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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs: A Unit Study
This unit was graciously shared by Randee Baty (a member of the former Funschoolers Unit Study Discussion Loop) who used it with her own children. It was originally edited by Karen Caroe and is reprinted here at EasyFunSchool.com by permission of Heather Idoni, Karen's online archivist. This Funschooling Unit is designed along the same lines as
FIVE IN A ROW. The essential components of a literature-based unit in this
1. You must read the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs EVERY DAY of the unit if you are using
it for 5 days. After the first 5 days, you may read it every other
2. There are activities for 5 academic subjects -- the idea being that
you do one subject a day. In this unit Randee has provided more than enough
activities for you to either choose one or 2 when using a 5 day format, or many
others to use for expansion of the unit to additional weeks.
3. Some of
the activities will overlap into other disciplines but that's typical of unit
4. You should continue your regular Math program while doing
this unit. For older children, you may want to add more to the Language Arts if
you continue the unit beyond 2 weeks.
1. Where do we get OUR food? ( Mostly we get it form the
grocery store, but a lot of children don't know where it comes from before
**Plant and animal products
(such as cheese and butter from cows, etc.)
**Also talk about things like
what catsup is made of and where salt and pepper come from.
2. Evaluate your meals for several days listing and discussing where the food
originates. To expand this area of study, discuss marketing and how food from
farms and ranches gets to the supermarket and ultimately our
3. Older children could discuss how it would affect the economy,
employment, etc. in our town or area if food suddenly started falling from the
**Think about stores, employees, truckers, shipping industry,
warehouses, factories, packaging plants, and an almost endless list of areas it
** How would it affect your family economically? This will vary
depending on your employment and buying habits or how much you grow yourself,
4. This is a good book to introduce the subject of immigration.
Discuss why people immigrate. Pick some good books about immigration to read
aloud or assign for reading. Find on a map the places the people immigrated
**The Long Way to a New Land
**The Long Way Westward
**When Jessie Came Across the Sea
**Coming To America: The Story Of Immigration
**The Japanese American Family Album
**Apple Pie and Onions
**The Dream Jar
**An Ellis Island Christmas
**Journey to the Golden Land
**My Grandmother's Journey
**A Piece of Home
**Grandmother And The Runaway Shadow
**Meet Kirsten: An American Girl, Book One (The American Girls Collection)
5. Discuss how people
in different parts of the country eat different types of food, depending on what
6.People also adapt their dwellings to their environment.
The people in the story had restaurants with no roofs to take advantage of their
environment. People all over the world change their dwellings to suit their
environment. Igloos, pueblos, adobe, wooden houses in the north where wood is
plentiful, brick or stone in the south and the plains, where it is not plentiful, sod houses, dugouts, etc.
**Sod Houses on the Great Plains by Glen Rounds is an interesting children's book about sod houses.
1. Discuss your family food budget. Compare prices from several
stores and graph the information. Talk about using coupons, buying in bulk,
2. Discuss cooking from scratch versus packaged or restaurant meals.
Compare price of prepared food to fresh. For example price raw potatoes, frozen
potato products, boxed or canned potato products, potato chips, French fries at
a restaurant, etc. Compare cost per ounce.
1. Discuss tall tales and read some other tall tales such as
Paul Bunyan. See what makes them different than regular fiction.
2. Try to write a tall tale together with your child.
(There is an excellent tall
tale about the American Southwest called The Gullywasher / El chaparron torencial by Joyce Rossi.
Steven Kellogg's tall tales are great for young kids. Also the stories about
McBroom by Sid Fleischman.)
3.Talk about titles of books. Authors search
for a good title. Where does the title from this book come from? Why does it
catch your attention? Does it make you want to read this book?
4.Talk about oral storytelling. Does anyone in your family ever make up stories to
Try it. Let someone start a story and then allow others to continue and
see where you end up!
5.While reading the book, look for compound words
and write them on a list. Make cards shaped like clouds. Then break the compound
words into their parts. Write each part on a separate card. Play a game like
memory. Each player turns over two clouds and tries to make a compound
6. Talk about headlines in newspapers. How are they written? What
is their purpose?
7. Look at some headlines in different newspapers. Try
to guess what the article is about. See if it was a good headline.
a 1-page family newspaper. Try to write good headlines with appropriate
1.Messy, but fun - Dry out some pieces of bread and let them
build a boat or house.
2. Look at the illustrations. Notice the use of
color for emphasis. The beginning and ending are in black and white. Why do you
think the illustrator did this? The tall tale is in full color. Notice how on
the two page spreads as Grandpa starts and ends his story, the illustration
gradually changes form black and white to color or vice versa.
the details of the pictures. The details make these pictures fun to pore over
and look for the little things. I don't know much about art but it looks like a
black pen and water colors were used.
1.Discuss what your family does with leftovers and
scraps... reuse it, put it in the disposal, put in the trash, compost it, feed it
to animals, other?
2.Discuss the sanitation department. What happens to
3. Take a field trip to your local landfill.
book mentions many kinds of weather. Discuss and study the weather. Rain,
drizzle, floods, storms, Snow, drifting, winds, hurricanes, tornadoes, Clouds,
fog. What are the differences in these different weather events?
5. Get a book on kitchen chemistry and do experiments in the
6. Discuss methods of food preservation, why it has to be stored
in certain ways to keep from spoiling.
7. Discuss different kinds of
clouds. What do they tell us?
(This is a 6th subject which may be
incorporated daily into the Unit Study)
1. Make pancakes like the family in the book.
obvious for this book is to do a lot of cooking with your kids to show where and
how food is really prepared.
3. This might also be a good time to discuss
table manners since it shows the people carrying their silverware around with