An example of a Unit Study on India - by Svani

Below you will find a basic outline for our unit study on India, using these links. You can tailor it any ways you want it. The unit studies can go on for months or you can make it to for a few weeks. Take it slow and enjoy the process. My children were always jumping between topics and it got too much for me keep them focused on one single topic. So I split the study down to chunks for few weeks only. And they read a lot by themselves. We missed on the lack of virtual tours and such. But we picked travel videos on India and watched them and they were amazingly helpful. 

As well as using the on-line resources:

I used assorted books from the library for each of the topics as well as based on reading levels. There are picture books to all the way adult levels available in the libraries. Though I was limited to what was available in my part of town. 

We also watched many videos and did many field trips related to India. 

My kids loved tests so I did satisfy their interests in different ways than giving worksheets which is in the document. They found them silly as well. So, they typed, wrote essays, narrated stories, made poems and did artwork. 

We celebrated festivals with many food cooked as potluck by friends and asked each family to dress up in their traditional costumes for the get together. We had Andhra, Kerala, Gujarathi, Marathi, Tamilian, Karnataka families. Each family cooked meals special to their state. Each family talked about their state and their town and all that is has for worthy of a visit. Kids did project boards, hands on arts to show and tell. They performed/ played music and danced. We exchanged simple conversation of 'hello, 'how are you?', 'what is your name?' kind of phrases in each of our native languages and kids tried using them. They also tried learning their language alphabets and writing them down. Each family then told a folk story from their part of town with moral values which was a wonderful conclusion for the whole event. Remember that I live in US. There are not many Indian families that homeschool here. I live in the bay area and I suspect that there will not be even a handful. So many of friends with school going children participated in this on a holiday and thoroughly enjoyed doing this. We involved the kids in all of the above. Also we had an interesting mix of a Hindu, muslim and a christian with secular values, which added to the flair of diversity of values. They all talked about their religion, values and its importance. 

My children also played 'setting a store' of vegetables and fruits and spices.

They called their American neighborhood children to play along as their 'customers'. They set up the store stand by themselves, tagged the real items prices themselves and they had to figure out change and such mathy things while enacting this. Adults were not involved and the kids managed the whole show. 
They had to buy the produce from me and have to sell it to the customers and see if they make profit or loss.

Some times, there was drought or natural crisis and I did not have produce to sell and they were at loss. They had come to find ways of how to combat such a situation when the poverty strikes or when they were at loss. They also played the greedy store owners wanting to make a lot of profit and then try playing the rational, just store merchants.

This is a lesson started out as economy, math, but kids learnt human interaction, empathy, problem solving etc.

Plus it was not from a book and it has its own value. I just tossed the idea and they just came up with complicating schemes. In fact I started with fruits and veggies as a plan and the kids came up with alternate plans for droughts or natural disasters (creating frozen and dried foods and premade packaged foods, and emergency kits for food and water. They used the resources on excess profit on timely manner (which was a lesson in itself as once they made the products too early and the packaged stuffs expired in date and could not be used), implement such ideas and teaching the 'customers' to eat such stuffs by selling it to them at times of natural disasters).

I was impressed and pretty humbled by it:-)

Best of all kids loved being the masters of action and they did a great job of doing so and learning at the same time.

Many ideas here came from my kids as they expressed what they wanted to learn and how they wanted to learn it. They used the toy cash register, did experiments on floating tests with various stuffs including pumpkins (did you know that it does not sink?), pretend to raise chickens :-), talked about vegetarianism, sent out flyers in the local stores on the 'golu' we had at home, invited the neighbors for the same and talked and answered questions from the neighborhood children etc. 

We did all other countries in the same way, with a difference, asking one of our friends to come and talk about their culture over dinner. We are lucky that we could have families from Africa, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, German, French, Russian, Poland, Romania, China, Italy, Scotland (he is a cop and he came and played the bagpipe which was pretty cool) etc. And I called them all on a single day with their traditional attire and it was a great fun. Interestingly adults learnt a lot along with the kids. Plus we also learnt that there is such much similarities in core values and ancestral connections among all and that was pretty humbling. 

We also went to such specific market places (as part of the field trips) and talked to those native people as well.

Sky is the limit. You can build more and create such learning experiences for your children which will last a lifetime.


Hands on projects:

Leaf and flower pressing based on Indian grown

Batik art

Tanjore painting

Learn a few songs, slokas, bhajans

Indian classic movies and books for plays and puppet shows

Taj Mahal puzzle

Rangoli patterns

Field trips to Indian art museum and also to watch Indian concerts and dances and plays.

Write an Indian based story or a poem

Location: India is a large country in southern Asia. India is bordered by Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), and Bangladesh. 

Capital: New Delhi is the capital of India. 

Size: India covers about 3,287,590 square kilometers. India is the 7th country in the world (after Russia, Canada, the USA, China, Brazil, and Australia). 

Population: India has the second largest population of any country in the world (after China). The population of India is about 1,129,866,000 (as of July, 2007). 

India is divided into 28 states and 7 union territories. 

Flag: The Indian flag has three equal horizontal bars (saffron, white and green) with a blue Dharma Chakra (the wheel of law) in the center. The wheel has 24 spokes, representing the 24 hours in a day (at the end of each spoke is a dark blue half-moon). 

Climate: India's climate ranges from tropical monsoon (in the south) to temperate (in the north). 

Major Rivers: The major rivers in India are the Ganges (with its tributaries Yamuna, Gomti, and Chambal), Bramhaputra, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri. 

Mountain Ranges: The highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas, is in northern India, bordering Nepal and China. 

Highest Point: The highest point in India is Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,598 m or 28,169 feet tall), in the Himalayas (along the India-Nepal border). Mt. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world (after Mount Everest and K-2). 

Lowest Point: The lowest point in India is the Indian Ocean, at sea level.



Agra - a city in northern India; it is south of New Delhi.
Amritsar - a city in northern India, north of New Delhi.
Bangalore - a city in southern India, north of Tuticorin.
Chennai (Madras) - a city on the southeast coast of India; it is east of Bangalore.
Hyderabad - an Indian city that is north of Bangalore and south of Agra.
Kandla - city on the west coast of India, near Pakistan.
Kolkata (Calcutta) - a city on the east coast of India, near Bangladesh.
Mumbai (Bombay) - a city on the west coast of India.
New Delhi - the capital city of India; it is in northern India.
Tuticorin - a city in southern India.
Himalaya Mountains - a chain of very tall mountains to the north of India.
Arabian Sea - a sea to the west of India.

Bay of Bengal - the Bay on the east coast of India.
Ganges River - the largest river in India; it flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.
Indian Ocean - the ocean to the south of India.
Afghanistan - a country northwest of Pakistan.
Bangladesh - a country that borders India to the east; it is south of the eastern portion of India.
Bhutan - a small country that borders India to the north; Bhutan is east of Nepal and south of China.
China - a large country that borders India to the north.
Myanmar (Burma) - a country that borders India to the east.
Nepal - a country that borders India to the north; Nepal is west of Bhutan and south of China.
Pakistan - a country that borders India to the northwest.
Sri Lanka - an island country off the southeast coast of India.



Learn the following from the assorted resources listed in the outline

1. What is the capital of India? ______________________________________ 

2. What is the name of the river that flows near this capital city? _____________________ 

3. What ocean borders India to the south? _____________________ 

4. What is the name of the bay to the east of India? _____________________ 

5. What is the name of the sea to the northwest of India? _____________________ 

6. What is the name of the island country located off India's southeastern coast? _____________________ 

7. What country borders India on the northwest? _____________________ 

8. What is the name of the chain of mountains located along the north of India? _____________________ 

9. If you wanted to travel from Kolkata to Bangalore, in which direction would you head? _____________________ 

10. If you were to travel from Mumbai to Hyderabad, roughly how many miles would you have to go: 4 miles, 40 miles, 400 miles, 4,000 miles, or 40,000 miles? 


India Flag work sheet

Find blank flag and color and label More info on Indian flags and its transformation over the period of time

India's flag was adopted on July 22, 1947, after India became independent from Great Britain. The flag was based upon the design of the flag of the Indian National Congress. 

The Indian flag has three equal horizontal bars (saffron, white and green) with a blue Dharma Chakra (the wheel of law) in the center. The wheel has 24 spokes, representing the 24 hours in a day (at the end of each spoke is a dark blue half-moon). The orange (deep saffron) symbolizes courage and sacrifice (saffron is the sacred color of Hinduism). The white stands for peace, unity and truth. The green stands for fertility (although it originally symbolized Islam). The blue symbolizes the sky and the ocean. The height of this flag is two-thirds the width.

1. What colors are in India's flag? ____________________________ 

2. When was this flag adopted? ____________________________ 

3. How many spokes does the wheel have? ____________________________ 

4. What does the white in this flag stand for? ____________________________ 


Learn about Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was a leader in India's successful, non-violent struggle for Independence from Great Britain. Gandhi is often referred to as Mahatma, which means "Great Soul." 

Gandhi's Early Life
Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India, on October 2, 1869. His father was an influential local leader (he was the Dewan of Porbandar). As was customary at the time, Gandhi was married at age 13; his wife's name was Kasturba. Gandhi's father died when Gandhi was only 16 years old. In 1888, Gandhi's first child (the first of four sons) was born, and he soon sailed to London, England, to continue his legal education. 

Gandhi became a lawyer and returned to India in 1891, a few months after his mother died; he was 21 years old. After unsuccessfully trying to practice law in India, he moved to Natal, South Africa, to work at a law firm in 1893. 

Gandhi Moves to South Africa
In South Africa, Gandhi was faced with devastating racism against Indians. He and other Indians were barred from first class railroad cars in the presence of whites, barred from many hotels, beaten, and often mistreated. He used the law to fight against terrible injustices to local Indians. He also began to formulate a method for fighting political injustice in a non-violent manner, using boycotts, non-cooperation, the writing of letters and pamphlets, and passive resistance. Gandhi called these ideas Satyagraha, which means "insistence on truth." After more than seven years of pressure from Gandhi and his supporters, the South African government gave in to some compromises. 

Gandhi returns to India
In 1914, after his success in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India; his temporary job had turned into a 20-year campaign for human dignity. At 45 years old, Gandhi entered Indian politics in the quest for Indian Independence. He continued his use of non-violent methods in order to force the British government to loosen their control of India. Gandhi organized the boycott of British goods, led peaceful marches, fasted, and urged the mass defiance of many unfair British laws. Gandhi was jailed by the British in 1922 for his civil disobedience; he was sentenced to six years, but was released after two years. During Gandhi's imprisonment, Jawaharlal Nehru led the Independence movement. 

   An Independent India

On August 15, 1947 India became an independent country; it had been a British colony since 1857. The fighting worsened, and India split into two countries in 1948, India (mostly Hindu) and Pakistan, East and West (mostly Muslim) -- East Pakistan is now a separate country called Bangladesh. Gandhi was against the partition of India and very upset at the violence between the two religious groups. He fasted in protest of the widespread violence between Hindus and Muslims; it helped somewhat, shaming both sides, but the conflict continues to this day. Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India. Although Gandhi wanted India to retain its traditional village economy, Prime Minister Nehru disagreed with Gandhi on this topic, and began the modernization of India, building factories, railroads, and modern roads. Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. This great man has influenced many generations of people; Martin Luther King, Jr. used Gandhi's methods of non-violent protest to affect social change in the USA