman – Freedombound. A historical biography and a unit study – it just doesn’t get any better than that for us.
Reading biographies makes history come alive. History is not always the most interesting subject for kids to learn about. I did not enjoy history as a child but I’m guessing that had I been offered fun learning activities to go along with the lessons I would have remembered more and enjoyed what I was learning. Adding engaging activities can make learning memorable, and that’s what YWAM Publishing has done with their digital unit studies and biography book series.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin
The Heroes of History Harriet Tubman – Freedombound book was full of valuable information, allowing our daughter to get a realistic glimpse into Tubman’s life and that era in time. The digital unit study download further expanded the value of the book by providing ample opportunities to take the learning beyond just simply reading and enjoying the book.
There are many teaching options provided in this study. Teacher led, student led, lessons for groups, lessons for individuals, and more. We chose to do student led activities for one child. Our daughter is at the 6th grade level and we build on her ability to become an independent thinker and learner. The activities suggested were perfect for building on that trait.
There are so many activities and assignments to choose from that they suggest not doing them all. We went through the Unit Study Curriculum guide together and picked out which activities she wanted to do. The unit study covers learning areas such as: Creative Writing, Drama, Movie Critiquing, Reading Comprehension, Essay Writing, History and Geography Concepts. They also provide a fact sheet, maps, and a time line printables.
Here’s what she did:
- Chapter Questions – Our daughter created a lap book for the chapter questions. The chapter questions do not have to be done in lap book form, she just enjoys putting them together. These chapter questions were great for the evaluation of Reading Comprehension.
- Wrote a Poem – We used this as a writing and drama activity. She drafted her poem on notebook paper, revised and edited her poem, then published it by typing it up on the computer and printed it out. She then read her poem to us during family time.
- Sketched a Portrait – For an art project she sketched and painted a portrait of an abolitionist and framed the portrait.
- Cloth Doll – She sewed a simple cloth doll (from a sock) and used scraps to dress her like Harriet Tubman.
- Quilt – She created a quilt from paper squares.
- Maps – We did various lessons such as: locating and marking areas of importance from the book and calculated the distance between relative locations mentioned in the book.
- Vocabulary – Looked up the definitions of any unfamiliar words she came across in the book and discussed the meanings. Create short paragraphs using the newly learned vocabulary words.
- Geographical Locations – Discussed and identified the geographical locations mentioned in Tubman’s journey. You can use the printable maps provided or a U.S. map. (if you have one available)
- Additional Resources – There are addition resources listed if you or your child (or group) would like to go even further.
The activities and lessons listed above are just a fraction of what is offered. There’s literally something for every learning style and level. You can make these unit studies as simple or as deep and complex as you and your child(ren) need to.
*Bonus! It was a fantastic surprise to learn that during this unit study it was announced that Harriet Tubman would soon be printed on the United States $20.00 bill. This just solidified how important she was to our U.S. History.
Unit studies are a great way to get fully invested in a topic because they cover so many learning concepts. YWAM Publishing has done a fantastic job at putting together these digital units to go along with their books. Very minimal planning on your part and truly engaging activities for long term memory. Children are most likely to remember what they have learned when they are a part of the learning rather than just reading written words.