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This unit study includes lessons and printables based on the book Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr.

Nim lives on the most beautiful island in the world (its location is a closely guarded secret) with a marine iguana, a sea lion, and her scientist dad, Jack. When he goes off to explore the world of plankton, the child occupies herself with typical Swiss Family Robinson-like chores and keeping her dad’s batteries charged so she can check his e-mail on the laptop computer. When his boat becomes disabled, Nim’s link to humanity becomes Alex Rover, the author of the novel she’s reading, who has e-mailed Jack with some scientific questions. They correspond frequently, Nim giving Alex advice on building a raft out of coconuts, and Alex uncannily picturing spots on the island in her current book. A violent storm and volcanic eruption toward the end result in Nim saving the day, and the three characters set up life together on their paradise. And all of this occurs amid a clever plan to divert evil tourists from ever finding the island.

Thanks to Laura O’Neill for writing the lessons for this Nim’s Island unit study.

Nim’s Island Unit Study Lessons

Here are some sample lessons from the Nim’s Island Unit Study.

Nim’s Island Chapter 1 Lessons

Language Arts


  • Sheath – a case for a blade (as of a knife)
  • Machete – a large heavy knife used especially for cutting sugarcane and underbrush and as a weapon
  • Driftwood – wood drifted or floated by water

This chapter mentions different animals and their ability to communicate. Many animals have their own means of communication. Communication can come in the form of audible sounds as well as body movements. Some animals, such as dolphins, have been studied to decipher their unique language. The book mentions a few different animal languages that Nim has learned. See if your student can remember them all. Our ancestors developed languages from basic sounds to the complex patterns of words and sentences that we find today. Design your own basic language using simple sounds and hold a conversation with a partner.


This chapter also begins to mention many of the animals (both large and small) you might find on or around an island in the Pacific. See how many you can find in this chapter! (I counted 6.) 

  • Sea Lion: any of several large Pacific seals that have small ears on the outside of the body
  • Iguana: any of various large plant-eating tropical American lizards that have a ridge of tall scales along the middle of the back and loose skin hanging below the neck
  • Blue whale: a whale that may reach a weight of 150 tons and a length of 100 feet and is generally considered the largest living animal
  • Dolphin: any of various small whales with teeth and a long nose
  • Frigate bird: any of several seabirds noted for their power of flight and the habit of robbing other birds of fish — called also man-o’-war bird
  • Plankton – the floating or weakly swimming animal and plant life of a body of water

Social Studies

What is the purpose of the machete and sheath that Nim uses? Are these tools you can just pick up use? Discuss common tools that you may have in your home as well as any safety precautions your student needs to take when using one of these tools.

School and Education
Nim’s school experience is mentioned. She learns by living on the island and observing the world around her. How does this compare to the way you are being educated?

To access all of the lessons and printables in this Nim’s Island unit study, subscribe to Homeschool Share’s email list using the form in this post.

Nim’s Island Notebook Printables

In addition to the unit study lessons, the file also includes printable notebooking pages for your student to create a Nim’s Island notebook.

  • New Words Notebook Page
  • The Scientific Method Notebook Page
  • Hurricane Formation Notebook Page
  • Ocean Layers Notebook Page
  • My Seeds Notebook Page
  • My Map Notebook Page
  • Animal Research Report Form
  • Personification Notebook Page
  • Float or Sink Log
  • Sleep Chart
  • Simile Notebook Page
  • Family Disaster Plan
  • Story Structure Activity Page

How to Get Started with Your Nim’s Island Unit Study & Notebook

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the Nim’s Island Unit Study:

  1. Buy a copy of the book, Nim’s Island, or borrow one from your local library.
  2. Print the Nim’s Island unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Choose and prepare the notebook printables you want to use with your student.
  5. Enjoy learning with Nim’s Island!

Get Your Free Nim’s Island Unit Study & Notebook

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