5 Fun (and FREE!) Unit Study Ideas for Elementary Grades
When it comes to teaching, the old adage about one size not fitting all is true, but in a “one style of learning does not meet the needs of all” sort of way. Figuring out how to get around the workbooks and 3” thick teacher’s manuals can be extremely tricky. If you have the freedom to determine how material is presented in your classroom, you might want to consider doing a unit study.
Not only do good unit studies work to address many different learning styles, but they also make learning a subject a lot more fun. If you are worried about how you will incorporate all of the things that have to be covered during the course of the year, do not worry. There are unit studies that can be used to touch on everything from classic literature to punctuation and spelling. The five unit studies below are really good resources for teachers that come with an even better price tag – free!
Tonight on the Titanic
When the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:40pm on April 14, 1912 and sank just two and a half hours later, it became one of the most famous tragedies in maritime history. In her Magic Tree House series, Mary Pope Osborne takes readers aboard the ill-fated ship just as the call of “Iceberg ahead!” rings from the lookout. The events of that night, as well as the details leading up to the ship’s sinking are intriguing to old and young alike. This unit study gives teachers a chance to address the event while also allowing for writing practice, vocabulary development, and more.
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Famous explorers and their trials as they journey to new areas are always of interest to students. Introduce this unit by dressing up as Lewis or Clark and talking to students about what they will be learning. Start a large K-W-L chart that can help guide you as you begin instruction. This study focuses language arts, math, science, geography, and has a strong focus on Native American life and customs.
End of the School Year
It may be a toss up as to who is more excited about starting a unit on the end of the school year – the teacher or the students! This fun unit study encourages creative writing, recall, and expression through art. While the pages listed at the bottom of the site are for members only, there are many free resources above them.
Not only is it important to teach your students about fire safety, but in many states, it is also a curriculum requirement. This unit study from the University of Oklahoma’s Police Department is filled with great ideas and answers to questions your students may have. Be sure to supplement it with your favorite fire safety books for a well-rounded unit study.
Exploring the Moon
Have you ever discovered a website that is so full of good resources for teachers that you want everyone to know about it? Well, NASA’s Educator’s section is one of those sites. Not only can you narrow down the lesson plans by subject and grade, you can also download amazing material for unit studies. The Exploring the Moon unit is one of those fabulous free resources that you will love teaching and your students will love learning about.
Do you have a favorite unit study that you enjoy teaching every year? Share with us! If you are a middle school teacher, do not feel left out. We will have fabulous middle school unit study ideas for you soon!