How to Turn ANYTHING into a Unit Study

You can turn anything into a unit study; anything at all.  It's not that hard once you start to think critically about the subject at hand and get used to thinking outside the box.

My middle son is very passionate about Pokemon and has been for years.  I used to lament the fact that he talked about it non-stop, that he would rush through school to finish and go play with his Pokemon toys and games.

Until the day I sat and thought-- REALLY THOUGHT.

What can he possibly be learning while studying Pokemon?

Here is what I came up with after just a few short minutes:

  1. Reading-  he would read any book he could find on Pokemon; picture books, chapter books, guidebooks, it did not matter.  He was interested in them all.
  2. Through reading the guidebooks he learned alphabetical order (he taught himself!)
  3. Through reading guidebooks and comparing sizes of Pokemon he worked on math.  Not only did he compare the various Pokemon to each other but he also compared them to real- life objects-- length, height, and weight.
  4. He was learning a lot about science, classifying and sorting.  All the Pokemon are sorted by type; grass, fire, water, etc.  He often related those concepts to real life.  For example in Pokemon water types win against fire types "because water puts out fire!"  
  5. Art-- He often drew pictures of the various Pokemon

How Else Could I Possibly Use his Interest In Pokemon to Get him Learning in other areas?

Here is what I came up with:
  • He might want to learn about Japan (the country of origin). Geography
  • He might want to try some Japanese foods and learn about their culture (sociology)
  • He might want to learn about Magna  and how they design Pokemon cartoons (art)
  • We could look into how Pokemon got started (history)
  • He could write his own Pokemon stories (writing)
  • He might want to make stop motion movies using his characters (art)
  • He might want to put together a Pokemon card club (socialization and organizational skills)
  • He might want to make a graph or a chart about the various Pokemon; their strengths, weaknesses, sizes, etc. (math, writing)

In just one afternoon I was able to see how Pokemon could help him with:

Reading and Language arts

That sure sounds like school to me!

Now when I want to make up a unit study I think critically about what subject they're focusing on.

I find books about it for reading.

Think of ways to add creative writing or lists that they can make to help them better understand it for language arts.

I think about each school subject- science, math, history, geography, etc and look for ways that I can link them back to the subject of our study.

It's often a lot easier than I think and with the help of Pinterest and Google I have found that I can turn just about ANYTHING into a unit study.


  1. My boys still love Pokemon. In fact, my oldest son taught himself to add and subtract in kindergarten with another set of trading cards (Yu Gi Oh). There is a tons of math that can be done with Pokemon. Commonly, you have to subtract damage, and sometimes you have to multiply (when coins are flipped). My boys have been trying to learn Japanese so they can watch Pokemon and other shows (and play the games) in the original language. Great suggestions, mom! You know what you are doing!


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