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Cotton's Journey--A Field Trip in a Box Review by Heidi Strawser

The Alaca Company
PO Box 55
Tranquillity, CA 93668

Cotton's Journey--A Field Trip in a Box contains everything you need to do a week-long unit study on cotton. This kit includes a 152-page Teacher's Guide with separate lessons written for grades 1-3, 4-6, and 7-8, meeting National Education Standards in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Also included in the kit are cotton bolls of Pima and Upland varieties, samples of cotton in various stages, seeds for planting, cottonseed oil, a colorful poster showing the growth stages of cotton, a student booklet (with fun activities, songs, and pictures to color), a fabric dictionary sheet, production flow chart, and a 23-minute video. All of the above is packaged in a sturdy cardboard storage box.

This kit is not designed specifically for homeschoolers, but it would certainly be easily adaptable to a homeschool setting. I think it would make a great addition to a study on the U.S. textile industry. Also, it would be great to use in a group setting, such as a co-op. Because the Teacher's Guide is designed for such a wide age range, it would be a good fit for a homeschooling family that is teaching several different ages or grade levels together. By assigning a bit more research assigned, you could even adapt it to meet the needs of high school students.

I am impressed that everything I could possible need for this study is included. We could do this study with very little preparation on my part, which is impressive to multitasking homeschool mothers who don't have a lot of extra time. All the components of the kit are also available for re-order, in various quantities, making the kit reusable for years to come.

If you or your children are interested in cotton, or if this study would fit into a larger study you may be working on, then I would definitely recommend the purchase of Cotton's Journey. Take your kids on an educational field trip without leaving home!

Product review by Heidi Strawser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2007