Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prehistory – Part 1

We started our Prehistory unit today by learning about the formation of the Earth.  First we watched the National Geographic movie, Earth: Making of a Planet.   The movie was very good (and appears to be available online) but at two hours long, the kids did not sit and watch the whole thing straight through.  They would wander off for a while and then return for more.

After the movie, we read in our Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History about how when it was first formed, the earth’s surface was covered with volcanoes.   We then made our own volcano.  I have never done this with the kids before so it was a new experience for them.

I have been collecting all our old, mixed up play-doh for the day we would use it to make a volcano.  We covered an old jelly jar completely to make our form.   Georgie didn’t want to touch the old play-doh because he said it was icky.  He usually likes play-doh and, other than the colors, this was no different so I’m not sure what that was all about but Vicki didn’t mind doing all the play-doh work herself.


Then we poured a mixture of vinegar, dishsoap and red food coloring into our volcano – our molten lava.

Last, we added some baking soda.   The kids loved watching the volcano erupt and wanted to do it again right away.  At first, it came out very pale pink but then it became a darker red.


You can see how big of a step back Vicki took once it started “erupting”.



Very cool….and very messy.

After our volcano settled down, we did a worksheet on the different Eras of time from the Junior Paleontologists Activity Book available from the National Park Service.   This is a resource I forgot to list in my Prehistory Plan.  We will be using different pieces of it throughout our study.

We read about Pangea in our UILEWH and did an activity showing how the continents would separate and how mountains are formed.  Ideas that I found at The Homeschool Den blog.

Next we will be learning about how fossils are formed and found.


  1. Fabulous and thanks for the link to the Jr PL booklet

  2. Ooh, my daughter and I were just watching Earth: Making of a Planet last night! We have watched the BBC Walking with series over and over, studied prehistory in depth, so during this particular movie, we were both so excited and would often shout out the words before the narrator said them in the movie. :)

    Have fun learning prehistory! We did our studies two years ago, but this is something we continually go back to and learn more and more.

  3. The video sounds like one we would enjoy...I'll have to look for that. We own the Usborne World History Encyclopedia you mentioned, and it's a great resource.
    This looks like such a great project :)

    (stopping by from Science Sunday)

  4. Thanks for the JR PL book link! I can't wait to do this stuff! And I've got to look for that movie!

  5. Dottie Dear, you have a blog award over on my blog !

  6. Thank you Jana!! My first Blog Award. :-)

  7. so fun! I LOVE that your daughter is naked... my kids never wanted to wear clothes and are naked in most of their photos. ha ha... second... LOVE Usborne books! Third... very fun project!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at For the Kids Friday Link Party! I will be posting the next party tomorrow night. I hope to have you stop by and join us for another week sharing great ideas for our kids!!

    Thanks for stopping by!
    :)rachel at http://SunScholars.blogspot.com

  8. Oh, good idea to use the old mixed up play doh. I might do that next time we're about to make fossils.....

  9. Thanks for posting your prehistory blogs. I am preparing to start up my own unit with my dds and I am excited to see what you have done.