Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.
Being so close, Florida was a fun and easy state for my girls to get into. They felt familiar with the places and landscapes, but also learned new things.
Florida is famous for so many things. I tried to stick with the basics while introducing some of the culture. Feel free to explore Disney, Lake Okeechobee, the Keys, NASA, and other places as a part of your study.
1. Nonfiction Resources
- S is for Sunshine: A Florida Alphabet by Carol Crane – We always stare our US Geography study with one of these books. I read the book on Monday right before I set the girls loose to fill out their notebooking pages. Check out what we are using here.
- Florida: The Sunshine State by Emily Rose Oachs – Our library has a set of these books, they are well worth seeking out. Structured like a reader, they offer solid information and tantalizing tidbits that entice Ruth to delve further into an interesting subject.
- Celebrating Florida: 50 States to Celebrate by Marion Dane Bauer – I found this series while looking for a set of state books even my very beginning reader could tackle. Here they are! I am excited to order a few of these for our upcoming states.
- Socratica Florida – Visit the 50 States
Children naturally love wildlife and they readily see beauty in nature. Exploring the natural beauty of a state is always a highlight for us, even if no special project is involved. Everglades National Park in Florida is amazing! The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States is a true testament to the creativity and order of our great God.
- Educational videos and lesson plans on Everglades National Park website
- Learn about Everglades National park history, scientists, management and more
- Welcome to Everglades National Park by Nadia Higgins – A fun guide for kids taking you through the park. There are plenty of pictures and maps; a perfect book for an upcoming visit.
- Everglades by Jean Craighead George – Written as a story told by an older Seminole Indian to a small group of school children, Everglades is simply a doorway to conversations about conservation, stewardship, and the environment. Wherever you stand on the issue, it is a good jumping off point.
- Southern Hodgepodge Chalk Pastel Tutorials – After reading these books, we began our art project. Ruth was so enamored by the beautiful cover of Everglades, that she decided to copy it in chalk pastels. We love this art medium. If you have not tried it, I encourage you to do so. It is so forgiving!
3. Living Fiction Books
Florida has many living books to read and enjoy. Choose one as your next family read aloud, or assign one for independent reading while you complete your US Geography tour of Florida.
- The Yearling by Patricia Reilly Giff
- Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The famous explorer who discovered and named Florida is a must for your study.
- Short biography of Juan Ponce de Leon
- Juan Ponce De Leon by Andrea Pelleschi – Graphic histories are the perfect books to leave lying around. I don’t even have to ask if Ruth has read them. I know.
- Ponce De Leon: Exploring Florida And Puerto Rico by Rachel Eagen – A great book for digging deeper with more information on this famous explorer.
- Re-enactment of Juan Ponce de Leon landing on YouTube – Try to ignore the modern looking people in the background and you will have a good idea of what Ponce de Leon’s landing might have looked like.
Our state food for this month was Orange Muffins. My kids love this tasty treat so much that we made it for our Florida state study. It was the perfect fit for an afternoon snack with a friend.
After we ate our snack, I read the Florida story from our new state storybook, It Happened in America, True Stories from the Fifty States, by Lila Perl. It was exciting to learn how one man from China is responsible for the current success of the Florida citrus industry.
1 orange, quartered, peeled and pitted
the peel of 1/4 of the orange
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. maple syrup or sugar
In a blender, pulverize the orange, orange peel, buttermilk and egg. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients with the pecans. Add the blender mixture with the remaining wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
Spoon batter into well-oild muffin tins. Fill 2/3 full.
Bake at 400 for 12-18 minutes, depending on size of muffin tins.
6. Ocean Life
Florida waters are home to some amazing creatures! Dolphins, manatees, Florida Panthers, Queen Angelfish, and turtles are just a few!
There are so many directions you can take this. Study the science behind some of the animals that live in the ocean, work on animal identification, or just enjoy looking and wondering at all the different sea creatures.
Sea Animal Science
- Dolphin echolocation activity – just one of several activities on eHow’s School Projects for Dolphins. Discover how dolphins use vibrations to locate friends, foes, and food.
- Eastern Emerald Elysia – This is a fascinating creature! A sea slug who actually uses photosynthesis is sure to encourage wonder of God’s great creation.
Sea Animal Identification and Exploration
- 1001 Things to Spot in the Sea by Katie Daynes – An Usbornbook that will get everyone interested in finding sea creatures.
- Simon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Sea Creatures by Jinny Johnson – While not all of these sea creatures live off of the Florida coast, this book is a great reference for those that do.
- Dolphin Talk: Whistles, Clicks, and Clapping Jaws by Wendy Pfeffer – We love the Read and Find out Science series.
- Look Out for Turtles! by Melvin Berger – Another Read and Find Out Science book for the Loggerhead Turtle.
- One Tiny Turtle: Read and Wonder by Nicola Davies – How do those turtles find their way back to the beaches they were born on?
- Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons – Gail Gibbons is a favorite of ours. We enjoy her simple text and pictures as we learn.
- Sealife in Southwest Florida Estuaries YouTube video
Hands on Activities and Crafts
- Coral reef recycled kitchen craft
- Coral reef crochet creatures
- Florida oceans mixed media craft
- Turtle life cycle cards
- Ocean word search
7. Seminole Indians
The Seminole Indians inhabited the Everglades as a last sanctuary. They had been pushed farther and farther south and took refuge in a land on one else wanted. I think it is important to learn about the Native people of America and so we include them in many of our state studies.
- The Seminoles by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
- The Seminole by Stefanie Takacs
- Seminole history facts for kids – This website is far from whiz-bang, but it is excellent on content. We used the same one back in our Delaware US Geography study for the Lenape Indian tribe.
- Legends of the Seminoles by Betty M Jumper – Read a few legends and then try writing your own.
S is for Sunshine: A Florida Alphabet (Discover America State by State)Florida: The Sunshine StateCelebrating Florida: 50 States to CelebrateWelcome to Everglades National ParkEvergladesThe YearlingStrawberry Girl 60th Anniversary Edition (Trophy Newbery)Because of Winn-DixieJuan Ponce De LeonPonce De Leon: Exploring Florida And Puerto RicoIt Happened in America: True Stories from the Fifty States1001 Things to Spot in the SeaSimon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Sea CreaturesDolphin Talk: Whistles, Clicks, and Clapping JawsLook Out for Turtles!One Tiny Turtle: Read and WonderCoral ReefsThe SeminolesThe SeminoleLegends of the SeminolesApollo 13
What is a trip to Florida without visiting the Kennedy Space Center? Enjoy these resources to pique your interest in this spectacular space destination.
- Kennedy Space Center 50th Anniversary Video
- Space Shuttle Launch
- Landing on the Moon :July 20, 1969
- Space Shuttle with Kennedy Space Center Sign 28 Piece – I don’t usually post toys, but I know that my children love acting out what they are learning about and this space shuttle astronaut set looks amazing! Something to tuck away for Christmas or a birthday.
- Apollo 13 by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld – A chapter book for older kids about Apollo 13.
What is your number one, do not want to miss, attraction for Florida?
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