Tuesday, April 30, 2013

G Is For Geography Fair and G'day Mate

A little over a week ago our homeschool group had our very first geography fair. Each family that wished to participate picked a different country. There were about 20 families that joined the fun and we had a little over a month to prepare our projects.

Our family chose to do Australia which is country, continent and island all rolled into one. I had visited this amazing country in 1998 with People to People Student Ambassadors so I had lots of great photos, souvenirs and books that we could utilize for our project. My kids were super excited to get to work. For weeks all I heard was, "mom when is the geography fair?"

I dug out my keepsake box and gathered photos and souvenirs from my adventure to the "Land Down Under." This was the first time I had shown the kids ALL of my treasures and photos from my trip. They loved looking through my keepsake box and were full of questions. I think we spent about a day just looking through and talking about my travels.

Next we visited the library to check out some books on Australia. We checked out story books and informational books. After reading our books and becoming experts on Australia we were ready to get to work on our display board. 

I went online and printed up a map of Australia, the Australian flag, Australian crest and the Australian country bird, flower and animal. We also included a photo of the prime minister (Julia Gillard) and of course a photo of a famous homeschooling family (The Irwins). I printed everything in black and white so the kids could color them in...really making the project their own.

We invited some of our good friends over to have a project day. Our friends chose St. Lucia as their family's country. The kids all had a great time working together on their projects. It was really cute watching them encourage each other and compliment each other.

And well no homeschooling unit study is complete if we don't have some fun with Lego's. Sometimes the only way I can get Rowyn involved is to include Lego's so I gave him the task of helping us build the Sydney Opera House. The kids also wanted to add the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

As we were working on our project I couldn't help but notice it looked like a giant lapbook...so I thought why not use lapbook pieces on our board for all of our facts? I contacted my favorite lapbooking company A Journey Through Learning and asked if we could review the Australia lapbook by utilizing it on our display board.

A Journey Through Learning geography lapbooks for all 7 Continents, Canada, the 50 States as well as one that can be utilized with any country. The downloadable lapbook is $11.00. I really love how well the lapbook worked on our display board. The reading material that is included was fabulous. There were lapbooking pieces related to Geography and Climate, Regions, Government, People, Major Ethic Groups, Language, Religion, Animals, Holidays and Traditions, Foods, and Craft Ideas. I loved how well all the pieces went with our board and how they added an interactive three dimensional aspect to our display board. During the geography fair it was lots of fun watching the kids flip and unfold the lapbook pieces to read what my kids had written about Australia. 

After getting our printouts, lapbook pieces and photos placed on the board it was time to embellish it with some souvenirs and stickers. 

And no geography fair project would be complete without some authentic food from the country. I had intended to make some pavlova (Australia's national dessert) with the kids...but we ran out of time. Luckily there is a great little place called the Australian Bakery Cafe in Marietta, GA. So we placed an order for 10 individual pavlovas, we also ate some lunch while we were there and picked up some Vegemite.  The kids loved their meat pies and pavlova!

I also created an Australian YouTube channel with lots of great videos all about Australia.

Our FULL display the day of the geography fair. I can definitely say we will be doing more projects like this even if there is no geography fair to show them off at. Creating this project gave the kids a fun, hands on opportunity to learn about a different country and culture. It took learning beyond the textbook. I don't know they will ever get to visit Australia (though I really hope they do), so for now we will learn all we can about the World and people around us.

And here are some photos of all the other families wonderful projects. I love how each one was unique. There were display boards, videos, salt dough maps, music, yummy treats, pictures and some families even dressed up.

And to enhance the learning experience even more I made my kids their very own passports. I used this FREE passport printable from Guest Hollow. I laminated the front and back cover to make it sturdy. And on inside the kids filled out their passports and pasted a photo of themselves. At the geography fair they wrote or drew pictures in their passports as they visited each country. I was very pleased with how these turned out and even more pleased at how great the kids did with filling them in. Even Rowyn who hates writing enjoyed copying the countries into his passport.

So have you ever participated in a geography fair? 

Linking up with: Ben and Me

1 comment:

Tracey said...

There are some great ideas here! Love this geography project!!

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