Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

Our reading of Paddle-to-the-Sea is such an interesting way to learn about geography!  We pulled out our map for Chapters 8 and 9, to follow Paddle’s journey through the Great Lakes.

Chapter 8 – The Largest Lake in the World

In Chapter 8, Paddle drifts from the Nipigon River into Lake Superior, the largest lake in the world. The Great Lakes hold fun, childhood memories for me. I grew up near the Great Lakes and spent many days playing on their beaches and swimming on their shores. I remember looking out over the vast expanse of water and convince myself that this was actually the ocean.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

The map of the Great Lakes in the back of our Paddle-to-the-Sea book was very helpful to get an idea of what to look for on our world map. It made it easy to find Lake Nipigon above the recognizable pattern of the Great Lakes. From there, we were then able to follow the Nipigon River down into the top of Lake Superior.

Using a map I found and adapted to our use, we began tracing Paddle’s journey, starting at Lake Nipigon. As we read further, we will continue to trace his journey.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

The book describes the shape of Lake Superior like a wolf’s head. It may take a little imagination, but once you see it, you won’t forget it. Clark and Luci decided to invent their own lake, each in different shapes.  They drew them on blue construction paper, cut them out and added some fish (or sharks), just like Paddle encountered in the story.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

Chapter 9 – Paddle Crosses Two Borders

Paddle crosses from Canada into the United States in Chapter 9. Having grown up in Canada, near the American border, this is something that I’ve done many times. We talked about how we crossed the border when flying into Canada and the United States, but it’s a little different when you’re in an airport.

We took the opportunity while reading this chapter to talk about the different countries flags and what they symbolize. I had the children color a Canadian and USA flag while we talked.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9

We’re excited to continue our learning with Paddle!  Watch for our next few chapters coming soon!

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 8-9


Don’t miss the rest of our Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study!

Chapters 1-3

Chapters 4-5

Chapter 6-7

 

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

Our Paddle-to-the-Sea unit study (Chapters 6-7) continues.  Clark and Luci are completely engrossed in this book, as we explore all of the details and subjects that each chapter introduces.

Chapter 6:  Paddle Meets a Sawmill

In Chapter 6, Paddle, wedged onto the side of a log, is transported to a sawmill.  Needless to say, Clark and Luci had no idea what a sawmill was.  Neither are there any to visit in our area, so we did the next best thing and searched YouTube.  We found several videos demonstrating older and newer sawmills.  The children found the rivermen fascinating.  They marveled that the men managed to stay on the logs without falling into the rushing river.

“I could do that!”  Clark declared, so I thought we should try it out at the pool with some pool noodles. Not quite the same thing, but I wanted him to see and appreciate that these rivermen men had developed and mastered a very important skill.  Their job must have been incredibly dangerous, even with such skill.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

Chapter 7:  Paddle Meets a Friend

As Paddle enters the sawmill, he almost gets sliced open before getting rescued by a French-Canadian sawmill worker, and is sent on his way again.

During this chapter, we continued to explore sawmills.  We thought it would be interesting to explore what had to be done to build a house without a sawmill.  Using their Dad’s saw, Clark and Luci took turns cutting some brush trimmings.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

There was definitively a sense of accomplishment, but Clark declared that if he had to build a house without a sawmill, it would build it with little twigs.  Clark and Luci both agreed that sawmills were definitively a great invention!

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

We then decided that we would take our newly cut sticks and see if they would float down a river, like in Paddle-to-the-Sea.  We then painted our cut sticks with some non-toxic paint. Each child chose a different color so that we could keep track of who’s sticks belonged to who.  Clark and Luci also colored a couple of peg dolls to act as Paddle.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

We glued Paddle on to a couple of the sticks and took them out to a local stream to see if they’d float down the river like Paddle did.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The original plan was to throw the sticks over a bridge like we did when we were kids, and see which ones emerged first on the other side. However, we visited two bridges and found the water all dried up, so we gave up and found a little water fall at a park.  Our first two attempts ended in Paddle getting stuck.  Clark tried to help him out, but that didn’t work either.  He just got stuck again.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7

We finally ended up hurling our sticks as far as we could into the pond.  We watched as they floated around the edges, caught in the gentle current of the pond.  We each cheered for our own sticks, hoping they wouldn’t get caught on the side, in little whirlpools or in debris.

We even got lucky with a visit from a couple of mallard ducks.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 6-7


P.S. Don’t miss Chapters 1-3 and Chapters 4-5

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Our Paddle-to-the-Sea unit study (Chapters 4-5) continues.  Clark and Luci are completely engrossed in this book, as we explore all of the details and subjects that each chapter introduces.

Chapter 4:  Brook and Beaver Pond

In Chapter 4, Paddle gets temporarily stuck in a beaver pond, before breaking free in a flood.  We decided to learn a little more about beavers.  Since this chapter was about a beaver pond, we thought it would only make sense to try to make our own with its’ very own beaver lodge.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

The first step to building a beaver lodge, would have to be gathering the sticks.  We happened to have a pile of drying brush in our back yard awaiting pickup.  This served as the perfect place to gather our sticks.  We picked out small twigs and sticks, that we thought would be of an ideal size for our lodge.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

“Busy as a Beaver”

Shortly after starting, both Clark began complaining.  “This is not quite what I thought we’d be doing,” he stated.  “We came outside to gather sticks to build a beaver lodge.  What exactly did you think it would consist of?” I asked him.  “Not this!” he responded, annoyed.  This led to a discussion about the idiom “busy as a beaver” or “busy as a bee.”  Although we don’t see too many beaver in our area, there are bees.  When asked to describe a bee, Clark and Luci realized that they have only ever seen bees working, collecting pollen, making honey etc.  We talked about how animals work hard to build their homes, to find food and to look after their children.  There is very little time to take breaks!  I think this gave Clark a little perspective because he stopped complaining and started collecting his sticks in earnest.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Making a Beaver Lodge

Once we had gathered enough sticks and twigs, we came indoors.  Clark cut out a couple of pieces from an old egg carton to give us a base for the beavers’ lodges.  Then we rolled out a large strip of paper and Clark and Luci both drew a beaver pond.  Once the ponds were colored in, I had them glue the bottom of their egg carton piece and position it wherever they wanted their beaver lodge to be.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

While waiting for the glue to dry, we added addition decor to the beaver ponds, including grass, moss, flowers, dead trees and waterlilies for the beaver to eat.  As the children let loose their creative sides, I read to them,  from books we’d gotten from the library.  As I read and they learned, they added additions to their pond, to make them more realistic and accurate.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Finally the most anticipated portion of the product arrived.  We combined wet clay (as similar to mud as I would allow in the house), and our sticks to form a beaver lodge.  They turned out really cute and almost realistic!

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

As long as we were playing with clay, it only made sense to carve out a beaver to hang out in these lodges.  Luci managed a big ball of clay that may have been a hedgehog.  Clark stuck through and came up with an adorable little beaver.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapter 4-5

Chapter 5:  Breakup of the River

To emulate the breakup of the river, we took the rest of our sticks and placed them in a container of water.  We then place the container in the freezer overnight, allowing it to freeze all of the sticks in place. In the morning, we took the container and put it out in the yard.  We checked on it occasionally to watch its’ progress.  Eventually the ice broke and all of the sticks came free.  We pretended that this was how it was when Paddle-to-the-Sea burst out of the beaver pond.

P.S. Don’t miss Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study (Chapters 1-3)


Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

I clearly remember, over 30 years ago, sitting in my elementary class, listening to the teacher read the book, Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling. Her enthusiasm for the story was directly conveyed to us, her students, as we listen enraptured by the story of small canoe carved by an young boy, drifting through the Great Lakes out to the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine my excitement when I found this very book on the list of reading material for my children’s homeschool curriculum this year!  I couldn’t wait to start our Paddle-to-the-Sea unit study!

Our “unit studies” are perhaps a little different than others.  My purpose with a unit study is to answer questions that the children may have, developing a deeper understanding of the story and most of all creating an entire experience around the story so that the children remember the story vividly.  This often takes us on interesting adventures of all kinds – additional reading, crafts, map exploration, nature walks, science experiments etc.

Chapter 1:  How Paddle-to-the-Sea Came to Be

The first chapter was about how Paddle-to-the-Sea was created. A young Indian boy, whittled Paddle out of wood.  Luci wanted to know what “whittling” was. I thought knives and wood might be a bit much for a 4 yr old, so we tried carving a Paddle Person out of a bar of soap instead.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Clark and Luci drew the shape of the canoe onto the soap with a sharp nut pick.  They they began the carving process with several different tools. The process was not nearly as simple as they originally thought and after over an hour of some serious work, we may or may not have decided that whittling was not our gift.

Chapter 2:  Long River Reaching to the Sea

The second chapter describes the route Paddle-to-the-Sea will be taking, through the Great Lakes, down the Saint Laurence River, out to the Atlantic Ocean.  We found each of these locations on our map and will follow along with Paddle on his adventures.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Chapter 3:  Paddle Starts on His Journey

I love the author’s descriptions.  They paint a vivid picture of what is happening in the story.  This chapter describes the scene as Spring begins to emerge, melting the snow and eventually releasing Paddle from his perch.

Clark and Luci were very interested in what a canoe was.  They have never had the opportunity to ride in one, so we watched some videos of canoes being carved out of wood and of people enjoying the more modern canoes.  We even made our own canoes out of paper.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

To make the canoe, I drew a simple template which I have since made into a FREE download.  Click below to get your own, then print it out on an 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock.  Follow the instructions below to create your own Paddle-to-the-Sea canoe!

Paddle-to-the-Sea Canoe Instructions

Before you start, download the FREE printable template for the canoe HERE.

1. Fold the paper in half, along the dotted line.

2. Cut out the curved edge, as indicated.

dsc_1531

3. While keeping the paper folded in half, cut along the short straight lines on each end.

4. Now fold both ends along the dotted line.  Glue the folded ends together.

5. Glue the end tabs, bringing them up along the side of the canoe.  You may need to hold these tabs in place for a few seconds while the glue sets.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Here is the end product –  a Paddle-to-the-Sea canoe!  You can now name it and decorate it however you like!  If I was a better planner, I would probably do the decorating before all of the gluing.  It would be easier when the paper was flat.  Clark named his canoe The Floating Rose.

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Luci named her canoe Cat Canoe because she had a couple of little stuffed animal cats that would fit perfectly.  She played with the canoe and cats for hours!

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Paddle-to-the-Sea Unit Study Chapters 1-3

Here’s the link to the canoe template again.  Click to download:

Paddle-to-the-Sea Canoe FREE Printable Template

Be on the lookout as we continue our story of Paddle-to-the-Sea.  We’ll keep you updated on our projects and unit study!