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United States Government Lapbook, 7th-12th Grades Review by Cindy West

Cyndi Kinney and Judy Trout
Knowledge Box Central
155 Clements Rd.
Plain Dealing, La. 71064

Knowledge Box Central is an awesome company for lapbooking units. I have used lapbooks with my children for many years, but I didn't realize they could be appropriate for students as old as middle and high school. The United States Government Lapbook, geared for 7th-12th graders, has proven to me that lapbooking isn't just for the younger crowd!

What is lapbooking? In a nutshell, it's a unit study in which information that is learned is presented in the form of mini-books or mini-projects that are contained neatly and pleasantly in file folders. Lapbooking incorporates lots of research and writing, as well as information about the history, science, or other topic that is being studied.

Knowledge Box Central lapbooks provide all the mini-book templates you need, as well as wonderful directions and photographs showing you how to place the mini-books into the folders. You supply the folders and glue, as well as things like colored pencils, markers, staplers, and tape. The unit I reviewed was a PDF e-book, so I also needed a printer and paper in order to print the mini-book templates. Since most of the templates are in black and white, it's suggested that you print on colored paper or card stock, but this isn't absolutely necessary.

In this lapbooking unit, your middle school and high school students create 22 booklets covering such things as branches of government, the Constitution, the Capital, how laws are made, and elections. In-depth background information is provided that can be used for finding answers to the lapbooking questions. All the information you need to complete the mini-books is supplied, although you are welcome to supplement the information with your own literature.

Clear activity directions are given for each booklet, including information on how to assemble the mini-books. An answer key for all activities is provided as well. In 86 pages, you pretty much have a self-contained, complete unit study on U.S. Government. If you consider all the language arts skills (research, writing, and vocabulary) that are incorporated, you can't beat the price at less than $16.00.

I used this unit with a 7th grader and found it to be the perfect amount of information. The activity expectations were very reasonable, too. Quite honestly, I would probably expect my upper high school students to do more than the writing involved within the lapbook. However, the information is excellent and something that every American child and adult needs to know and understand.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2009