Friday, July 19, 2019

Studying the States with the USA Activity Bundle Pack {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

We had the opportunity to use a fun product from the Crafty Classroom these past several weeks. As a little break from our normal social studies routine, the younger children and I have been focusing on learning a bit about the states with the USA Activity Bundle Pack. This PDF download contains three different top-selling activity packs which help focus on the different states of America.

We received an email with links to the three ebooks. It was very simple to download to my computer. In order to use these ebooks, you will need a printer with both color and black & white ink, paper (we used regular computer paper and cardstock), pencils, and crayons or colored pencils. You may need glue depending upon how you choose to put together your material. I also used prong pocket folders. Additionally you need to be able to find details about the different states and the state birds.

Let's take a look at each of the components of the ebook bundle.

We used the U.S.A State-By-State Activity Notebook as our main focus. This 60-page ebook contains one activity page for each state in our country. With these pages the children were to find the state on a small USA map in the top corner. Then they could color the state's flag and label a small state map with rivers, lakes, mountains, and the capital. They also got to fill in several bits of information: state abbreviation, state number, nickname, state flower, and state bird. There are also pictures of the flower and bird for students to color. At the bottom of the page there are some lines for jotting down a fact or two about the state. We used a book recommended by the author to discover these facts. It is titled, The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide by Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson. Thankfully our library system had this book. In fact, I took two copies out of the library so both children could have their own book to work from. This ebook concludes with two games to help children review the states: USA Bingo and Roll Across America. We have not tried playing the games yet as the children need to be familiar with the outline shapes of each state, and we haven't learned enough of the states for them to do so.

In addition to seeing the state outline on the activity page, the children can familiarize themselves with the shape of the state by using the mazes in the 52-page U.S.A State-by-State 50 Mazes! ebook. The maze for each state is shaped like the state. I would say the maze path itself is of decent difficulty level. Harold, who is in 2nd grade was able to complete the mazes, so they weren't too hard. But they posed a decent level of challenge even for mommy. Lots of twists and turns and dead ends.

We rounded out our knowledge of each state by using the 30-page U.S.A State Birds Realistic Art Cards ebook. This book has fewer pages than the other two as some of the states share the same bird. Each bird sheet has three components. There is an informational section with the fully colored bird pictured, which includes several lines for writing information about the bird. Then there is a black and white line drawing that the child is to color, following the accurate depiction on the left-hand side. This square section is labeled with the name of the bird and the states that have adopted the bird as their state bird. Then, at the bottom of the page there are small cards to be used as a matching game. One card has the color version of the bird and the other names the bird along with the state(s) it is found in.

So, how did we use these ebooks?

I decided we would work through the states in the order they joined the Union. I chose this order because we will be learning about the states next year with our core curriculum, and we learn about the states in this order. I tended to let the children take two days to work on each state. One day for the maze and the notebook information, and then another day for the bird page. 

We started each day's study with a review of the previous states. I want the children to at least remember what order the states came in, their names, and their capitals. Then I read the information about the state out of the recommended book, The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide. Then I wrote out the information the children specifically needed to make it easier for them to copy it onto their page. I did ask them to help me decide what that information was to make sure they were listening to me read. Finally, they got to choose which additional piece of state trivia they wanted to write about. 

They took the book to the table and used it to ensure they colored the state flower and bird correctly, labeled the map correctly, and recorded a bit of trivia accurately.

On the first day they were also required to work on the maze. I actually printed out four copies of each maze so Tabitha and Amelia could work on it too.

I decided to use the prong pocket folders to store their work. I love these folders because we can use the pockets to keep the papers from getting lost while they are working on them, and then I just use my 3-hole punch to punch holes in the pages and put them together like a book. 

They usually used the second day to work on the bird art page and to finish up the state activity page if they ran out of time on the previous day. There was also a book suggested to use for this component titled, United Tweets of America by Hudson Talbott. We could not find this book in our library system, so I have been using a website called State Symbols USA. 

I had the children glue the information section of their bird pages on the back of the corresponding activity page. Then I hung the picture they colored on the wall. 

(Yes, as is typical in our house, one has come up missing. It will be added to the wall once it is found.)

As I have two children who are working on this bundle, I ended up with two sets of the memory cards. So, I cut one set completely apart, while leaving the other set with the state pair uncut. That way, while we are still learning which bird is which, we have a reference. Once we have them memorized, I plan on cutting them apart as well and having both sets included in the memory matching game.

We are really enjoying using this bundle to learn more about the United States of America. I love that all I have to do is print it out and go. I also appreciate that it doesn't use a lot of color as the majority is in black and white. The mazes have been fun for all of us and I love how they help us to learn the shapes of the states. The informational activity pages are neatly arranged and fit the information just right. I love that there were book suggestions to go with this study. The The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide book has been quite informative. I do wish I had been able to find United Tweets of America, though I'm glad I found such an informative website to use in place of it (it even has videos of the birds). I am debating buying a copy of the recommended book. We'll see.

I did just want to mention a suggestion that I feel would improve the U.S.A State-by-State 50 Mazes! ebook. We came across one maze that no one in our house could find a path to get from beginning to end. As far as we can tell, New Jersey's maze doesn't have a workable path. So, I was thinking, if there was an answer key in the back of the book, we could check to make sure we can find our way if we are stuck. 

I can't wait to continue learning about the states during our next school year, because I will be pulling this pack out so we can use it alongside our core curriculum. 

I figured we would enjoy using this bundle and I was correct. We have used other material from the Crafty Classroom in the past. Harold absolutely LOVED working on his reading skills with the Learn to R.E.A.D Curriculum Notebook a couple of years ago. I invite you to read my review to see more details regarding that curriculum.

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Don't forget to click on the banner below to check out the reviews of my fellow Crew Mates. Not only will you find reviews for this USA Activity Bundle Pack but you will also find reviews of the R.E.A.D Curriculum Notebook K, R.E.A.D Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1, Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K, Alphabet Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook, Bible Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook, Sight Word of the Week Program, Pattern Block Activity Bundle, and Fables & Tales.

Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}
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