Friday, February 19, 2010
All things Russian...
We use the Story of the World audio books, written by Jessie Wise and narrated by Jim Weiss, to learn about history. D loves the way she presents history as a series of interesting stories and is an avid fan of world history. We try to cover one volume per year, and this year we are using Volume 3, which covers history from the late Renaissance to Early Modern times. The great thing about stretching one volume out over the year is that it gives us lots of time to jump off, research, and explore the stories of different countries, religions, and cultures.
We've been learning about Russian history since last year and have loved learning about the 2 Ivans (the 'great' and the 'terrible', aka as Ivan the Awesome to us after watching Night at the Museum 2) and most recently about Catherine the Great and her achievments in modernizing and westernizing Russia. To explore Russian culture a bit more this week we read 'The tale of the Firebird', by Gennady Spirin, a beautifully illustrated book and lovely Russian folk tale. After reading the book, the kids made their own clay firebirds, and decorated/painted them while listening to the Firebird Suite by Stravinsky.
Next we made some yummy Russian food. I've decided that cooking something sweet is always a plus if you can add it into your unit study! D is turning into quite the chef and he made blini, which are Russian pancakes that taste a lot like crepes. (Also, it's really fun to say 'blini'!) We filled them with powdered sugar and cinammon, folded them up and ate them with our fingers. We all agreed that they were delicious. Then we moved on to borscht (another fun word), which is a Russian beet and vegetable soup. Our finished product looked a bit like pale pepto bismal with vegetables floating in it, but tasted pretty good despite it's pallid hue - although the kids might disagree with that statement! I think we probably didn't use enough beets, so it didn't have the vibrant red color one would would expect borscht to have. Borscht will forever be known as pink soup in our house.