Henry’s HatSM is organized around a simple, “Henry as…” topic structure. Lessons cover a wide range of subjects, tied to Thoreau’s writing, vocations, and practices. In each topic area, engaging lessons and extensions are presented for you to incorporate in classroom instruction and your delivery of curriculum materials.
Henry as…Author (English Language Arts)
Henry is best-known for his important contribution as an American Author. Here is a variety of lessons focused on developing writing skills.
- Field Notes
- Metaphor and Simile
- Lecture at the Lyceum (verbal communication)
- Thoreau-ly Punny (puns)
- String journals
- Information, please! (informative writing)
- Dear Henry (letter writing)
- Seven drafts (revision)
Henry as…Scientist/Naturalist (Science)
At the root of it all, Henry was a keen observer of the natural world. He was one of the earliest “citizen scientists,” as someone who, while not paid to be a scientist, contributed significantly to what we know about the natural world.
- What’s In a Name? (classification of living things)
- Watching Weather
- State of Ice
- Knowing Beans (investigating plant growth)
- Sounds of the Season (identifying patterns and music in nature)
- Tracks and Traces (animal tracking)
- Did You See That? (close observation skills)
Henry as…Innovator (Technology/Engineering)
Did you know that Henry was a clever technologist? He introduced graded pencils to America! Discover approaches to teaching technology and engineering through Henry’s own work. The Technology and Engineering lessons often draw from other areas, such as science and math.
- Making the Grade (improving on an everyday object)
- Design a Multi-function Hat
- Build a Cabin
- Design a Habitat
Henry as…Mathematician (Math)
When we observe and record nature, we can’t help but think mathematically. Students are encouraged to apply mathematics to their observations in these lessons.
- How Big is That? (measurement and units)
- Measuring Plant Parts
- That’s Approximately… (estimating)
- Rods and Chains (units and conversion)
- Step and Repeat (finding and analyzing patterns)
- The Cost of Thoreau’s Cabin Today
Henry as…Citizen (Social studies and social-emotional learning)
Thoreau’s legacy in part are his philosophies regarding how we conduct ourselves with our neighbors and the choices we make in our lives. Explore the human side of Thoreau with your students.
- Think Before You Buy
- Simplify! Simplify! What do you need to live?
- On the outskirts (social justice for minority communities)
- Map your Home Place!
- Doing the Write Thing
Henry as…Artist (Creativity and the Arts)
While Thoreau’s drawings will likely never appear in an art museum, he employed creativity in his words and innovation and held the belief that all Nature is art to behold. While art is used in lessons throughout the unit, here are some that focus on the creative inspiration from Thoreau.
- Art of Nature Poster Project (this project is offered by the Walden Woods Project as a stand-alone, and can be done with other Henry’s HatSM lessons)
- Different Drummer