California History: Geography

As some of you know, I absolutely love to study and read about history. So when I was asked to teach California History at our campus day I said, “yes!” How could I not, after all I was going to have 2 of my kids in the class!

So, for our first project I decided we should all get familiar with the geography of California. After all, everything the we will be studying will be about our state. So here is what we did!

I invited all the parents in class to get a large pizza box, you can ask any pizza restaurant for a large box and they will gladly give it to you. Next I gave each student an oversized print out of California to cut out and trace in their pizza box. After that we made salt dough to create the California, keeping in mind the valley’s and mountains.

Here is our recipe;

2 cups AP flour

1 cup salt

Add just enough water to make cookie dough consistency. If it is sticky add more flour.

Your child should easily be able to shape the state of California on his or her own. I had many class helpers to help me mix in class, however there were a couple kids who didn’t get a chance to make theirs in class. So the were able to finish at home. Just like my son.

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Looking good!

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Don’t forget to add your mountains and the central valley!

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After almost 2 weeks of letting the salt dough dry, we started to paint the different regions by color.

Yellow paint, for the Central Valley( Salinas, San Fernando and Los Angeles Basin)
Green paint, for coast and forest ares (includes entire coastline and Sierra Nevada)
Brown paint, for Desert areas (Mohave and Colorado)
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We just used kids craft paint for this project, nothing fancy.

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No to to let the paint dry!

Later we added the main rivers, lakes, the Pacific ocean and the neighboring states.

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After this was all dried, we waited a few weeks before we came back to this map. We waited until we started talking about the Missions. At this point, we made little flags with all the missions and hot glued them on the map in the location they are built in California.

What we did after we printed my list was snap toothpicks in half and tape the names on like flags. All 21 missions.

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Here is another view.

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The only thing we didn’t do at this time, was write the name of the states neighboring California and the Pacific coast. But we did add them later.

The pizza box made it easy to transport from class to home, and then from home to class. The toothpicks snapped in half made closing the pizza box doable. But if something gets places on top of the pizza box some of the toothpicks will stick to the top. We had that happen to one of our maps.

I hope you enjoyed our California History project and I would love to see pictures if you decide to make one for your homeschool lesson.

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“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

 

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