A sample lesson plan from Gypsy Family Travel for researching and exploring a country, city or any destination can follow this sequence to best integrate the concepts. A lesson can be part of a broad curriculum or it can be as specific as you want it to be. If you are not planning a trip anytime soon, the student can be an “armchair traveler.”
The “formula” for travel planning with your children can be outlined like this:
1. Consider your childrens’ personalities and incorporate those characteristics into the itinerary. Are they athletic? scouts? artistic?
2. Have them each choose a country, state or city they are interested in. You can pick a region of a continent and connect the dots from there.
3. Have your children research their specific country or destination by checking out books.
4. Meet together at the dining room table (or kitchen table) and work together daily to keep everyone on track. Leave the materials together in one place for accessibility. Build a bibliography from their favorite books.
5. Make quizzes for your children to take from their books’ information. See our quizzes section on the blog menu tab. Print those off. There are answer keys, too.
6. Make each child is the docent for their specific country or city so when you tour those countries, treat that child as an actual “docent’ by letting them explain monuments, architecture, cuisine, historic facts, etc
7. When you arrive to that country, state, or city, let the child/docent who studied that particular country or destination be the first to “step” onto the soil as a a celebratory arrival. You may enter that country or destination by airplane (so let them be the first off the plane), by ferry boat, bus, rental car, etc.
Activities depending on personalities: hiking, rafting, skiing, whale watching, zip lining, camping, art museums…
*The suggested reading books I’ve included on most countries’ posts are for children and/or parents to read. Some parents have told me that reading a children’s book on a country gives gave them a simple “bird’s eye view” into what could otherwise be a complicated or complex history in adult versions.
Sample Lesson Ideas:
Choose a destination— state or country. Have the student write to the Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Bureau of that destination requesting materials. Some will provide these for free. When the package arrives from the Chamber of Commerce, the student sorts through useful information as they become the “docent” or “travel agent. When I was a teacher in the 90’s, my students enthusiastically waited for these packages to arrive. It was the highlight of this unit. Now the different subjects come in:
Geography-–use Google Maps or a regular atlas to locate the destination Social Studies–draw and learn about the country’s map symbols and colors
Science or Art-– make a craft or project depending on the destination you are studying. Example: a volcano project for Santorini, Greece. A paper maiche mountain project for The Alps, etc.. Make a poster of your country, showing the highlights.
Reading– read the books you’ve checked out about your country and share factoids with your family
Writing– write a sentence or paragraph on the country (see Quizzes section of this blog)
Language–use an audio translator on the computer to repeat phrases from the various countries. Build a vocabulary word bank of foreign words. (See France on this blog)
Math- create a budget for your travel expenses. Calculate the distance of miles between countries. On the airplane, have the student observe the maps on the TV screens that show the distance and location of the flight route.
Art & Photography: when the trip is over, make a photobook together on iPhoto, Shutterfly, etc.
Integrate the concepts-–you use visual, auditory and kinesthetic modalities when you do the following:
- visual- learning through images, graphics, sights
- auditory- hearing
- kinesthetic- tactile and physical learning
- Check out books about the destination (ex: Archeology or Sea Life)— VISUAL
This info is included in the travel book A Magic Carpet Ride. Click on link to order the book and/or read the reviews and summaries:
News article on Gypsy Family Travel and A Magic Carpet Ride: