In the late summer, we spent weeks and weeks on prehistory. We studied the earth cooling 3.5 billion years ago, our earliest fossils of life, and all the various periods of life. We studied the transition to land, the beginning of flowering plants, and dinosaurs. We even looked at human evolution a bit. Some of the books we used included:
- The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of History — one of our spines for history, it has just a short page or two about a subject, some nice pictures (cartoonish style, bit realistic — I actually like this because it’s friendly and cuts out extraneous details that can confuse people so you can focus on what they are trying to portray), a quick timeline, plus (as the name implies) many up-to-date links on the internet about the subject. Usually these consist of a few images you can download (we often use them on our timeline), a game or a video, and some interesting interactive links at museums and similar places. Usborne keeps the links fresh, so you don’t have to worry that you bought the book 5 years ago and none of the links will be there.
- Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual Guide — it had some more information and a lot of wonderful pictures of prehistoric life.
- Paleobugs: Survival of the Creepiest — one of our three favorite picture books for prehistory, it features interesting bugs.
- When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long Before Dinosaurs — another of our favorite picture books, it focuses on some of the periods before the dinosaurs that are often neglected.
- When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs — the companion to the previous book, it features the rise of the amphibians that led to reptiles. Also another neglected period in prehistory.
And, finally, the point of this post, we made neat little flip books of the tectonic plates movement over the hundreds of millions of years. We didn’t do all of the activities on the page. We just made a little book.