Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Night At The Museum History Unit - Into the Diorama Room: The Mayans

Our quote for the day from Theodore Roosevelt was, "We can have no '50-50' allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all." This quote stands in odd contrast to today's celebrations of Mexican pride and heritage across the country (I'm writing this post on Cinco de Mayo). It made for an interesting discussion of the changing political views toward our national identity.

Despite the late president's thoughts on the subject of immigration and the great melting pot, Cinco de Mayo, is at it's heart an innocent celebration though - another remembrance of the underdog defeating insurmountable odds. Besides, it's a great excuse to break open a pinata! Not to mention the fact, that we even managed to tie the pinata to our Night at The Museum history unit.
  1. Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday.
  2. The Mayans were in large part from what is southern Mexico today.
  3. Our pinata was filled with chocolate.
  4. We have the Mayans to thank for chocolate.
  5. Yesterday we introduced Christopher Columbus in our study.
  6. On his fourth voyage to the New World, Columbus robbed a group of Mayans of their cocoa beans (he took their chocolate!)

Suddenly, we understood why the Mayans in the movie seemed so angry. Just to bring the point home we watched a quick clip from the UK called, The History Channel: The Origins of Hot Chocolate (www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGNC5UhwFXM). The poor host makes, and drinks a sip, of the cold water, chili and cocoa mixture favored by the Mayans. We decided to stick with Hershey's.

Work continued on our dinosaur mural. And, we made a little more progress on our timeline, accompanied by a story time. We finally got hold of a copy of The Night at The Museum by Milan Trenc, the picture book on which the movie is loosely based. It's cute, and the little one's appreciated the toned down version of the story. The dinosaur skeletons in the book are silly rather than scary, and there's a lack of mummies and rampaging Huns.

Now we get to watch This is America Charlie Brown - The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad, and we'll be well into the the diorama room of the filmmakers' version of the American Museum of Natural History. And of course, speaking of dioramas sounds like it's time for another art project.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

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