Friday, November 5, 2010

The Battle of Cowpens: A Unit Study

One day during his reading lesson a few weeks ago, Th read a story about a drummer boy named Alex who lived during the Revolutionary War. In the story, Alex's father joins the militia in fighting for their independence from the British. They were preparing to fight at Cowpens, and the story was based on an actual event (Morgan's men retreated because the signal boy, or drummer boy, gave the wrong signal). Morgan's quick thinking and decisive actions are ultimately what led to him winning the battle and forever etching his name in history.


For whatever reason, Th really enjoyed this story and made a personal connection with the main character, Alex. So, to stay true to the beauty and character of homeschooling, I used Th's interest to my advantage and we did an entire study on the history of the battle, the men involved, and it's relevance to our lives today. Here are some pictures of his learning along the way:



Completing a Venn diagram on characteristics of the 2 opposing leaders, General Daniel Morgan and Colonel Banastre Tarleton...



We read some excerpts from a diary from a real soldier who fought in the battle. His name was Thomas Young. Young celebrated his 17th birthday the day of the battle. For this assignment, Th was to pretend he was Thomas Young and describe the battle, his thoughts/feelings, and any other information he thought was pertinent to the day...

It reads:"It was my birthday and I was 17. It was really cold. We formed in order of the battle. The men are slapping their hands together to keep warm. I heard guns and shouts from the British. The air was white and black from guns and cannons. Smoke was all around. General Morgan said don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. What a way to spend a birthday!"


Th drew a picture of the battle to go along with his fake journal entry...



At the monument just outside the visitor's center (it was a family field trip!)...



Th pretending he was a sharpshooter, aiming at the British...




Reading an informational marker at the battlefield...


I must admit that this has been my favorite study we've done so far (although we are only 10 weeks into the school year!). I guess because Th was really interested in this unit, he couldn't get enough information about it and he absorbed it like a sponge. We went to the library and checked out books, we talked about it outside of school "hours", and we planned our visit in anticipation of seeing the actual battlefield of which we had been studying. It was all very exciting!
Making sense of the battle using color-coding. Can you follow it? =)

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And along comes three... said...

Very cool!!! Excellent job Teacher Momma!