Robinson Crusoe / Swiss Family Robinson Unit Study
Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children by Daniel Defoe (1659/1661-1731). Adapted by James Baldwin (1841-1925).
Adaptation of the story of Robinson Crusoe for grammar school children. Tells how the shipwrecked sailor makes a new life for himself on the island, providing shelter, food, and clothing for himself from the few tools he rescued from the ship and what he is able to find on the island. He lives on the island over twenty years before he is finally rescued and during that time must re-invent almost everything necessary for daily sustenance. (Summary from The Baldwin Project.)
Robinson Crusoe E-Books
If you prefer to snuggle up and read alound for the day and don’t already have a copy of this adventure story, here’s some free ebook versions of Robinson Crusoe for you:
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808 version) – Kindle Version (free from Amazon.com)
Robinson Crusoe: Edited from Original Writings (1866 version) – Downloadable scanned book from Google Books
Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children by James Baldwin – Downloadable scanned original book with wonderful little pictures and easy to read typsetting (via Google Books)
Hands On Activities
Crayola Island Adventure - instructions to build an island using setting from the book
Island Survival: Students pretend to be on a deserted island and have to learn survival
Highlight this sentence to find the Answer: Tobago is the island where the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, is thought to have landed. Take a virtual tour of the island here.
Other popular opinion places Selkirk’s landing site here in Chile. There are many beautiful photos of this site.
more great resources are located at Pocketfullofdinos.com
Make a Map: On Crusoe's tours of the island, both by land and by foot, he gives clear descriptions of what he sees. Turn these descriptions into a map, looking down at the island from a bird's eye view. Work with a partner and then display your maps along with the others from the class. Discuss why the maps may be similar or different on certain feature
Deep Space Sparkle has a wonderful Cartography lesson here.
formal teacher lesson plans, here’s a free one from the Colorado Unit Writing Project called Robsinson Crusoe: The Original Survivor. It includes 8 lessons, vocabulary words, activities, and writing assignments. It’s geared for 4th grade, but could easily be adapted for multiple ages or up or down based on your students.
For the teacher to have a solid biographical background information here is another set of lesson plans: also included is vocabulary
1. Keep a journal like Robinson Crusoe's for at least a week. Try to use it to do the kind of thinking Crusoe believed was important in his journal. You will want to describe major events, but include your analysis of why they were important and how you reacted to them as well. Remember that Crusoe's goal was to reflect upon his emotions and ideas.
2. Imagine that Friday learns how to read and write English when he returns to England with Crusoe. A publisher asks him to write his account of the events on the island, paying particular attention to his feelings for Crusoe and his home. Take on the voice of Friday and write this narrative. Be sure your writing shows that you understand not only what happened to Friday but also how he seemed to react to these events.
3. By comparing and contrasting Crusoe's treatment of Xury and Friday discuss whether Crusoe has changed by the end of the novel. Include in your analysis the promises he makes to both men, how he affects their futures, and the amount of respect he gives each one. Practice organizing your ideas clearly so that you avoid just retelling the plot.
4. Daniel Defoe was a very religious man. Discuss how this can be seen in his novel by analyzing Crusoe's changing religious beliefs and attitudes towards God. Include an explanation of what you think is the most important scene that develops this theme.
...more suggestions listed here
There's a complete Swiss Family Robinson Unit Study located at Homeschool Helper Online:
these are the topics we chose to explore:
Learn About Sugar Cane
There are penguins and flamingos on the island. Try to figure out where the island is. As you continue to read the book and encounter more animals, you can narrow the location down even further, or determine if the place is entirely fictional. You could use a blank world map. Plot the different animals on the map using symbols or shading and a legend.
They find many useful plants. Find out what kinds of useful plants there are in your area. Try to find some of these and use them.
Vocabulary to Discover and Define
1. Anguish – deep sadness
2. Captivity – being held against one’s wishes
3. Salvation – the act of being saved from something
4. Fortress – place of safety
5. Mainland – large piece of land located away from the island
6. Cowardice – being afraid; cowardly