10 Unit Studies Featuring Famous People

Ten Free Unit Studies Featuring Famous People
We have so many unit studies and lapbooks at Homeschool Share that sometimes even I forget how much is offered. Did you know that we have TEN unit studies featuring famous people? You could include these as part of your regular history and science lessons or they could be part of a giant study– Famous People! Either way, don’t forget to check out these wonderful biographical studies!

Abraham Lincoln

Annie Oakley

Benjamin Franklin

Christopher Columbus

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman)

Leonardo da Vinci

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Maria Mitchell

Pochahontas

Tea Time with Wassily Kandinsky

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Tea Time with famous artist, Wassily Kandinsky, from the Homeschool Share blog
Wassily Kandinsky Bio Information

Wassily Kandinsky was born in Moscow on December 16, 1866.  He studied law and economics, but at the age of 30 he decided to enroll in art school in Munich.  Though his early paintings are mainly of towns and landscapes, he loved to experiment with color and eventually he began to create abstract paintings.  Kandinsky is thought to have had synesthesia, a condition in which the stimulation of one sense leads to a sensation in another sense.  Kandinsky, for example, seemed to be able to hear color.  After a long career painting and teaching, Kandinsky died in France on December 13, 1944.

Kandinsky Tea Time Ideas from the Homeschool Share blog


There are not many books about Kandinsky geared toward children, but The Noisy Paint Box is an excellent read.  This book tells the story of how Kandinsky received his first paint box from his aunt and heard the colors as he mixed and painted.  The pictures are beautiful and the descriptive word choice is superb.  This is a must-read for any Kandinsky artist study!

noisy paint box

Wassily Kandinsky Activity Ideas

I think Kandinsky (and other abstract artists) are wonderful for children to study because their work is a bit easier for kids to imitate.  Of course, Kandinsky wasn’t just slapping paint on his canvas, but younger ones are more likely to be able to make something similar to his works than to those of Michaelangelo, for example.  When we studied Kandinsky a couple of years ago, both of my children enjoyed the projects we tried and were not intimidated at all.

Kandinsky Tea Time Ideas from the Homeschool Share blog
All you need to make a Kandinsky Colorweaver is some paper and crayons!

Kandinsky Tea Time Ideas from the Homeschool Share blogThese circles are also another simple and fun project. If you want to cut the circles out, you can make a fall tree with them!

Ami and her crew did this project that they found at Deep Space Sparkle–easy Kandinsky circles with construction paper.

Kandinsky’s circle art is also the inspiration behind these mobiles and this awesome 3D art idea.  I think we’re definitely going to have to revisit Kandinsky soon!

If you’re keeping an artist notebook, check out this free notebooking page on Kandinsky!

Kandinsky Tea Time Ideas from the Homeschool Share Blog

Wassily Kandinsky Tea Time Treat

cookies

For one of our tea time snacks, we had Kandinsky Cookies!  We just made plain sugar cookies (I like this recipe) and then used tubes of icing to decorate them.  It’s an easy treat–and a great way to use up those stray decorating supplies that seem to accumulate in the pantry!

Tea Time (famous artist study) with Kandinsky

Looking for our other Tea Time Ideas?
Try our Tea Time & Treats Board on Pinterest.

Follow Homeschool Share’s board tea time & treats on Pinterest.

The Man Who Made Time Travel

Picture books are one of my favorite ways to teach history because they allow you to add in interesting details that might otherwise be missed. Kathryn Lasky’s The Man Who Made Time Travel is a wonderful picture book that brings the past to life and uses an example of a specific problem to teach readers about larger topics.

the man who made time travelWe’ve all heard about how Christopher Columbus happened upon North America without realizing exactly where he was, but with the following age of exploration, I always thought that sailors had fairly good grasp on where they were going. The opening scene of Lasky’s book proves otherwise, though. Until the 1700s, sailors did not have an accurate way to measure a ship’s latitude, so while they could find their longitude, many ships crashed and sank because they couldn’t tell exactly where they were. The problem was so great that in 1714, the British Parliament pass the Longitude Act, which promised 20,000 pounds sterling (around $12 million in today’s money) to anyone who could find a “practicable and useful” way to measure a ship’s longitude.

As you can imagine, such a prize attracted swarms of people who were sure they had a solution. Ideas ranged from plausible, like the widely respected Lunar Distance Method, to preposterous, like the man who suggested using the barks of a wounded dog on a ship to accurately tell the time on land. These theories and several others are detailed in the book and will probably make you laugh and shake your head.

John Harrison was a 21 year old carpenter when the prize was announced. He had a good ear for music and knew some about math, but he had no formal education. He was a very motivated learner, though, and read and experimented to learn things on his own. When he realized that the bells he tuned for churches had much in common with clocks, he decided to build a clock, which many people thought was silly. He was successful, though, and began making extremely accurate clocks for others, improving his designs with each model. Harrison decided to work on the longitude problem and in 1735, he brought his first sea clock, H1, to the Board of Longitude, who would judge the entries. H1 had a very successful trial, but Harrison felt he could still make improvements. Over the next several decades, Harrison made more models and eventually felt he had made the best timepiece possible. On June 21, 1773, Parliament finally awarded Harrison the prize.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for several reasons. First, the information was completely new to me. Though I knew there were improvements being made in navigation, I didn’t know any details about them, and The Man Who Made Time Travel presented the problem and the solution simply enough for me to understand. Second, this is simply a good book. The story is well-told and the illustrations are enjoyable. The thing I loved most about the book, though, was Harrison himself. He was self-motivated and didn’t let his lack of formal education hold him back, even when others thought he was being foolish. When he taught himself to make clocks, he wasn’t satisfied with any old creation but instead continually looked for ways to improve what he’d made. This one regular man made something that changed navigation–and thus exploration and trade and life itself–and impacted the world.   As Kathryn Lasky says in the Author’s Note, “What puts me in awe of this man is his persistence, his total dedication to his work. He found in it a nobility that needed no prizes. To me that is the sign of true genius.”

The Man Who Made Time Travel is a great story to enjoy on its own, or it would be a great go-along for math or history, too. If you like this book and are looking for some other great historical go-alongs, Kathryn Lasky has several other books that you may want to check out!