California Out of the Box: An Interdisciplinary History Curriculum takes a unit study approach to the study of California history, incorporating geography, science, language arts, and critical thinking. While the curriculum covers the California State Standards for fourth grade (up through the 1930s) it can be used with grades three through six.
A parent or teacher will present the course from this 301-page book along with eight additional required books. Stories from Where We Live: California Coast and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to California are both used throughout the study. The other six books used in each of the course's six units are Island of the Blue Dolphins, Valley of the Moon: The Diary of Maria Rosalia de Milagros, A Gift for Abuelita, By the Great Horn Spoon!, The Earth Dragon Awakes, and Esperanza Rising.
The historical fiction books serve as the anchors for the study, providing students with context for learning aspects of California history. Like many unit studies, California Out of the Box offers opportunities for lots of hands-on activities, including choices to suit different types of learners.