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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 format are:

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 day.
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 studies. :o)
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.

Social Studies

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 that.)

**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 homes.

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 sky.
**Think about stores, employees, truckers, shipping industry, warehouses, factories, packaging plants, and an almost endless list of areas it would affect.
** How would it affect your family economically? This will vary depending on your employment and buying habits or how much you grow yourself, etc

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 from.

**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
**Grandfather's Journey
**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 is available.

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.

Applied Mathematics

1. Discuss your family food budget. Compare prices from several stores and graph the information. Talk about using coupons, buying in bulk, etc.

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.

Language Arts

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 tell?
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 word.

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.

8. Do a 1-page family newspaper. Try to write good headlines with appropriate articles.


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.

3.Discuss 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 our garbage?

3. Take a field trip to your local landfill.

4.The 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 kitchen.

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?

Life Skills

(This is a 6th subject which may be incorporated daily into the Unit Study)

1. Make pancakes like the family in the book.

2.The 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 them.


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