## Wednesday, April 29, 2009

### Night at The Museum History Unit: Theodore Roosevelt - Paper Bag Teddy Bear Craft

We finally started our Night at The Museum history unit. We'll be taking some time, and studying through the characters presented in the Ben Stiller film. This unit will probably be directed more at the middle school years, but we'll pull in the younger children whenever possible.

We started by watching the movie of course (at least the older kids did). I've ordered the picture book by Milan Trenc, that the movie was loosely based on, from a partner library. In the meantime, we've done quite a bit of talking about the museums that we've visited in the past, to get the younger children on board.

Our first order of business, was to begin working on a timeline. I'm a big fan of hanging timelines around rooms. When we studied American history, we made a timeline using the presidents as a base. This time however, we're going to have to include the entire history of the world (it's a good thing we subscribe to the young earth theory. I'm pretty sure we couldn't fit a billion year timeline around our family room). We're going with a really literal interpretation of Genesis, and beginning our timeline at about 4000 BC.

The timeline will allow us to place the characters from the movie into their proper place in history. I figure that drawing out a thousand years a day ,we'll have it completely ready before we finish studying all of the characters. We're allowing 1/4 inch per year, so it will take a bit of work to complete the entire thing (fitting a timeline to a room can be an excellent math exercise, using measuring, multiplying, dividing, and fractions).

Once we tired of working on the timeline today, we turned to our first character - Theodore Roosevelt. We watched most of the short video clips about the former president at http://www.history.com/. The children took note of the fact that in the movie, Robin Williams, is dressed as the pre-presidential Rough Rider Roosevelt (and to my Canadian friends, that doesn't mean he was dressed in green and white).

After taking quick note of some of President Roosevelt's more impressive accomplishments, we read the account of the naming of the Teddy Bear. The younger children took the opportunity to make some teddy bears of their own out of paper bags. We started with the bear circle craft at www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mbear.html . Then we cut out two bear shapes that we had traced onto a flattened paper bag, using a bear cookie cutter as our stencil.

We glued some of the circles from the bear craft onto one of our paper bag bears, to make a face. Then we glued the two bears together, leaving an opening at the top. We stuffed the bears with left over paper bag, and finished gluing them closed. When they were dry we used a hole punch to make sewing card type holes around the outer edge of our stuffed bears. Finally, we "sewed" through the holes with some fuzzy brown yarn, and we had our own Teddy bears. My four year old surprised me, and did most of this craft of her own. The older children showed a little less enthusiasm at this point, so I didn't push it (okay, so I pushed it - but just a little). They got the idea of the story, and tomorrow we can have some "Teddy" Bear cookies for snack, and probably be ready to move on to our next character.

It's great to be a homeschooler!