You might remember that I have an affection for Unit Studies. The Unit Study Method of teaching allows me to incorporate every aspect of my focus topic, covering many subjects. This method usually allows for a lot of hands-on learning, and often improves my child’s ability to transfer skills they learn during school to real-life situations. Where do you get the ideas for activities that will enhance your student’s learning? I might talk to another parent/teacher that has experience or an expressed interest in the theme of our study. I have several home resources, an exceptional local library; and access to an array of online resources. I have a standard bag-of-tricks, but my latest discovery is Box of IDEAs.
There are not many boxes available, yet; but the future potential is great! Designed for ages 9 – 16, with the flexibility for use with even younger or older students, each Box of I.D.E.As. is filled with topic-focused activities and information. There are at least 10 modules per box that might include games, puzzles, portfolio pages, experiments and explorations, well researched web-links; and more. All of the activities in the box are complete, but if any additional supplies are needed, like a pencil, they are listed on the module label and can be acquired before the module is even opened.
Presently, there is a Box of I.D.E.As. for World War Two, SALT, Laundry, Quilting; and the number Eleven, with Olives, Pine, and Cemeteries coming soon. Supplementing our current study of Early America, the SALT Box of IDEAs fit well into our schedule. The branch of interest I pursued was early means of food preservation, and there’s a module for that – Preserving with Salt. After introducing the topic into our curriculum, I let the box of modules lead the way. The “SALT Box of I.D.E.As. is a comprehensive look at salt and how it has helped shape history, nourish our bodies; and even build and destroy empires.” We were prompted to dig into History, Geography, Science, Language, and Political Systems; while using math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills among others.
Contents of the SALT Box of I.D.E.As.
The single most difficult thing about using Box of IDEAs was choosing which module to start with first! So, I read the label on each module bag: Title, Contents, Materials Needed, and Related Quote; and pulled out the one that “struck my fancy.”
The Wall That Salt Built – “While most people know of the Great Wall of China, most people don’t realize that it was essentially paid for by salt.”
Salt of the Earth – “Although, most of the world’s salt comes from the US and China, there are salt producers in many countries around the world.”
Very Salty – “A plethora of hypersaline lakes exist all over the world.”
Need for Salt – “For human and non-human alike, if we didn’t have salt, we would cease to live.”
Nelson Mandela quote ~ “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
Producing Salt – “Finding Salt – It is something we see and possibly use every single day, but where does it come from?”
Science of Salt – “Salt is the combination of two elements – both somewhat volatile.”
Preserving with Salt – “Pre-dating the birth of Christ, salt has been utilized to make food safe for future use through preservation.”
The Game of Preservation by Salt
Salt Peppers Our Words – “Salt provides the root for many commonly used words that proliferate still today.” The Salt March – “In March of 1930, Mahatma Ghandi chose to protest, peacefully, the salt tax.”
The History of Salt – “Salt has had a profound influence on human civilization from the beginning and in all parts of the world.”
(45) 2″X3″ Salt Timeline Cards, initially used with the Salt Chronology Game
This is one of the simplest systems I’ve ever used! I could easily assign a module to one of my middle school or high school students for independent work. Just take the module bag out of the box and begin. I gather pencils and make copies of the portfolio page for each of my children participating in the activity. I also have notebook paper available for copywork and expository writing. I read the printed material out loud and we discuss the content. Portfolio pages record lab results, ask fill-in-the-blank questions; and prompt essay writing, etc. Each module includes a list of 3-4 Extensions that encourage delving deeper into the topic. The Extension activities are varied and I tend to choose two out of a list.
Here are five of over 30 Extensions suggested:
- Find references in The Bible to salt. It is mentioned approximately 30 times, see how many you can find and make a list.
- Watch the 1982 movie “Ghandi” which chronicles Ghandi’s life and fight for Indian independence.
- Make your own solar evaporator using household items…
- What happens if a person eats too much salt? Set up an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician to talk about salt in your diet.
- Pick one of the top salt producers and find out how much revenue salt production brings to that country.
As time allows, I have the older students follow selected Web-Links for additional reading and oral presentation. I make age appropriate writing assignments to be done after we close the module. We normally wrap-up with one of the games or card activities included in the Box of IDEAs.
Box of I.D.E.As. and their complete learning modules are an outstanding benefit to our homeschool, aiding in the retention and recollection of the topic matter covered. I think it is a good value in the combination of physical materials supplied and the time saved with immediate access to the thorough research that’s already been done. A physical Box of I.D.E.As. is $79 and printable PDF format is $49.
Comments or Questions?
Call – 333.506.9411
Box of IDEAs LLC
7115 West Calla Road
Canfield, OH 44406
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My Crew mates have written reviews of two of the current boxes that are available from Box of I.D.E.As., SALT and World War Two – Pearl Harbor. Click the banner below to read their well expressed opinions.