Ice Age FREE Unit Study

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My youngest son wanted to learn about the Ice Age this year so I have been putting together a unit study for him for the past month.  Now that it is finished, I wanted to share it with you. The study is based upon on three different books and includes lots of videos!  Hands on activities and notebooking pages to organize what you have learned are included, too.

Grab one, two or all three books, download the FREE printable unit study and then explore the other resources below!

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The Books about the Ice Age

The Ice Age unit study is based upon What Was the Ice Age? , Magic Tree House Sunset of the Sabertooth, and the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Sabertooths and the Ice Age.  Grab one, two, or all three of the books or use with other books you find about the Ice Age.

What Was the Ice Age? is a non-fiction book about the Ice Age with information about glaciers and early animals and humans.  It provides evidence for what is known about that time period as well as theories about that time period that currently have limited evidence.  It does a relatively good job of pointing out the difference between these two, but you may want to emphasize the ‘known’ vs. the ‘theories’ more with your children.

The fiction book, Magic Tree House: Sunset of the Sabertooth, can be read independently in the early elementary years or can be used as a quick read aloud.  Jack and Annie travel back to the Ice Age and learn about people and animals that lived then.

There is a non-fiction Fact Tracker to accompany this book, Sabertooths and the Ice Age.  It contains much of the information in What Was the Ice Age?, but has it laid out in a way that may appeal to younger children.  It has short summaries of several Ice Age animals and made a good reference book for completing the Animal Notebooking Pages in the printable unit study.

The Ice Age FREE Printable Unit Study

The unit study includes the following:

Notebooking pages to accompany the books.

World map to color where the ice sheets were located during the Ice Age.

Animal notebooking pages to research and learn about prehistoric animals.

 

Printable notebooking pages and world map.

Vocabulary Pages 13 key words for learning about the Ice Age.

Timeline to note some of the major events in earth’s history and the discovery of those events.

Comparing and contrasting activity to compare Neanderthals and Modern Humans.

Creative Writing Prompt: A Day in the Life of an Early Human

Printable timeline, writing prompt, vocabulary pages, and Venn diagram.

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Learn About Cave Paintings

You can look at some pictures of cave paintings and sketch out some similar drawings. Then paint them with red and black paints as those would have been the pigments used to make the original cave paintings.

Or if your children are interested in a more elaborate cave painting project, this video has you first create a surface similar to a cave wall and then add your paintings:

 

Learn About Glaciers

Help your children understand glaciers better by watching these videos and trying the hands on activity.

Hands on activity: If your children like hands on activities, make a glacier!  Take a paper or plastic cup and put some chunks of ice in it, then add some water, add some dirt, and add some more water until it is filled to near the top.  Talk about how glaciers form over time as snow falls and gets packed down and how often some dirt and rocks end up in them.  Then freeze your ‘glacier’.

Once it is completely frozen, cover a sheet pan with flour or similar substance and pop your ‘glacier’ out of the cup.  Move your glacier slowly around in the flour, pushing it into ‘mountains’ and carving ‘valleys’.  Look at the striations that are left in the flour.  Relate this to how glaciers move and carve out our landscape over time.

A child's hand is moving around a block of ice in flour on a sheet pan.

There are many videos about glaciers melting and how they affect our earth.  Here is one to get you started:

Check out this video about how Channeled Scablands in Washington State were shaped:

Prehistoric Animals

There were many interesting animals that lived prior to and during the Ice Age. We know about many of these animals because of the La Brea Tar Pits.  Here is some background about these tar pits:

If you want a deeper look into the pits and don’t mind a ‘dryer’ presentation :

It is interesting to discuss why so many animals were so big back then and how the animals adapted to the changing climate.  Here are some videos of some of the animals:

Terror Birds

Basilosaurus

Woolly Mammoths

Sabertooth Tigers

Use the animal notebooking pages in the FREE printable and research one or more of these animals further!

Three printable notebooking pages to research animals.

First Humans

While there are different theories about first humans, the most evidence has been found about Neanderthals.  This video is a good way to introduce children to these early humans.

Hands on activity: Look for rocks outside that could be used for tools.  What kind of jobs would you use them for?  Try to bang the rocks together to shape one of them into a tool.  Would that be easy or hard to do?

Plate Tectonics Activity

The American Museum of Natural History has a Plate Tectonics Puzzle that allows you to cut out continents the way they likely existed 200+ million years ago.  You can then place them together to see what the supercontinent, Pangaea might have looked like.

This video is a good accompaniment to this activity.

Other Resources

Have you used other activities or resources to learn about the Ice Age?  Please share below!

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