Globe-Trotting Girls: Moscow, Anastasia, Kissel, and Tundra

Items Needed:
  • Passports and flags printed from Expedition Earth
  • Russia A to Z by Justine and Ron Fontes
  • Look What Came From Russia by Miles Harvey                                                                                                                     
  • Children Just Like Me
  • Russia map and flag from Expedition Earth
  • Notebooks
  • Various Baba Yaga folktales (I checked out about 5 different Baba Yaga stories from our library.)
  • Works of art by Marc Chagall and/or Wassily Kandinsky. I used Yellow, Red, Blue by Kandinsky and Les MariĆ©s de la Tour Eiffel by Chagall
  • Geography Through Art
  • Cardstock and markers or colored pencils
  • The Complete Book of Animals
  • Our Father’s World
  • Children’s Amazing Places
  • Russia by Martin Hintz
  • Anastasia’s Album (To say that this book was a hit would be an understatement. My third grade girls ate it up! To be honest, I stayed up one night and read it too. It’s really, really good.)
  • Animals of Russia flipbook from Expedition Earth Animal Supplement
  • Russia lapbook from Expedition Earth
  • Ingredients to make Strawberry Kissel
  • The Secret Garden
Day One:

Add Russian flag and date of entry to passport.

Quickly review the continents and oceans by finding them on a map. Review the terms latitude, longitude, hemisphere, equator, and prime meridian.

Find Russia on a map or globe. Talk about what hemispheres it is in and what continents it is on. Skim over the fact sheet about Russia from Expedition Earth and share with your student.

Read Look What Came From Russia and/or Russia A to Z.

Have older students fill out the map of Russia from Expedition Earth while younger students color the Russian flag sheet. I added the following places to the map for the older girls: Ural Mountains, Volga River, and Moscow. Add these pages to your notebook.

Read Children Just Like Me p. 30-31.

Complete Matryoshka doll project from Geography Through Art on p. 72.

Show artwork by Kandinsky and/or Chagall. Explain that these works of art are both by Russian born artists. Talk about the works themselves or just let the students look at the pictures during the week.

Read a Baba Yaga folktale of your choice.

For homework I assigned my third graders p. 79-80 in Our Father’s World and p. 6-9, 24, and 26 from The Complete Book of Animals.

Day Two:

Read p. 23-top of 29 from Russia by Martin Hintz

Discuss and do an activity to show what communism is and how it works. The activity I used was: I gave each girl a different amount of “money” (use whatever you have on hand). One girl had one, another two, another three, and the last girl had six. I explained that in Russia the peasants and farmers felt that the wealthy didn’t care about them. They kept getting richer while the poor kept getting poorer. A political group called Communists began promising the people that if they would help them revolt against the czar, and then they would make things fair and equal in Russia. At this point, I asked all the girls to hand me their money. I explained that what the communists were promising was to collect all the wealth, then give it back to the people in equal amounts. At this point I passed out all of the money so that each girl had three. The girls all thought that this seemed like a very fair way to do things. I then explained that in actuality it didn’t work that way. I had the girls give me all of their money again. This time I gave each of them one and kept the rest for myself. I told them how people had to wait in line just to get bread and how Russians didn’t have fuel in the winter. If you complained or refused to go along with the communist government then they would kill you or send you off to a prison in Siberia. We then talked about how the things that the communists promised never happened and eventually the people were able to get rid of communism in Russia. The girls were really fascinated with this lesson, so then I led right into…

Look through Anastasia’s Album at the pictures. Talk about when Anastasia lived (at the time the communists took over). I let the older girls read the book, but we all enjoyed looking at the picture and talking about how normal Anastasia’s family looked even though her father was the czar and she was a princess.

Eat strawberry kissel, a Russian dessert.

Watch this video about the tundra and make a tundra scene in your notebook. I used the instant habitat dioramas book from Scholastic to do this.

Complete the Animals of Russia flipbook from Expedition Earth’s Animal Supplement and add to notebook.

Define czar, communism, and tundra and put definitions in notebook.

Fill out the Russia lapbook piece from Expedition Earth and put in notebook.
Stamp passports with exit date.

Read chapters 11-15 in The Secret Garden this week.

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