Our Cactus Unit Study


This has been a fun unit study for us and I’m so happy I can finally post about it. It all started with a family field trip to the Desert Museum. I instructed Marcus to choose three types of cactus to study.

He chose the popular or maybe I should say, famous, Saguaro (sa-wahr-o) cactus, the rare, Golden Torch cactus and the California Fire Barrel.


At the Desert Museum we bought this book to contribute to our unit study. It’s called, Desert Giant, by Barbara Bash, and it’s a Reading Rainbow book. We also used the internet to find facts about these three cacti. Here are some of the sites we came across: The Desert Museum has a fun website which was helpful. I love these interactive pages: Click here and here. We also used Cacti Guide.


Marcus put all his facts together in a mini flip book he created out of large index/recipe cards, a hole punch and binder rings.

desert diorama

Then he created his own desert diorama featuring all three cacti and some rubber critters from the dollar store.


My favorite is our desert wall scene. We all helped make it from poster board, construction paper and clip art. I found the free clip art critters (toad, scorpion and snake) here.


My daughter drew the owl in the hole.


And that’s our cactus study unit!


Greek Mythology Unit- Week 2


Moving back to Lima, Peru, interrupted our Greek mythology unit, but we have managed to read about more Greek gods, including Poseidon (God of the Seas), Athena (Goddess of Wisdom), Hades (God of the Underworld), Demeter (Goddess of the Harvest), Apollo (God of Music) and Artemis (Goddess of the Hunt).

Marcus decided his favorite so far is Apollo, and he did some additional research about Apollo on the National Geographic Kids website which you can find HERE. Then he wrote a persuasive essay about Apollo being the best Greek god. His three arguments were that Apollo was an excellent archer (he compared his archery skills to Hawkeye of the Avengers); Apollo could charm the muses who would dance to his music; and Apollo was completely loyal to his father, Zeus.

Marcus made another Greek craft for his distance history class. He designed four Greek columns (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Caryatid)


Aren’t they cute? He even made sure they could hold up something.


And that was week two of our Greek Mythology unit.

Greek Mythology Unit- Week 1


I’ve been so consumed preparing to move back to Lima, Peru, in 9 days, that I decided to wing our Greek mythology unit and just jump in with both feet.

Marcus and I are using this book-

Treasury of Greek Mythology

National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology. I really like this book because of its elaborate, beautiful illustrations.

This week we read, starting at the beginning of the book, about Gaia (Mother Earth), Uranus (Father Heaven), Cronus (Titan King), Zeus (King of the Gods) and Hestia (Goddess of the Hearth).

We also discussed our personal religious beliefs verses what the ancient Greeks believed. We believe in a perfect godhead made up of Heavenly Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We worship our Heavenly Father, and pray to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus Christ created this earth, under Heavenly Father’s direction.

Marcus has also been learning a little about ancient Greece, in his distance history class, using this book-

Encyclopedia of World History

The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. His crafts this week were inspired from this book.

First he created this paper Greek vase-


He made this by coloring an entire sheet of white cardstock with crayons and then painting over his coloring with black tempura paint with a drop of dish soap mixed in. Once that dried, he etched his vase and cut it out. Marcus featured a Cyclops on his vase.

Maybe next time, we’ll try this more elaborate way to create an etching-

Crayon Etching.To learn how to create a vibrant Crayon Etching like this one, see the step-by- step tutorial and photos on the How To Arts and Crafts.com website.

He also created these Greek tragedy and comedy masks-


We followed the examples from Mrs. Crosbie.