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Monday, September 21

Orville Wright : A YWAM Review

YWAM Publishing Review
Very soon, we’re going to be headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We visited here last year, and the Wright Brothers’ Memorial was a favorite, so when we had the opportunity to review Orville Wright : The Flyer, from YWAM Publishing’s Heroes of History series, we jumped at it!  The book even comes with a Unit Study Curriculum Guide, with many ideas for creating a full biographical study of America’s first aviator.

We read Orville Wright as a read aloud over a week-long period as we geared up for our trip back east.  As a supplement, we watched a video about the Wright Brothers, reviewed our trip from last year, and worked on a few of the mapping activities in the unit study.


Book Description
When Orville Wright and his brother Wilbur set out to solve the problem of flight, they recognized that success would come with careful observation, perseverance, and ingenuity. From experiments in their Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop to test flights over the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the amateur aviation enthusiasts risked their lives and worked tirelessly to solve the problems that had stumped the world's best scientists.

Together the Wright brothers designed and constructed a power-driven airplane and, in it, made the world's first controlled, sustained flights. As a result, the skies were opened and the era of aviation began (1871-1948).

Heroes of History is a unique biography series that brings the shaping of history to life with the remarkable true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history.

Geared to students ages ten and older, Orville Wright and the accompanying Unit Study Curriculum Guide are a fun way to learn more about one of our first aviators.  The chapter book is written in a narrative style, and while there are no pictures beyond the small black-and-white line drawings at the beginning of each chapter, you’ll be so busy learning about this great hero of history that you won’t notice!  We loved the book, but I was not nearly as impressed with the unit study guide.  While I appreciated the Chapter Questions section and mapping activities, the rest of the guide was not as useful for us. 


There are several biographies in the Heroes of History series, from Columbus and Davy Crockett to Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman. There’s even a chronological list so you can easily add them to your existing history curriculum.  If you want to use that list to create a year-long course, the Unit Study Curriculum Guide comes with a guide for using all of the books in homeschool, co-op, and school settings. The unit study itself is broken down into eight major sections, as shown below.
Key Quotes
This section has quotes from other famous figures that are offered up as examples of what may have inspired the hero. 
Display Corner
Suggestions and examples of items to collect for display are offered. 
Chapter Questions
Each chapter is allotted four questions to help students focus on vocabulary, factual information and opinion/ interpretation of the information.  Answers are provided at the end of the book.
Student Explorations
     -  Essay Questions
     -  Creative Writing
     -  Hands-on Projects
     -  Audio/ Visual Projects
     -  Arts and Crafts
This section is divided into several sections with writing prompts, research probes, map-making projects, play and script writing, and other crafty projects.
Community Links
This is basically a ‘field trip’ section. 
Social Studies
     -  Places
     - Terms/ Vocabulary
     - Geographical Characteristics
     - Timeline
     - Conceptual Questions
This section offers more traditional and familiar study tips for understanding the geography of the area.  The Conceptual Questions section involves more short projects to help students dig a little deeper in the politics and geography of the area.
Related Themes to Explore
This chapter allows you to see other topics (specific topics in science, history, geography) that can be tackled during your unit study.
Culminating Event
These are ideas for closing out the unit study. 


YWAM Publishing Review
See what others are saying about YWAM Publishing over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!