Monday, November 18, 2013

Stellaluna (Bats) Unit Study

I'm behind on my posts but trying to catch up!

Post-Halloween, Aidyn and I learned all about bats with a Stellaluna unit study.



Stellaluna (by Janell Cannon) is a sweet story about a baby bat who loses her mother and lands among a family of birds. Stellaluna learns to adapt to her new life as a "baby bird" by eating insects, doing her best to perch upright, and sleeping during the night. When Stellaluna reunites with her own kind, she learns how wonderful it really is to be a bat!

Aidyn loved this story and the touching illustrations of Stellaluna's vulnerable eyes and her wacky face when she tries flying like a bird.

Reading:

We snuggled on the couch every day and read this story. After the first reading, we learned new vocabulary words with a set of cards I printed from a Stellaluna unit study on homeschoolshare.com.


Aidyn acted out each word as I read the definition, and we read back to see how Cannon used the word in her story. Then we played Vocabulary Bingo to practice the words.



The next day, Aidyn reviewed the vocabulary cards and chose a favorite word (clutched) and wrote his own sentence with it.


During the rest of the week, we read other bat-themed books like Bats at the Library and Bats at the Ballgame (both by Brian Lies), Bats (a nonfiction book by Gail Gibbons), Baby Bat's Lullaby (by Jacquelyn Mitchard) and Little Lost Bat (a sad little story by Sandra Markle). Aidyn independently read an easy reader called Batbaby Finds a Home (by Robert M. Quakenbush).

Science:

We were fascinated by bats' keen sense of smell after watching some YouTube videos about bats. Inspired by Delightful Learning, I set Aidyn up for a Batbaby Scent Experiment. I scented about six or seven cotton balls with different aromas and showed him his "baby" and let him sniff the scent. I then blindfolded him and let him try to find his lost baby.


He carefully smelled each baby until he found his own!


This scent activity delighted him. We also talked about echolocation, and he impersonated a bat navigating the night sky using echolocation.

He also watched the cartoon version of Stellaluna on YouTube.


Fun Food:

On the first day, I made Aidyn a bat PB&J sandwich with fresh fruit.


Later in the week, I made  him a watermelon bat and an orange bat.


Writing:

Each day after reading vocabulary cards, Aidyn wrote sentences with his favorite words. We also brainstormed some bat facts, and he wrote about his favorite fact and illustrated it.



Pretend Play:

Prompted by his own imagination, Aidyn donned his Spider-Man bath towel and pretended to be a bat. He called himself a "bean bat," a species he made up apparently. He flew around the house and used echolocation and his sharp sense of smell to collect beans. Throughout the day, he provided me with bean bat stats--their diets of fruit and meat, their habitats, their personality and the fact that they shifted from nocturnal to diurnal creatures depending on if they stayed with humans or not. He also said they were gliders, not flyers, and demonstrated said ability all over the house.

We thoroughly enjoyed our little bat unit study! We're still reading Roald Dahl books, and just finished George's Marvelous Medicine. Aidyn is still honing his reading skills and loving math and ukulele practice.

Here's Aidyn playing the opening music of Super Mario Bros.

video

We have begun a fall/Cranberry Thanksgiving unit study. Last year we covered Cranberry Thanksgiving and had so much fun we want to do it again. Check back soon to see what we do!