Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Thematic Unit: Italy (and the Renaissance)

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! I'm posting another thematic unit this week, which contains lessons I have used with 5th class (and some which I have used with 3rd and 4th as well) based on the theme of 'Italy'. This theme offers a huge amount of opportunities for integration so here are a few of my ideas:

Geography: Italy:
Discuss prior knowledge about Italy (food, climate, sports teams, etc.). Go through the information in this PowerPoint and then create a booklet (in pairs) containing all the information a tourist would need to know about Italy.
Note: I have edited this PowerPoint to suit Irish classes, but you can find the original here.

History: The Renaissance:
The video below gives a synopsis of changes in painting techniques during the Renaissance. It can be used alone to focus on this specific aspect of the era (activities are included in the video), or can be used in conjunction with the PowerPoint below, to give a more rounded view of the era!

Science: Da Vinci's Flying Machines:
Discuss briefly how people get from place to place and lead the discussion towards the importance of the development of flying as a mode of transport. Brainstorm some ideas about what you need to consider when building something you want to make fly. Use the PowerPoint and video below to study some of Da Vinci's flying machines as well as other key moments in the history of aviation.


Give them the activity at the end of the PowerPoint to work on in small groups of 3-4. This activity involves designing a plane that will fly by man power or by gliding through the air using lollipop sticks, sellotape, blue tack, a glue stick, tooth picks, paper, elastic bands and crepe paper. 
My class  really enjoyed and engaged with this lesson and learned so much during it. It highlighted and corrected many misconceptions they had about forces, helped them to acquire new skills and gave them the opportunity to work on their ability to solve problems as a team.

Art: Mock the Mona:
The next lesson idea came from here. I adapted this idea into the following PowerPoint lesson which also includes some detail on the life of Leonardo Da Vinci and his other works.

Art: One Point Perspective:
If  you would prefer something more technical for an older class, they could create a one point perspective painting using the following PowerPoint to guide a discussion of the subject (This  also ties in nicely with the Art History video based on the Renaissance which I have embedded above).
Note: This lesson idea came from Deep Space Sparkle's website.

Music: Listening and responding:
Listen and respond to different pieces of classical, operatic or film (e.g. Romeo and Juliet, etc) music by drawing emotions, identifying instruments used or studying the various musical elements that feature in the music.

History and Drama: The Myth of Romulus and Remus:
Read, discuss and act out scenes from the story. 

Religion: St. Valentine:
If you choose to teach this unit near Valentine's day, the story of St. Valentine could be covered in Religion.

The lesson possibilities for this theme really are endless and I hope that you found some inspiration for your own lessons in this post.

Until next week! 

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