St. Patrick’s Day Unit Study: Finding Rainbows in the Mundane

green shirt-cum-rainbow cowinkydink

Marguerite is beginning to develop an unhealthy attitude toward worksheets, so I had to step back and regroup. That felt too much like the traditional school scenario that I wanted to avoid. Why were we doing worksheets anyway? After much agonizing introspection in which I had to be honest with myself and admit that my own insecurities have been dealing destructive little blows to the peaceful rhythm I’ve been cultivating in our family, I finally ditched the worksheets and decided to try something else. St. Patrick’s Day was coming up, so I thought it would be an interesting topic for a unit study. This would be more activity-based, and the lessons wouldn’t have much to do with the downloaded list I have of things 6-year-olds should already know.

Even though the Philippines is overwhelmingly Catholic, we don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here. There aren’t enough Irish immigrants, I suppose. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting holiday and I could link it to rainbows, which I knew my daughter liked. I’m actually really happy that we tried learning without worksheets. Of course, I don’t have much to put in her portfolio except for a couple of art projects, but lessons this time better suited Marguerite’s temperament and interests. They were also more relaxing since I didn’t have to spend my time urging her to finish her work or calling her back as she’s prone to straying when things got too boring for her. You can imagine how this could be a test to my patience and usually result in a battle of wills.¬†We’re also trying to put a lapbook of that unit study together, but it’s taking a lot of time and Easter is coming up (something I don’t want to miss out on, homeschooling-wise), so we’re doing it in slow stages.

Basically, alongside St. Patrick’s Day, we learned about Ireland, shamrocks, leprechauns and rainbows too. It was all pretty random, but I know she learned that:

– Paddy is a nickname for Patrick. St. Patrick supposedly drove all the snakes away from Ireland, but that’s just a story. There really aren’t any snakes in Ireland except for the slow worm (we googled its image), which looks like a snake but is actually a legless lizard.

St Paddy’s Day toenails

– Ireland is very green. The shamrock is its symbol. St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about God. Shamrocks (we found patches of them outside our church – we picked some and they’re going in the lapbook) are also called clovers sometimes, which are supposedly lucky when they have four leaves instead of the usual three. There are different shades of green. There were too many, so we just chose our faves – she likes kelly green while I’m torn between apple green and sea foam green. We also looked at pictures of the Chicago River dyed green. For music, we listened to Danny Boy, which, we concurred, is a sad song. For art, we formed a shamrock out of green hearts.

– A leprechaun is an Irish fairy. It hides a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The rainbow is formed when the different colors that make up sunlight hit raindrops at a certain angle and separate. Another word for rainbow is spectrum. Its seven main colors are ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). We played a game wherein Marguerite and Cameron had to look for the picture of a leprechaun and bring it back to me. I would then give them the letters that formed a word when arranged according to the sequence of the seven main rainbow colors. The spelled out word was the actual location of the pot of gold. We did several rainbow drawings and paintings as well as a collage. We also experimented with forming rainbows using everyday objects.

rainbow game

rainbow game

pot of gold (trick or treat cauldron during Halloween – that thing’s putting in a lot of service)

rainbow experiment 1 – water glass rainbow

rainbow experiment 2 – CD rainbow


rainbow experiment 3 – crystal prism

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