Monday, June 19, 2017

Story of the World - Ancient Times: Chap 9 Indus Valley

The Mojenjo-Daro artifact photo above  is licensed by World66 under the
 Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 1.0 Generic license 

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
  I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library.

Below is our lesson on the Indus Valley civilization of Mojenjo- Dar for Story of the World (Vol 1 Chap 9)...along with some additional resources.  This was a fun section on a period of history that is important, but often overlooked. 

PART 1 - Indus Valley Civilization 

There are a couple of neat videos out there showing mock-ups of Mohenjo-daro...I choose one of them to show BEFORE reading this chapter. I thought the chapter would be more interesting if my son could SEE the place where this takes place before he read about it. I also showed him some artifacts from the Indus River Valley civilization from DK Eyewitness Books India*. And I think it worked, because he listened very attentively to this section.

I actually found some much better pictures of Mojenjo Daro in a general "Ancient Civilization" book at our  library later (doh!)....

The Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World

I love love the beautiful illustrations in this book...and WISH I had found it before doing this chapter.  It has become one of my favorite books for supplementing story of the world (the writing is well done too, though since we are using SOTW we didn't read a lot of it, just mostly looked at the pictures)

DK Eyewitness Books India

This is the book we actually used, but it's illustrations of the Indus Valley Civilization was a little lacking.  The "Look Inside" preview on Amazon actually includes the pages we looked at (Page link above) if you want to see.  All of the pictures on those pages were Indus Valley artifacts EXCEPT the painting in the lower right corner that shows the Aryan people, who came later.

PART 2 - The Hunter and the Quail 

You could do these two sections on different days, though I thought the historical info and the story flow together more than in some other chapters with folk tales, so we did read this on the same day.  We took a snack break between the first part and the story though.

I found a picture of some Indian Rock Quail which I showed my son at the beginning of the story, and another picture which actually illustrated this tale which I showed him later. You could also illustrate with a video I found, that tells this same tale in another language. You could turn the sound down and just tell the story over it (though it has some differences: the hunter doesn't throw the net on the quail, he lays seeds on it to catch them, and the ending part where the quail don't work together isn't clearly shown). You'ld want to practice it while the kids aren't looking first, if you tried this.


At home for our activity we played the Professor Indus Game on the BBC website. He liked some of it, but some of the game was really repetitive and we ended before it finished.

At co-op, a teen member made a minecraft simulation of Mojenjo Daro which all the kids added to.  They had a lot of fun with that.

I also found a great hands-on Mojenjo-Daro model activity on the blog Satori Smiles (and she gave me permission to share a picture with you all)..

We didn't do this since we were already covering this lesson in co-op, but I can see where this would be a fun activity.    There's some prep involved but those little bricks could be kept and used in other lessons too.  Lots of mud brick structures in the ancient world you can recreate.


We also read another Indian fable, Once A Mouse, a story of a mouse that was turned into various animals to save him from being eaten, but forgot to be grateful.  My son really enjoyed this one...he even asked to read it again several times before we had to take it back to the library!


Mojenjo Daro Animated Walk-through

Indus Valley Civilization Video (4.03 min)

Crash Course World History Video (9.35 min)
This video is fun, fast paced, and full cartoonish illustrations...but as it's for adults too also has some bigger vocabulary that's not explained.   The beginning part goes over what makes a civilization, before they get to the Indus Valley part, but there's also a shortened version without that part or the very end (which doesn't directly pertain either).

Indus Valley Civilization Website
This website has info, pictures, videos and some interactive content.  I was not able to get the videos to work on my linux computer.

Story of the Quail Video (not in English)
You could turn the sound down and tell the story on top of it....though it has some differences (the hunter doesn't throw the net on the quail, he lays it out, and the ending part where the quail don't work together isn't shown well).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Books from My Childhood: Ocean Tales

I love being able to read the books of my childhood to my children.   Since I grew up on a boat many of my favorite stories involved the sea.  Here are three of my childhood favorites.  All are set in and around the ocean, and in all of them the main characters take a long journey filled with adventure and wonder.

by Stephen Cosgrove

Serendipity was on of my favorite stories as a child...and it became one of my child's favorite stories. It's a book about a pink sea monster who has various adventures while trying to find out who she is. Reading it as an adult was different though.  While I still loved the beautiful illustrations and poetic writing style, it seemed "preachier" than I remember in its message about taking care of our oceans.    But my son didn't seem to be bothered by that and asked me to read it again, and again, and again.

There's two versions of this with older illustrations (which I prefer), and one with newer illustrations made to look more like a cartoon that was based on this (which I never, until recently, even knew about).  This is a first in a series this author wrote, all having fantasy elements, a moral at the end, and the same style of illustration.   At least one of the other stories also features Serendipity:  Cap'n Smudge.   It also was a favorite of mine as a child.
by Leo Lionni

Swimmy is a story about a little fish, and his adventures in the ocean.  I love the beautiful charming "stamped" illustrations.   The story starts out with a tragedy...Swimmy is the only one of a large school of fish that escapes being eaten by a bigger fish.     The book quickly moves on to Swimmy's exploring the ocean and discovering wonderous things until he finds another school of fish, and figures out a way to help them explore the ocean too without being eaten.

I wondered if that would upset my son but it didn't.   Like me as a child, he loved the story and asked to read it many times.

Scuffy the Tugboat
by Gertrude Crampton

This is a story of a little toy tugboat which wants to do bigger things than just float in a bath-tub, and gets a chance when he's lost in a little stream that turns into a giant river taking him all the way to the ocean, where he is found once again.

I'm sure my mom bought it for me as a child because it featured a tug-boat, and we lived on a boat very nearly like it (if colored differently).  I even had a little, similar, tug-boat for my bath.

My children, unfortunately, didn't like this one as much as I did as a child.

 Our Boat

Our family lived here until I was 10.

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Littles Learning Link-up

What to Read Wednesday

Story of the World - Ancient Times - Chap 9: The River Road of India

I hadn't been able to get to the library before starting this chapter, so I didn't supplement with any books, only videos.  But really, the main supplement this section needed was a map, which the Activity Book provided.  And since this section has SO MANY questions, my child actually did fine with it even without more visuals or other supplements, and when we were finished he was interested to learn more about India.

Now, you should know that the Indus River, and the Indus Valley civilization are actually in Pakistan, not India.   It USED to be part of India but now it's not.  So, if you're looking to study the modern countries where these ancient places are located, that's where you'll want to look.

Paragraph 1
I had my son point to all the rivers mentioned on a world map...he's getting pretty good at spotting them.

Paragraph 2 - 6
For these paragraphs I used the map for this chapter from the activity pages (which lacks the city of Ur and Assur that are in the smaller version in the main book, so I added those).    When the imaginary trader from Ur in the book asked "How will you get from Ur to Assyria?" (p 3), I had my son draw a line from Ur to Assur.  When it asked "Can you think of another way to get from Ur to Assur?" my son's first thought wasn't routs, but vehicles...he suggested camels because their feet spread out and wouldn't sink in the sand (thank you Wildcrats for that...LOL).  I told him that was a great idea and many ancient traders did use camels because of that....but in this case there was an EVEN easier way they could go.  I pointed that both Ur and Assur were next to rivers, and traced out the route the book suggested the trader could take by water.

Paragraphs 7 - 8
While I read these paragraphs, I showed my son this aerial video of the Indus River.  The video is just aerial video and middle eastern instrumental music...and I sort of felt like one of those documentary narrators with the video and music playing in the background as I read (I have to admit, that is a fun way to read this...I might look for more instrumental photography videos to read with with future texts).

 I interrupted the text only to point out the Indus river in the video, and ask "Can you see why they call it The Indus Valley?   Look at the mountains around it!"

Paragraph  9 - 10
I switched to a different video for this showing a boat with lateen sails navigating the Arabian sea.   I told my son that this was a ship that might have been like what they had back then...but I should have done my research, because those sails, while they did originate in the near east (possibly Persia or Arabia),  were not used until much later.  If I were doing it again, I might use this video in stead (with the sound turned down).

More Videos

Indus River From Space
- Has narration about the area.

Roadtrip by Indus River (by Wild India)
-This video is taken from a car while driving (but is still very smooth...not shakey video)..only a short amount shows the Indus river before the road then goes inland...but it also shows mud brick houses (still in use TODAY in this area), which might be interesting.  There are no words, just techo music in the background. 

More Indus River Videos from Wild India

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Story of the World - Vol 1 - Ch 8 - The Assyrians

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
  I suggest looking for the books mentioned at your local library.

For this chapter we supplemented by looking at pictures about Assyria from DK Mesopotamia.   I split up the first section, Shamshi-Adad, King of the Whole World, in two, reading paragraphs 1-8 on one day, and 9 -14 the next day.

We also watched the rest of this video on ancient Mesopotamia that we first started when we were reading about Sumer in chapter 5.  It has a lot on the Assyrians as well, and is just an excellent story for kids (it comes from a Christian perspective).

For the section on The Story of Gilgamesh, I found a beautifully illustrated series of children's books telling the expanded story. 

I decided to only read the first one, Gilgamesh the King, because my son doesn't do extremely well with sad endings and it left off on a more positive note than the other two (and the Story of the World retelling) .

More Story of the World Lessons

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