Ideas for a Family Unit Study for All Ages
Fall is a wonderful time to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday and do a unit study or two. When the family all gets together at Grandma’s house, try these ideas for a family themed study.
Favorite Books About Family
- Diary of an Early American Boy (Eric Sloane)
- A Gracious Plenty (Kate Salley Palmer)
- Grandpa’s Gizmos (John Menken)
- Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas (Cynthia Rylant)
- Miss Fannie’s Hat (Jan Karon)
- Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney)
- Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (Tomie dePaola)
- The Old Woman Who Named Things (Cynthia Rylant)
- Our Tree Named Steve (Alan Zweibel)
- The Pink House (Kate Salley Palmer)
- The Raft (Jim LaMarche)
- The Relatives Came (Cynthia Rylant)
- Through Grandpa’s Eyes (Patricia MacLachlan)
- When I Was Young in the Mountains (Cynthia Rylant )
- Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge (Mem Fox)
Family Fact Sheets:
Every year at our Thanksgiving gathering, everyone fills out a fact sheet. I draw an outline of a face and include questions, such as name, age, favorite Thanksgiving food/dessert, what you’re thankful for, favorite/funniest moment of the day, most memorable part about the day, etc. I make copies of these on cardstock and put them somewhere near the dining room table along with some pens and crayons or color pencils. Everyone, adults included, fills out a fact sheet and draws their self-portrait sometime during the day. If your family cannot get together, or if some live too far away, mail fact sheets with instructions to return them to you. I have gathered them each year and added them to a family scrapbook. This is a neat keepsake and a fun way to see how much everyone has changed.
Interviewing family members is a great way to learn more about them. Because Thanksgiving is a time for family, kids can take advantage of having everyone together to document family history. Plan ahead by composing a list of questions in advance and have kids interview their grandparents to learn more about their past. Answers can be written down or recorded, or the interviews can be filmed. Kids will find that grandparents love to tell stories from their past, and they might find out some interesting things that even their parents don’t know. Document these stories while you can!
Research Paper Ideas:
Older students can investigate their family history and do a complete research paper on their findings.
- Did their grandparents live during the Depression
- Did their grandfather or great uncle serve in WWII or Vietnam?
- What countries did the family originate from?
- What was a popular fad when grandma was a teen?
- Does grandma/grandpa remember when Kennedy was assassinated? When the first man walked on the moon?
- What was the price of gas, a stamp, a gallon of milk, etc. when their grandparents were first married? What technological advances have been made since then?