Monday, May 27, 2013

Homeschool Review and Lesson Plans: By Truck to the North

Mater Amabilis Level 1A recommends a study of Extreme Environments in Year 2 (third grade) for Earth Studies. The books are meant to be read independently, then narrated. I added a little notebooking and extra books from the library.

I posted earlier about our first term study, 52 Days by Camel, and our second term study, Jungle Islands.

In our third term, First Son read By Truck to the North: My Arctic Adventure (Adventure Travel) by Andy Turnbull with Debora Perason, part of the same series. It's full of interesting facts of the Arctic and lots of pictures. First Son especially enjoyed the pictures of the little dog that traveled with them.

Here's our schedule for the term. As with the other books, I added a few notebooking pages. First Son did all of his reading independently, narrated to me, and then did the notebook pages independently as well. For the notebook pages, I rarely asked him to elaborate on them. These were a chance for him to practice taking some notes or consolidating information into a picture.

The basket books were all from our library. I would display them during the appropriate week so they were available for independent reading during free time or for supplemental information for notebook pages. If he could help it, he didn't use any of these books, but I liked having them available regardless. At the time, we also had Draw Write Now book 4 which I let First Son use as he wanted for the notebook pages, but I recently sold the whole set (since we switched the Cursive First) so we won't have that available for future students.

Week 1

Read the introduction and chapter 1. Narrate.
Draw a map for your notebook of western Canada and Alaska. Be sure to include the towns they'll visit.

Independent reading - Tikta'Liktak retold by James Houston
I asked First Son to read this on his own time over the course of a week or so. I did not require narrations for it. I thought it was a great story to complement our study of the extreme environments of the Arctic.

Book basket:
Arctic Hunter by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
Icebergs, Ice Caps, and Glaciers by Allan Fowler

Week 2

Read chapters 2 and 3. Narrate.

Week 3

Read chapter 4. Narrate.
Make a page for totem poles for your notebook.
Learn a little about Kitwanga on this website.

Book basket:
Totem Poles by Jennifer Frantz
Carving a Totem Pole by Vickie Jensen - I thought this was a pretty good book with lots of pictures and a great look at the creation of a totem pole for the people involved.

Week 4

Read chapter 5. Narrate.
Make a notebook page on the Klondike Gold Rush (using words and pictures). Use Klondike Gold by Alice Provensen in addition to your book. (I really like this Provensen book.)

Book basket:
The Klondike Gold Rush by Marc Tyler Nobleman

Week 5

Read chapter 6. Narrate.
Make a notebook page on the northern lights. Be sure to include a little about how they form and draw a picture.
We were supposed to look at this website as well on the northern lights, but I forgot and we never made it back.

Book basket:
Science Matters: Northern Lights by David Whitfield

Week 6

Read chapter 7. Narrate.
Make a notebook page on timber wolves or other animals of the Arctic.
Book basket:
DK Eye Wonder: Arctic and Antarctic

Week 7

Read chapter 8. Narrate.
Make a page on the sunlight and darkness in the far north. Use Arctic Lights Arctic Nights. (I thought this was a particularly good book on this topic.)

Week 8

Read chapter 9. Narrate.
Make a page on pingos for your notebook. Be sure to draw one and describe how they are formed. Alternatively, make a page on polar bears for your notebook using A Polar Bear Journey by Debbie S. Miller.
We moved a little more quickly through By Truck to the North than we did with the books the first two terms so we could include this short book based in Antarctica: Antarctic Journal: Four Months at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Owings Dewey. First Son was always dismayed by the number of pages we read in a day, but there are lots of illustrations. This is a great book for showing the value of nature study drawings. I requested a copy of this book from

Week 9

Read pp. 6-17. Narrate.
Draw a map of Antarctica for your notebook. Be sure to include Palmer Station. Add a few notes about Palmer Station to your page.

Book basket:
Antarctic Journal by Meredith Hooper
My Season with the Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb

Week 10

Read pp. 18-31. Narrate.
Make a page for your notebook about Litchfield Island or any of the animals mentioned in the book.

Book basket:
Penguins by Sylvia A. Johnson
Penguins at Home: Gentoos of Antarctica by Bruce McMillan
Penguins from Emperors to Macaronis by Erin Pembrey Swan

Week 11

Read pp. 32-45. Narrate.
Make a page for your notebook about blue whales, winter and summer in Antarctica (p. 37), or glaciers in Antarctica.

Book basket:
Icebergs, Ice Caps, and Glaciers by Allan Fowler
Big Blue Whale by Nicola Davies
A Look at Glaciers by Patrick Allen
Glaciers by Margaret Carruthers

Week 12

Read pp. 46-63. Narrate.
Make a page for your notebook about elephant seals, blue-eyed shags, icebergs, glacier snow, or Weddell seals.

Book basket:
Elephant Seals by Sylvia Johnson

As with the other posts, I welcome any suggestions. I'll be doing this study again in three years with First Daughter (or maybe in four years with First and Second Daughter together).

Also, I tried a new method for the Amazon links for most of the books in this post. Please let me know if any of them don't work or if they take you to some random page instead of the appropriate one.


  1. This sounds great. The Antarctic books sounds like Holling Clancy Holling - we'll have to check it out. We really like Draw and Write through History books just for drawing (the boys often draw while I read out loud). We also started drawing prompts to go with our writing prompts which have been fun. I just can't seem to manage note booking so that's our solution.

  2. I'm terrible at getting the kids to notebook for history. I finally made little pages with space for pictures and some lines with a few questions. Then I can just give them a page when I want them to make something for their notebooks. They like them much better than coming up with something on their own.

  3. I wanted to thank you again for sharing these plans - you shared them with me on the mater Amabilis yahoo group, and we have really enjoyed using them this year! I was so excited to see my daughter creating notebook pages using the plans you put together that I wanted to share them with you to show you how useful it was to us:
    Thank you so much for all the work you put into this - it was so helpful to us to have an outline to follow and a list of additional library books as resources! :)

    1. I left a comment on your blog, too, Erin. Thank you so much for sharing your daughter's notebook pages!


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