50 State Study: Kentucky

Kentucky was a fun state, and I enjoyed getting to watch some of the Kentucky Derby videos while we were studying it.

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This is what happens when you let the kids be “responsible” for their stuff.  Two of the items are lost/missing and one is glued in upside down.

Well, from top right going clockwise:

Young Abraham Lincoln– He was born in Kentucky before moving to Illinois, and there’s a great book about friendship and it’s also a great book to compare truth and fiction in a biography.  We wrote what makes a good friend.


Mohammad Ali– I learned so much about him from the books I checked out, and we all wrote catchphrases.  Of course ours weren’t really that catchy……..  More on monologues.


Daniel Boone– We had fun observing pictures of the real Daniel Boone and talking about him and making our own surveying equipment.


Yeah……..  That’s the pages I could find, not found:


Night Boat to Freedom– What color would you wear to freedom, or as all the boys there interpreted it that day: “How to arm a rowboat with nuclear missiles.”


State symbols– I love that they have a state motto: “To the stars through difficulty.”


Not included because they weren’t paper products:


Kentucky Derby hats– because making hats out of paper plates and plastic bowls is always fun.


Happy Birthday to You- Ummmm, we read this book about the authors of that song, but for some reason I can find no information on what we did.  GROWL………………

Kentucky: Night Boat to Freedom

So…….  I’ve discovered something that’s a side effect of the books we’ve been reading.  My kids have decided because in all of the books with black people they’re always slaves or not allowed to do things, so they’ve decided it’s a bad thing because of that.  Here I thought I was showing how they’ve overcome so much and this is so great.


Instead, they think this is still their lot in life, and if you have dark skin you are still not allowed to check out library books like happened to Ron in “Ron’s Big Mission.”  So, I’m trying to figure out how to fix this.  They don’t seem to of noticed that our neighbor next door who they talk to on a regular basis has dark skin.  Or that several of the kids in their Sunday School class do as well.  All they remember is the books I read and how in those their slaves or discriminated against.


Food for thought for me.


All that because, it’s another book about the Underground Railroad.  I rather like this one.


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The main character (whose name escapes me) rows slaves across the river to freedom each night.  When he gets back his grandmother asks “what was their freedom color?” and she adds that color cloth to her quilt she is making.




After reading that we had to make our own outfits for what we wore to freedom.  Princess wore red to freedom, and the boys both chose blue.



Now what really cracked me up about the boys outfits was the competition all of the boys there that day got into about their boats.  By the end of that activity those boys had the best armed row boats you’ve ever heard of.  Stealth missiles, ability to use the rockets to go faster, heat seekers.  Many countries would be jealous of the arms on these boats.


I’m gonna link this over to the geography linkie at All Things Beautiful and to

Shibley Smiles

Kentucky: Derby, of course

How can you learn about Kentucky without at least having a brief stop at the Derby?

You can’t.  So, I didn’t.

First we read “The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby,” it’s a bittersweet story about a jockey who eventually quits racing here because of racism. I don’t think it was the best book for what I was trying to teach about, but it’s probably a good book for another lesson.
Afterwards we watched a video about the different hats women wear.

Which Princess thought was wonderful, the boys were more interested in seeing several different races from different years.

Afterwards we made Derby hats.

I turned them loose with styrofoam plates, bowls, pipe cleaners, buttons, bows, what have you.

Unfortunately, Batman’s was so precarious that he could never wear it.  The same with Superman’s, which I did get a picture of.

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Kentucky: Muhammad Ali

034One of the things I love about doing this is what I learn too.  For instance I never knew where Muhammad Ali was from, or really anything about him beyond he boxed and his catchphrase.


After reading it, of course we had to come up with our own catchphrases like Ali did.


Of course their catchphrases weren’t polished or metered.


It was more like:


I run fast and punch hard

I’m like a master ninja and will defeat you!

I can run and dance faster than anyone


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Kentucky: Daniel Boone

I found this fabulous book, but then as I was preparing I got an email from Colonial Williamsburg with their “Primary Source of the Month,” Daniel Boone’s surveying equipment (you may need to register to see the picture, I’m not sure).


I still read the book, but I totally changed our activity.

Daniel Boone surveying equipment

model of Daniel Boone’s surveying equipment as done by Batman.  The string is used to measure a distance, the compass is used to ensure you are heading in just one direction.


Supplies: foam board or cardboard, yarn, brad, paper/cardstock, markers


Prep work: cut two pieces of foam approximately 4 inches by 6 inches, and a piece of string about 2 feet long, from the cardstock cut a circle and an arrow shape




Step 1: Put a large amount of glue on the top of the first piece of foam board (I have lots and lots from the boys’ birthday party last year).  Place the second piece of foam board on top.


Step 2:Take the piece of card stock and write the compass points on it.




Step 3: Punch a hole in the middle of the circle and put the arrow on it using the brad.


Bonus points if you have time to color the rest of the case or paint it.



Subtract points if the boys automatically start demonstrating how you can swing it above your head like a weapon.


Not that anyone I know would do that………..  Not at all………..


I’m gonna link this over at All Things Beautiful and A Mommy’s Adventures 

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Kentucky: Young Abe Lincoln

I love Abraham Lincoln, and also tall tales, so a book that combines the feel of a tall tale with Abraham Lincoln is a good find.

The story tells the tale of young Abe Lincoln and his first best friend as kids in Kentucky, and actually does tell an incident that really happened in Lincoln’s youth, but with a fun light-hearted feel, which is important because it is a scary time where he almost dies.



After reading it we took some time to write “what makes a good friend,” (link to printable).  Their answers were amusing, things like “play with them” or “makes me laugh,” but they were very true.  It shows that being a friend doesn’t really change from being 5 years old to being a grown-up.  Or so called grown-up.


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I’m gonna link up over at All Things Beautiful, with her history/geography Meme.  I have zillions of posts I need to link up there.