Thursday, March 26

Free Civil Air Patrol Curriculum

Two of the biggest motivators in this "house 'o boys" are Boy Scouts and airplanes.  We've devoted a lot of time (and some blog space) to incorporating them in our studies and schoolwork, with much success, and we want to share them with you.  This latest project is an elective curriculum with the Civil Air Patrol textbook.

This activity book was designed to go with the 1944 Civil Air Patrol Handbook. It has been updated to include modern-day questions and activities in addition to those from the original handbook.  Each of the ten sections is broken down into manageable sub-sections, for a total of twenty-six days of school work.
Section 1 (entire section)
  1. When was the CAP organized? (one week before Pearl Harbor)
  2. If you are 15, what is your minimum height and weight? (56” / 85*)
  3. Are you pledging to military service by joining the CAP? (no)
  4. Why should you learn about jobs other than your own? (it’s easier to cooperate if you understand others’ perspectives)
Section 2 (2-1 – 2-6)
  1. What are the three types of soldiers? (those who fight in air, fight on ground, and who supply)
  2. Outline / define the ten sections of the army. (see book)
  3. What are three mission of the air force? (to drive off enemy aircraft, support ground & naval attacks, and carry out attacks)
  4. What category to sergeants, corporals, and staff sergeants fall into? (non-commissioned officers)
  5. Put in order of size from largest to smallest : squad, company, battalion, platoon (B,C,P,S)
  6. Why is discipline so important? (it is teamwork at its best)
  7. When would you not salute or stand at attention to an officer? (in athletic game, eating meal, on work detail, or carrying an object with both hands)
  8. What is a serious CAP offense? (trying to pass oneself as a regular army man)
Section 2 (2-7 – 2-12)
  1. What means ‘the job that has to be done?’ (mission)
  2. Why shouldn’t you talk about military equipment or troop transfers? (don’t know who will take info and sabotage or hurt someone)
  3. What do secret / confidential / restricted mean? Define. (see book)
  4. What are three types of court martials? (summary, special, general)
  5. What is Article 104 about? (punishment without a court martial)
  6. What is the most important section (there should only be one!) of a military correspondence?  (subject)
Section 2 (2-13 – 2-18)
  1. What does an Operations Officer do? (commanding officer’s assistant – in charge of training squadron and directing flights)
  2. What are the 10 principles of proper conduct for an officer? (see book)
  3. What is IDR? (infantry drill regulations)
  4. Practice the four stances shown for infantry drill.
  5. What is a preparatory command? (first part; it tells what is coming)
  6. What is one purpose of drill? (to move troops from one place to another)
Section 2 (2-19 – 2-22)
  1. What is the interior guard? (body of armed soldiers who provide security)
  2. How many general orders are there for sentinels? (eleven)
  3. What is guard mounting? (ceremony for forming a new guard)
  4. What are the four parts of a review? (forming, presenting, inspecting, parading)
  5. Who is entitled to the greatest honors? (US president)
Section 3 (3-1 – 3-3)
  1. How should you recognize aircraft? (by overall appearance / total form)
  2. What should your aircraft spotting slogan be? (eyes aloft!)
  3. How do you differentiate between land and sea planes? (wheels vs pontoons)
  4. What planes have four engines? (heavy bombers and transports)
  5. Draw the eight different wing types and label them.
  6. What is WEFT? (wing, engine, fuselage, tail)
  7. What are the four engine shapes? (radial, in-line, centered, underslung)
  8. Draw and label the three tail types.
Section 3 (3-4 – 3-11)
  1. Why is the P-38 Lightning easy to recognize? (twin tail booms)
  2. Which airplane is exceptionally fast? (P-51 Mustang)
  3. What does the ‘B’ in B-17 and B-24 denote? (bomber)
Section 3 (3-12 – 3-20)
  1. Which plane was the ‘answer to the fighter pilot’s prayer?’ (F-6 Hellcat)
  2. Which plane is similar to the PB24 Coronado? (B-24)
  3. What information is included in Navy aircraft designation that is not in the Army one? (where made)
  4. What does B-17 mean? (17th bomber model accepted by Army)
  5. Choose eight modern aircraft and make sillograph flash cards.
Section 4 (4-1 – 4-8)
  1. What four types of exercises should you do? (calisthenics, combat games, swimming / running, group games)
  2. Create a calisthenics program chart and record daily. (You will begin a 90-day program in this unit.)
  3. If you have a partner, practice the two-person exercises.
  4. Why should you practice carries? (first aid and rescue work)
  5. How many sports should each CAP cadet learn? (at least two)
Section 5 (5-1 – 5-15)
  1. Continue to work on your 90 day fitness program.
  2. Define the seven types of communication, and tell when each is ideally used. (see book)
  3. What is the easy way to think about Morse Code? (dit and dah)
  4. How do we distinguish ‘the letter 0’ from ‘zero?’ (put a line through zero)
  5. What should you first adjust if having trouble transmitting? (spring tension)
  6. How would you say ‘he is’ in Morse Code? (dit x 4, dit, dit x 2, dit x 3)
  7. What is ‘Tom’ in Morse Code? (dah, dah x 3, dah x 2)
  8. How would you translate the following code to English? “dit x 4, dit x 2, dahditdit, ditditdah,
  9. dahditdit, dit” (Hi dude!)
Section 5 (5-16 – 5-23)
  1. Translate “base” into code. (dahditditdit, ditdah, dit x 3, dit)
  2. Translate “lake” into code. (ditdahditdit, ditdah, dahditdah, dit)
  3. What letter translates similarly to K? to L? (R and F)
  4. Write down a sentence and communicate it via code.
Section 5 (5-24 – 5-32)
  1. Practice all ten of the numerals.
  2. How would you transmit your age in code? (answer will vary)
  3. Why do pilots carry flashlights and mirrors? (can be used to communicate)
  4. What is an advantage of radiotelegraph? (secrecy, greater distance, less interference)
  5. Why are cryptograms used in radio transmissions? (for secrecy)
  6. How do you say your name in the phonetic alphabet? (answer will vary)
  7. What are the three parts of a message? (call sign of receiver, phrase, call sign of transmitter)
  8. What does “wilco” mean? (will carry out orders)
  9. What does the control tower tell the pilot? (wind direction and velocity, runway conditions, special instructions, taxi and takeoff clearance, field altitude, correct time)
Section 6 (6-1 – 6-5)
  1. What is lift? (the force that causes something to go off the ground)
  2. What are the leading and trailing edges? (leading = front, rounded part of wing; trailing = back, sharp part of wing)
  3. Why is speed important to lift? (when the air is moving quickly, it creates vacuum at top of wing)
  4. How much lift is required to fly straight and level? (same amount as gravity / more lift = climb / more gravity = descend)
  5. What is thrust? (force pulling airplane through air)
  6. When does and airplane need more thrust? (take off and climbing)
  7. How much thrust is needed to fly straight and level? (same amount as drag)
  8. What are the four forces of flight? (thrust, lift, drag, weight)
Section 6 (6-6 – 6-10)
  1. What are the axes of rotation? (pitch, yaw, and roll)
  2. What helps to stabilize the axis of yaw? (rudder)
  3. What do the elevators do? (control axis of pitch)
  4. The ailerons control which axis? (roll)
  5. Using a homemade paper or balsa wood plane, demonstrate the three axes.
  6. What are trim tabs used for? (to help balance forces on controls so planes fly level without hands on controls)
Section 6 (6-11 – 6-13)
  1. Why is metal better than wood? (stronger, and not deteriorate as fast)
  2. What is the fuselage? (body of plane; houses people and cargo)
  3. What are the three wing parts? (tip, center section, wing section)
  4. What is the braced stressed-skin wing designed for? (absorb shock for smoother flight)
  5. What must you first learn to do to fly? (taxi / take-off and land)
  6. What is it important to land straight? (landing gear can’t hold side loads)
  7. Why is the tricycle gear better? (tracks straight upon landing)
Section 6 (6-14 – 6-18)
  1. What is the most important instrument? (magnetic compass)
  2. Where does the compass work best? (equator)
  3. What does the altimeter do? (show height above sea level)
  4. The airspeed indicator should stay between the maximum allowable speed and what? (stalling speed)
  5. If the airspeed indicator says 200mph, and you are flying at 20,000 feet, how fast are you really going? (274 mph)
Section 6 (6-19 – 6-24)
  1. Describe the four cycles of the four-stroke engine. (see book)
  2. What should pilots check before every take-off? (ignition or magneto check)
  3. What is efficient about the radial engine? (one 360 crankshaft, less weight, and fewer moving parts)
  4. What does the tachometer indicate? (speed of engine crankshaft)
  5. Why should pilots check oil temperature gauge before taking off? (engines must be warmed up before taking off)
  6. What should be minimum preflight check? (start engine, get oil warmed up, check gauge, use brake lock to check tachometer, check both ignition systems)
Section 7 (7-1 – 7-5)
  1. What is the study of weather called? (meteorology)
  2. What are the three layers of the atmosphere? (troposphere, stratosphere, ionosphere)
  3. Which region is closely related to weather? (troposphere)
  4. Which gas is the atmosphere primarily composed of? (nitrogen)
  5. Is the air usually humid in hot or cold weather? (hot)
  6. After a humid day, dew will form on grass overnight. Why? (saturation point is lowered when temperature lowers at night)
  7. What are the two temperature scales? (farenheit and celcius)
  8. How much does the temperature change for every 1,000 feet ascent? (-55 F)
Section 7 (7-6 -7-10)
  1. Does the temperature drop consistently with ascent? (no)
  2. What is ‘standard air’ at sea level? (29.92” at 15 C)
  3. Does pressure rise or fall when you ascend? (fall)
  4. Why is it harder to breathe at higher altitudes? (less oxygen and nitrogen in air / less density because less pressure)
  5. What are the three main factors of weather? (temperature, pressure, moisture)
  6. Why are convection currents important to pilots? (turbulence)
  7. What affects wind currents? (earth rotation, storms, land and sea, uneven surfaces)
  8. If the pressure in area A is very high, and the pressure in area B is very very low, how fast or slow will the wind be? (fast)
  9. High winds would be expected when isobars are _________. (close together)
  10. If wind velocity is 20mph, describe it using the Beaufort scale. (fresh breeze – trees sway)
Section 7 (7-11 – 7-20)
  1. How and when does fog form? (at night, air cools with contact to ground and becomes saturated)
  2. When might a pilot experience fog? (when temperature and dew point are close together)
  3. How can clouds help an aviator? (they tell changes in atmosphere)
  4. What is the difference between stratiform and cumuliform clouds? (S=lines of clouds / C=lumps and forms)
  5. Which clouds are highest? (cirrus)
  6. What do cirrus clouds indicate? (bad weather is coming)
  7. Why might stratocumulus clouds be dangerous to a pilot? (ice may accumulate on wings)
  8. Which clouds are known as ‘thunderheads?’ (cumulus)
  9. How is air stability determined? (by measuring rate temperature decrease with altitude)
  10. Does cold air rise or sink? (sink because weighs more)
  11. Which air mass is hot, dry, and unstable? (tropical continental)
  12. What happens when cold and warm fronts meet? (unstable weather)
  13. Name four items that are on a pilot’s weather report? (see book)
 Section 8 (8-1 – 8-5)
  1. What happens to oxygen at high altitudes, and how does it affect the body? (less oxygen lowers the physical and mental efficiency)
  2. What is anoxia? (thinking less clearly and reacting slowly because of less oxygen in the brain)
  3. Above 20,000 feet, what happens to the body? (lose consciousness ; death)
  4. How does air pressure change affect the stomach and ears? (expands gases = stomach pains ; ears popping from air moving in / out)
  5. What is easier to physically withstand – positive or negative G force? (positive)
  6. What organ gives you a sense of balance? (inner ear)
  7. What vitamin helps night vision, and how can you get it? (vitamin A – spinach, eggs, carrots, greens)
Section 8 (8-6 – 8-14)
  1. Practice treating the ten types of First Aid shown.
  2. If you are 61” tall, can you hold a job? Which one(s)? (aerial gunner and bombardier)
  3. What four factors are important to a pilot? (physical fitness, good eyesight, nutrition, and teeth)
  4. What is the most common cause of airplane accidents? (pilot failure)
  5. Half of all accidents happen during ________. (landing)
  6. What are the seat belt and shoulder harness used for? (keep you in the plane ; protect in case of crash)
  7. What should you always have when you fly? (parachute)
  8. Practice landing from a parachute jump.
 Section 9 (9-1 – 9-12)
  1. How many classes of airfields are there? (four)
  2. How high can you be two miles away for a Class I field? (350 feet)
  3. Why shouldn’t airfields have steep grades? (hard to judge landings)
  4. What do runway numbers indicate? (compass bearings = # x 10)
  5. Why shouldn’t floodlight glare? (they’ll blind pilots)
  6. How are obstructions marked at night? (red lights)
  7. Where are small hangars used? (Class I and Class II airfields)
  8. Which airfield position would you like to hold? Why?
  9. Which direction should you circle for landing? (on the left)
  10. What does flashing red and green lights mean? (emergency)
  11. Why and when should you tie down aircraft? (if winds are over 20mph, to keep from blowing around)
 Section 9 (9-13 – 9-24)
  1. How do signalmen communicate in the dark? (flashlights)
  2. What three inspections are frequently done? (daily, preflight, postflight)
  3. What is done every 1,000 to 5,000 flying hours? (engine removed for overhaul)
  4. What does the crew chief use red tags for? (marking what is being repaired)
  5. What seven things are checked on the airplane daily? (engine, wings, tail, landing gear, fuselage, propeller, warm up)
  6. What should be checked while the engine is warming up? (instruments)
  7. Why shouldn’t you leave airplanes near a gas tank? (static can cause a fire)
  8. What is the critical time period after a fire? (first 60 seconds)
  9. What is the first thing you should do at a crash site? (remove all air crew members)
  10. Should you mess with a crashed plane’s electrical system? (yes – it should be electrically grounded)
  11. Why shouldn’t you move a crashed airplane, and when would it be acceptable? (a broken wire could start a fire or explosion; if necessary to save a crewman)
 Section 10 (10-1 – 10-12)
  1. What three things does the airman want in a travel route? (safe, quick, short)
  2. What is the most common aeronautical chart? (Lambert Conformal sectional chart)
  3. What is the scale of sectionals in the book? (1” = 8 miles)
  4. What two coordinates do you need to find an accurate position? (latitude and longitude)
  5. What do contour lines indicate? (altitude of land)
  6. Using the markers, make a hand drawn map of your town. Mark the landmarks.
  7. What is a restricted area? (must maintain minimum altitude over it)
 Section 10 (10-13 – 10-28)
  1. How is direction measured? (degrees from true north)
  2. What should you do when measuring a westward course? (add 180 to the direction)
  3. What causes variation? (magnetic and geographic north pole are different)
  4. How many degrees longitude does each time zone cover? (fifteen)
  5. Where is the zero meridian? (Greenwich, England)
  6. If it is Sunday, and you fly west over the date line, what day does it become? (Monday)
  7. Why do you want to reach your destination in daylight? (so you don’t have to land in the dark)
  8. What is the difference between airspeed and groundspeed? (A=speed travelling through the air; G=speed travelling on the ground)
  9. What is a course with a wind correction? (heading)
  10. Chart your course through Oklahoma with the E6-B.
We hope that your budding aviator enjoys working through this project!

Wednesday, March 25

Renaissance Fun with Home School In the Woods! {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
We have used several products by Home School in the Woods in the past, but Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation is at the top of our lists of favorites. Since the boys are doing the Renaissance at the History Fair this year, we jumped at the chance to check out this amazing product, and focused specifically on the Renaissance piece of the unit.  It's worth nothing that this could be used as a quarter-long history and writing curriculum all on its own! Other titles in this series include Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, and Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression.  It would be very feasible to choose two to four of these titles and have an entire year's worth of history curriculum!


See more about Project Passport at So...Just What is a 'Project Passport?'

Get Organized for a Smooth Ride!
When you get the product, it downloads in a zip file which opens into a whole lot of smaller files.  It's a bit of a pain because there are so many files, BUT it's also a good thing because it gives me the option to print only those things that we'll need.  In some cases, there is a choice of color or black and white graphics.  I usually choose B&W to save on print costs.  

As the teacher, I went ahead and did some of the work ahead of time, so that they could focus on the projects themselves, rather than prepping for them. For example, I made the postcard holder – then they could just focus on the cards themselves. I also pre-printed the timeline for them to use with the figurines. Finally, while I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, I set up a newspaper with all the sheets so that, once they have completed every stop, they will have created a complete Renaissance Reporter newspaper out of their writing assignments!

I used a 3” binder to organize everything for quick access. We separated stops by colored tabs, and each one had the itinerary, text / lesson, crafts and activities, maps, and teacher key included in its section. This made it a lot easier to just grab and go each morning. Also, I flipped through the lessons to see what supplies we would need for crafts and cooking projects. Since it is a long drive to get to a store, we have to plan ahead for any extras. Getting it organized did take some time, but it was very much worth that effort!

I like to look at the overview of all stops to see what we'll be covering each day, and also to make sure that we have any necessary supplies.  One handy tip for you -- at the bottom of each activity sheet is a number.  This code tells you which stop (the first number) and which page of that stop (the second number) the sheet corresponds to...should your pages get scrambled, it's very easy to quickly find what you need!
Digging into the Renaissance
Renaissance and Reformation focuses on everyday life, as well as the art, music, inventions, science, and literature of the Renaissance.  The Reformation focuses on figures like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Henry VIII.  The passport features twenty-five ‘stops,’ each featuring a different aspect of life during the Renaissance and Reformation. At each stop, there is a selection of text and activities to accompany it – including timeline work, arts and crafts, and newspaper writing. Some of the stops also have an ‘audio tour,’ which is like a short audio book to go with it. The audio tours have been one of our favorite features of the program!  


Listen to an Audio File Sample & See a Sample Lesson


Some of the kids' favorite projects included:
  • Map work
  • Writing the daily paper
  • Creating a 'time brochure'
  • Playing chess
  • Using oil pastels
  • Egg tempura painting
 
Looking Ahead - U.S. Elections Lap-Pak Another great product from this company is the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak.  Unless you've hidden under a rock, you know that 2020 is an important election year in America, and what better time to learn about how our government system and elections work than in the thick of it!  They've done the work of pulling the resources together for you in this one...check it out here.

Pros of Project Passport
  • Lends itself toward family use....throw all the kids in one room and do history together!
  • There are detailed instructions to tell you exactly how to print everything out, and how many copies of each sheet you’ll need.
  • This is a very thorough curriculum, and perfect for a hands-on learner! It has art projects, cooking, and everyday crafts, as well as audiobook components and lapbooking.
  • The itinerary is your Teacher’s Guide. It details each stop’s lesson plans and activities. Don’t lose it!
  • The Student Binder is a fantastic way to keep the work organized, plus it makes a nice keepsake for their school boxes. As an added bonus, since we are doing the Renaissance at the History Fair this year, most of their table work is already done!
  • You have an entire year of history by completing two to four of these units (depending on age -- I would use four for high school).
Cons
  • Getting organized takes a concentrated effort – but if you don’t get organized ahead of time, you’ll regret it!
  • There is a lot to print. A good printing company, such as Family Nest or The Homeschool Print Company, would be an asset here. We printed at home, and it took nearly a day just to print everything – plus another to organize it.
  • All of the components are in many many small files, rather than a couple of larger files, which makes printing take longer.
A Few More Notes…
See what others are saying about Home School in the Woods over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Home School in the Woods Collections - Lap-pak, Timeline Figures, History Studies & Activity-Pak {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Tuesday, March 24

Road Trip to Study Airplanes & Air Shows

Say you're driving down the road and see the tail-end of a plane sticking out of a building....wouldn't this just make you want to stop and see what's up?  I mean...really...   Today we're visiting the Southwest Airlines Museum & flying at an air show! 

This is the Flight Museum, sponsored by and dedicated to Southwest Airlines, over at the Dallas Lovefield Airport.  Check out the museum here!

There's a training aircraft right smack in the middle of the museum, where you'll learn about the four forces of flight.  Also, the various instrument panels are designed to teach you the basics of instrument flight reading.  It's at an elementary child's level...both educationally and height-wise.
There are several different rooms dedicated to various eras of flight, including :  the Wright Brothers, ancient flight (think DaVinci), the World Wars, Vietnam, space exploration, and the future of flight.  We were so engrossed that we didn't take many pictures, but the family enjoyed learning how to spot various WWII aircraft and read aerial maps.

The strangest plane we saw was this V-173 Flying Pancake.  It's just a strange-looking beast, but it was designed with a purpose.....just like each of us was designed with a purpose!
After 'checking in,' we boarded the airplane for a private flight!  Unlike most post-911 flights, you can actually check out the cockpit on this flight!  Most of the seats are removed and have been replaced with information on how the Boeing is constructed and the history of the jet.  However, there are still a few spots left to rest in.

We stumbled upon an air show nearby and decided to stay.  Naturally, our aviation-enthusiast keeps his jumpsuit on his at all times!

One of his dream jobs is to be the pilot on an air ambulance, so our very first stop on the pad was at that particular helicopter, where he peppered the pilots with questions!
A few more helicopters on our tour of the various machines, and we were able to climb aboard the air ambulance, too!  The Highway Patrol chopper pilot even explained how they track folks from the air.  Now...wasn't that nice of him?  Good to know, too!  😉
I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the boys to go skydiving with me...and then we saw how much the skydiving cost and decided that we would all go later.  So...helicopter rides instead!!

The helicopter flight gave us a new, bird's eye view of the city.  Since it was such a gorgeous day, the pilot had taken the doors off the chopper, which was a bit unsettling to brother (in the front seat), but he adjusted quickly.  It was just bee-you-tee-ful up there!!
Mid-morning, we took a break from the excitement and claimed a little piece of grass to call our own for the next hour or so of aviation aerobatics!  The National Anthem was sung as our American flag was brought down to earth by one of the skydivers!!
While we waited for the stunt show itself to get revved up, he looked around at the glider for sale, and we watched the veteran pilots do some formation flying.  Airplanes here, airplanes there, airplanes airplanes everywhere!!!  Seriously...these stunt pilots had some awesome moves!  

First up was Kate Kyer, one of my personal aviation heroes.  If you can't get to an air show to see her work, then look it up on YouTube.  When you think about how hard this type of flying is on the body, it makes her performance even more transfixing!  The pictures don't really do it justice...  
One of the highlights of his day was getting to meet the stunt pilot we had just seen zipping around in the sky!  He had lots of questions, and the guy was incredibly patient and sweet.

Monday, March 23

Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
This past year has been an amazing adventure as we watched a family friend on her journey to space.  We avidly await getting to visit now that she is home, and the kids have so many space-themed questions!  So it is rather timely that we just had the opportunity to check out Heroes of History - Alan Shepard, from YWAM Publishing’s Heroes of History!  The book even comes with a Unit Study Curriculum Guide, with many ideas for creating a full biographical study of one of aviation's space pioneers...


We read the book together as a read aloud over a week-long period, following 'bunny trail' conversations stemmed from the text.  I used the study guide comprehension questions - mostly with the younger one - as we went through the story.  I would ask him questions from the prior day's reading to be sure he was with us (recollection can be somewhat of an issue for him).  We also used the biographical sketches and mapwork included in the study guide.  We finished off the unit with a movie screening of The Right Stuff!



Book Description
Alan Shepard gripped the abort handle and braced his feet against the capsule floor. Five, Four, Three... Don't screw up, he muttered. Two, One, Zero, Liftoff. Alan felt himself rising into the sky. He could scarcely believe it. The boy who grew up with a passion for flying was off on the ultimate flight -- to space! Alan Shepard's boyhood fascination with flight led him from constructing model airplanes in his grandfather's basement to attaining national hero status in the race to space. Rooted in hard work and education, this pioneer's dreams of flight came true as he became not only the first American launched into space but, later, one of the privileged few to walk on the moon.
When he wasn't soaring above the clouds, astronaut Alan Shepard used his expertise to benefit others, raising money to fuel the dreams of science students and guiding NASA missions. The achievements of this high flyer -- America's "Lindbergh of Space" -- inspire all who dare to live their dreams (1923-1998).  (book excerpt)
Geared to students ages ten and older, Alan Shepard and the accompanying Unit Study Curriculum Guide are a fun way to learn more about one of history's bravest aviators.  The chapter book is written in a narrative style, and while there are no pictures beyond the small black-and-white line drawings at the beginning of each chapter, you’ll be so busy learning that you won’t notice!  
Our son's only dislike about the book was the amount of text on each page.  Though in middle school, he is a struggling reader who has difficulty with pages that look like this.  A well-placed illustration here and there would go a long way toward comprehension and breaking up the monotony of these pages for this type of reader.  He was very interested in the content, but was also ready to give up after two chapters.  We ended up reading it aloud together for that reason.


Unit Study Curriculum Guide
We loved the book, but only used the study guide as a sort of foot note.  I appreciated the Chapter Questions section, because it’s always nice to review comprehension and tie everything together through further discussion, and mapping activities made for some hands-on learning, but the rest of the guide was not as useful for us.  If we were using this book in small group setting, or homeschool co-op classroom, many of the activities would be more applicable.  There are a lot of great ideas offered for groups of children working together to learn about the same thing!

There are several biographies in the Heroes of History series, from Benjamin Franklin to Ben Carson. There’s even a chronological list so you can easily add them to your existing history curriculum.  If you want to use that list to create a year-long course, the Unit Study Curriculum Guide comes with a guide for using all of the books in homeschool, co-op, and school settings. The unit study itself is broken down into eight major sections, as shown below.

Key Quotes
This section has quotes from other famous figures that are offered up as examples of what may have inspired the hero. 
Display Corner
Suggestions and examples of items to collect for display are offered. 
Chapter Questions
Each chapter is allotted four questions to help students focus on vocabulary, factual information and opinion/ interpretation of the information.  Answers are provided at the end of the book.
Student Explorations
     -  Essay Questions
     -  Creative Writing
     -  Hands-on Projects
     -  Audio/ Visual Projects
     -  Arts and Crafts
This section is divided into several sections with writing prompts, research probes, map-making projects, play and script writing, and other crafty projects.
Community Links
This is basically a ‘field trip’ section. 
Social Studies
     -  Places
     - Terms/ Vocabulary
     - Geographical Characteristics
     - Timeline
     - Conceptual Questions
This section offers more traditional and familiar study tips for understanding the geography of the area.  The Conceptual Questions section involves more short projects to help students dig a little deeper in the politics and geography of the area.
Related Themes to Explore
This chapter allows you to see other topics (specific topics in science, history, geography) that can be tackled during your unit study.
Culminating Event
These are ideas for closing out the unit study. 
  
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32 Heroes of History {YWAM Publishing Reviews}