Saturday, October 07, 2006

We went to China this week

... and did we have fun! And all from the comfort of our lovely living room in Colorado!

Yep, we did a unit study using the book, Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Thong. This book is great because not only does it take us on rabbit trails China and the Mid-Autumn festival, it also discusses shapes which are always a great rabbit trail (tangrams, shape drawings, art....).

Using Ami's wonderful FREE unit study as a "spine", we discussed shapes and drew "round is a ..." pictures, we discussed China -- its geography and a bit about its history, and read some of the fables surrounding the Mid-Autumn festival (which fell on October 6 this year).

We capped the week off with a kid-friendly and kid-made Chinese feast with a round theme -- Ginger Fruit Salad using peaches, apricots, mandarin oranges, sliced bananas and (duh) candied ginger; baked mac 'n' cheese (it was Friday after all) using wheel pasta; and the piece de resistance: homemade mooncakes
-- these are called "Five Treasure Mooncakes" because they are filled with 1, apricot preserves, 2, chopped dates, 3, raisins, 4, coconut, and, 5, the delicious butter cookie outer "shell" .

    The whole dinner was a big hit, especially with LegoManiac and String Bean retelling the fable of Chang E, Hou Yi and the Jade Rabbit from the lovely book*, Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz, and the Boston Children's Museum.

    *By the way, this book is a must-have if you're doing any unit studies on Chinese feasts.

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