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State of California - Pottery and History Curriculum Lesson for Homeschooling or Summer Enrichment

Updated on July 12, 2013
notyouraverageal profile image

Mom. Homeschooler. Editor. Wife. These are a few words to describe notyouraverageal. Her life is anything but average.



Let's go on another Pottery Road Trip! This time, we're headed to California. This lesson is a great way to teach your child some fun facts about the state. You can use the lesson as-is, or you can use it as a jumping off point. Have your child make a lapbook or write a report about California. Check out a biography of a famous person from California. Make a recipe from the state. There are all kinds of ways to use this lesson. However you use it, just have fun and enjoy learning with your kids.

California State Facts

State Abbreviation: CA

Capital: Sacramento

State Nickname: The Golden State

State Motto: “Eureka” – I have found it.

State Song: “I love you, California”

State Bird: California Valley Quail

State Reptile: Desert Tortoise

State Flower: California Poppy

State Mammal: Grizzly Bear

State Mineral: Gold

As you can imagine, many famous people were born in a California.

Some Famous People from California:

Marilyn Monroe, actress

Shirley Temple, actress and singer

Julia Child, famous chef

Zac Efron, actor

Joe DiMaggio, baseball player

Jack London, author

Walt Disney, creator of Mickey Mouse

George Lucas, creator of Star Wars

Sally Ride, first American female astronaut in space

Fun Facts:

The California gold rush began in 1848 and lasted until 1855. About 300,000 people went to California in search of gold.

Three out of the ten largest cities in America are in California. These include Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose.

Fortune cookies were created in California.

The Barbie doll was made in California.

Blue jeans were created in California.

The world’s tallest tree is the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.

In honor of California, we are going to make a tree. For this, you will need a rolling pin and a piece of canvas or cloth to cover your table. The cloth will keep the clay from sticking to your table.

Start by rolling out the clay. This is called making a slab of clay.


Roll out the clay to be large enough to cut out a hand and part of the arm for a tree trunk.


Place your child's hand (which will look much cuter than my old wrinkled hand) on the clay and cut out the shape of the hand and part of the arm to be the tree


After the hand is cut out, wet the edges of the clay so they won't be sharp when they dry. Smooth them with your finger.


Place the hand part on another piece of clay and cut out a "tree" shape for the leaves. Notice how I bent the fingers to make them look more like a tree.

If you aren't sure how to connect two pieces of clay properly, visit my hubpage, "How to Use Real Clay."
If you aren't sure how to connect two pieces of clay properly, visit my hubpage, "How to Use Real Clay." | Source

Use the stick or a pencil to draw bark on the tree, leaves, etc.


And there you have it....A beautiful tree!



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    • notyouraverageal profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks! Throwing is my favorite way to work with clay, but hand building is much easier to teach kids. I love hand prints, so I'll take any chance to use them!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Interesting and unusual. I visited an amazing village in Japan noted for Mashiko pottery which was amazing.

      I also took pottery classes in college and learned to 'throw' awesome that was.

      This is a clever little way to design a tree.

      Angels are on the way to you ps


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