Jelly was heard to say during a lunchtime prayer today, “Thank you for letting us have a fun Saturday school morning!”
We were going to do it all in one day yesterday, but we decided to add watching a Leap Year movie to our list of activities in honor of this once-every-four-years holiday. (Ed. - If I’d planned and printed ahead, so that we cold have started school at our usual time on the 29th, it would have been darn-near perfect for a one-day mini unit.) We actually (horrors!) “did” a bit of school this morning – on a Saturday! – so that we could finish up the last few mini books. It isn’t too late, though, to still do this mini unit study THIS leap year, because it WILL be Leap Year all year long. So, having said all that, let me also say that once Jelly got used to the idea of having school on Saturday, a very good time was had by all, and especially by Jelly.
Here’s what we did.
A Leap Year Mini Unit Study and Lapbook
All of our information came from the original link I posted yesterday. I did do some link chains, and I was in a hurry, so I can’t give you many exact references. Sorry! I’ll do better next time. I used templates from HomeschoolHelperOnline.com (If you’re out there, ladies, I’d be happy to add this to your freebies if it is feasible.) and Mirkwood Designs, and added text and graphics (mostly using simple image searches) myself. Next time I do a "from scratch" lapbook, it'll be WAY easier, because I'm going to get the Template Pack from Hands of a Child.
1. Introduction and a very brief discussion: What is a “Leap Year?”
2. 5-petal pentagon minibook titled “Measuring Time”
General Information about Calendars, Clocks, and Keeping Time. Minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, months in a year, days in a year. We “closed” the book with a graphic of Earth as seen from space.
Did you know that if our days were just a minute longer, we wouldn’t need leap year?
3. Leap Year History - *Three-tab book with separate cover
Tabs with pics and info – Julius Caesar (45 BC), Caesar Augustus (4 AD), and Pope Gregory XIII (1582)
4. Gregorian Calendar Rules – Circle book
How to calculate leap years. To reveal and read each of the three rules, spin the top circle.
5. A Leap Year Riddle - Two-flap book
To put together the answer, which is in two parts, you lift the flaps with pics of a kangaroo and of a calendar.
What do you get when you multiply a kangaroo with a calendar? A Leap Year!
5. Leap Year Poetry – Large Fan Book
Read, compare, and contrast (then memorize and recite your favorite) three poems regarding the number of days in February. You could also do this for copywork.
6. Why Leap Year is Like Swings on a Playground - Minibook
I read this analogy, (you'll have to scroll down to "Why It's Such a Big Deal" to find it) then had the girls do a simple narration in a simple, one-fold minibook. It includes two pages with the top half a blank rectangle for an illustration and the bottom half lined.
7. Leap Year Number Line – One and one-half inch strips, taped together. How many you need depends on how big your child writes.
Skip counting by fours. Draw in ruler-like markings with the line pattern – short, short,short, LONG. Think of a ruler. Count each mark, but only label each fourth one.
The girls “checked” their work for their number lines by listening to Cat Man Math Blues. The song ends with …Scatting... and then “cat says meow.” Because Daddy was available, we added an impromptu music appreciation lesson here. He played the song called “Mas Que Nada” (Al Jarreau) for us, and then gave the girls a short lesson on “scat/jazz” music. As I’ve said before, we LOVE rabbit trails!! Thanks, Daddy!
(Woody adds: "Mas Que Nada" [or "Mais Que Nada" sometimes] was originally written and recorded as a samba piece by Sergio Mendes and the Brasil 66. As far as I know it's only ever been recorded in Portuguese. You can find it on YouTube nowadays, which is where I came across the Al Jarreau version. I used Jarreau's version because he is one of the masters of scat in the world today. Besides that, it's just plain fun! Note: I would not recommend the "Black-Eyed Peas" version. Too immodest for our taste!)
Scat music or scatting is the use of nonsense syllables in jazz music. Source: Wikipedia
7. One Leap Baby We Know – Tri-fold Horizontal Minibook
(Note: I was going to have the girls make a timeline and include LOTS of famous leap day babies, but decided we’ll save that for when they’re older and know who more of the people are.)
On Feb. 29. 1932, Newell Kay Brown was born. In 1970, he wrote the children’s song, “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission,” which children all over the world sing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
8. Why Leapers Are Special – Large Matchbook
Leap Day Birthday Probability Statistics Table. The chance of being born on leap day is only 1 in 1,461! The girls drew and filled in the whole table as I gave them verbal directions one step at a time.
9. Leap Year World Record – Large Matchbook
A mom in Norway had children on three consecutive leap year days!! We included their pictures and names.
10. Leaping Animals – Keyfan book
The girls illustrated and labeled animals that leap (or jump or hop). Too cute! They each came up with the fact that PEOPLE leap, which led right in to the next activity.
11. The Jump Rope Rhyme – Minibook with lined-paper pages
The girls took dictation (a la Charlotte Mason) as I slowly read the rhyme one line at a time. They want to memorize the poem so that they can practice their “leap-roping.”
12. Leap Year Wordsearch – Square Petal Card
As Doodle finished up, Jelly decided to add a couple of extra activities.
13. Origami Leap Frog
She followed the directions here (this was the simplest version I found), then used a sealed envelope cut in half to make a pocket to hold her creation - “Leap, the Amazing Frog.” There are LOTS of variations on origami frogs, including this one you can watch and fold as you go.
Doodle was still doing her word search, so Jelly kept creating.
14. Leap Year Fortune Teller
She’s big into “cootie catchers” lately, so she made one with leap-related fortunes. She decorated and used the other half of her sealed-then-cut-in-half envelope to store her game.
15. Watch a leap year musical – Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance.”
There is a made-to-be-a-movie version, but we liked the version that was filmed of a live theater performance. Almost the same cast does both versions. Kevin Kline, the Pirate King, was especially fun to watch.
I don’t want to spoil the story if you aren’t familiar with it, so I’ll just tell you that Frederic’s leap-day birthday causes some confusion as to when his indenture to the pirates is concluded. If you’re a Gilbert and Sullivan fan, you’ll understand why this is Woody’s second favorite, after “The Mikado.” If you’re not, give this one a try. Completely family friendly. It makes a great mini-unit-study-culminating activity.
There are LOTS of other LEAPING options out there, but this combination of activities worked really well for us.
Maybe we’ll do this all again sometime… like maybe four years from now!