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The "Wizard of Oz" series by Frank Baum is a classic. Below are some unit
study ideas that you should find useful with a literature unit on this book and/or series.
1. Study cyclones, tornados, etc. You may want to make your own - When the cyclone hits, Dorothy and her house travel in the storm. You can make your own version of a cyclone with two soda bottles, some water, a little glitter and some duct tape. Fill one of the bottles with water and a small amount of glitter. Tape the two bottles securely together at the openings. Flip the full bottle to the top position and swirl them so that the water forms a whirlpool or cyclone as it flows into the other bottle. You may also want to get out the encyclopedia (or library books) to learn about cyclones and weather in general.
Learn about rust. What causes rust? What can be done to prevent it?
1. Get out an encyclopedia about Kansas (or library books). Learn about the climate, the weather and the people of Kansas. You may also wish to make a map of Kansas. Talk with your child about the words North, South, West and East. Lable four walls of a room with these words. This would be a great time to teach your child how to use a compass. As you drive around town, talk about the directions that you are traveling.
1. Learn about the heart and the brain. Talk about the importance of each organ. Can we live without either of them?
1. Have your child write a story with themselves as the main character. In the story, have them go to a strange land through a strange mode of travel and describe all of the unusual people and the weird things they do while there.
2. Write a biographical sketch of at least three of the characters in the book, "Wizard of Oz."
3. Compare and contrast two or more characters in the book. You may take this a little further and do the compare/contrast exercise with the same character, comparing the character as they appear in the book and as they appear in the movie.
4. Compare/contrast the book and the Warner Brothers movie staring Judy Garland. My preference would be to watch the movie AFTER reading the book, but this is up to you.
1. Figure out how long after the story was written that the movie was released.
2. How many numbers you can find while reading the book.
1. Have you child(ren) create a play based on the book.
2. Create costumes for characters in the story, by drawing or sewing.
3. Recite portions of the book, using correct annunciation, diction, voice inflection, etc.
4. Create scenery for your play.
1. Discuss the difference between fantasy and reality. How does fantasy sometimes help us to come to a real decision? [Answers could include: by providing examples, in story format, for actions/consequences.]
2. Discuss the difference between knowing something and believing something. How is this concept dealt with in "Wizard of Oz"?
3. Some families' may object to the references to witches, both good and bad, that appear in "Wizard of Oz." Take some time to discuss your family's beliefs and preferences in this area.
Arts and Crafts
1. Make a scarecrow. You may wish to use some of your child's old clothes to make the scarecrow.
2. Make rainbow themed drawings and other crafts.
3. Make your own "Tin man" by using various size, recycled empty vegetable and soup cans. You could also use boxes covered with aluminum foil if cans are not readily available.
4. Make colored sketches of the various characters that appear in the story.
My favorite culminating event is a party. Let the children make rainbow themed snacks, show off the arts and crafts that were made during the unit, have a scarecrow center piece for your table, etc.
You may also invite friends and family over for a movie party or sleepover with rainbow colored popcorn. Watch the "Wizard of Oz" and have a good time.