Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wilderness Survival and the Compass

I just love how creative the girls are. They are inspired by so many things in their play. Yesterday the girls played the Expedition Game from National Geographic. Afterwards they packed up some backpacks, made a passport like in the game, drew some maps, thought up some missions, and went on an expedition. They even created a cave using a blanket.

Today they watched the movie Bear With Me, one they've watched before and loved. Right now they packed up their backpacks again. They wrote a list of wilderness survival needs. They packed some bandages for first aid, a snack, compasses, etc. We talked about the compass and different ways to use it. We have one packed in our hiking backpack, but we use the GPS receiver instead. We'll have to use our compass now and then I think, so that we can be prepared. It's a surveyor's compass and I'm not sure how to use the extra parts. Something I think we'll be learning soon! We also talked about how to make our own compass if needed. We're going to try this later. Compasses also led us to a discussion about magnetic north versus true north.

Now I'm off to do some research....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Studies

We read some books from the library:

Thanksgiving Poems by Myra Cohn Livingston
Thanksgiving by Natalie M. Rosinsky
The Wampanoag Indians by Bill Lund
Massasoit, Friend of the Pilgrims by Virginia Voight (This is a biography that we started but have not yet finished.)

We still have some more to read another day.

We visited Scholastic's site on The First Thanksgiving. This is a great site!

At National Geographic, Georgia made a Thanksgiving themed Mad Lib, read about the first Thanksgiving, and of Thanksgiving traditions, and had fun with the Cartoon Factory Fill-In.

We also watched a neat video of an "exploding pumpkin." Not exactly Thanksgiving, but fun anyway!

And we played some Thanksgiving themed games at, such as Turkey Flibriks, and Thanksgiving Feast.

We still have lots more sites to check out another day!

Geography Awareness Week Day One

November 16-22, 2008 is Geography Awareness Week, as promoted by My Wonderful World.

Monday's topic is Human Geography and Culture.

Here's what we did:

We listened to music from around the world. We listened to traditional Irish, Arabic, Chinese, Aboriginal, Mexican, Moroccan, Egyptian, and Mongolian.

We even choreographed some dances with the help of Grover from Sesame Street. In the activity Global Grover Grooves we saw him dance on stilts as in Carnival from Trinidad, do a chinese acrobatic routine, perform the Mongolian Bowl Dance, and a Russian Cossack kick-dance.

We learned some folk games from around the world.

We learned some greetings from around the world. We used the site Say Hello to the World, as well as a library book titled Greetings of the World by Dwayne E. Pickels.

We learned about foods and ethnic cuisine from around the world. The girls played the game Mix & Mash at Disney's Pass the Plate site.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This weekend...

We are all trying to rest up and feel better. This weekend we stayed home as much as we could. We were excited to see snow! But it melted as it hit the ground and eventually switched back to rain.

Georgia and I played a few games of Scrabble this weekend. She used her American Heritage Student Dictionary to look up the words I used that she didn't know.

Olivia looked in her insect book to learn more about her little insect toys.

And she played Boggle Jr a few times. She challenged herself this time. She spelled the word on the card with the cubes, then took the cubes off, covered the word and spelled it on her own.

And she baked some oatmeal raisin cookies with Dad. They were yummy!

Olivia is cracking the eggs.

Georgia watched some episodes on the Discovery Channel about the Iditarod. She is excited to watch some of next years' race, only 110 more days. She can keep updated here. She also watched the Survivorman show a few times. She loves that show.

Olivia played on Starfall. This site is great for young kids learning to read!

Georgia pretended to have her own horse stables. We printed out some pretend checks here. She learned about the parts of a check, and how to fill out a check ledger for keeping a balance. She wants to fill in deposits from her "paycheck", and debits from her "bills" as she manages her horse stables.

Livy's Nature Class ~Bears~

Thursday Olivia went to her nature class and learned about bears. Each child was asked ahead of time to bring in their favorite teddybear. Olivia brought in her polar bear named Snowflake. The naturalist was excited that she brought it in because it was the most realistic looking bear. She asked Olivia to come up and talk about it.

The kids learned about different types of bears, but mostly about the black bear since that is what is found in our state. They got to feel real fur and look at a skull from a black bear. They looked at hind and front pawprints on cards and measured them to their own feet and hands.
The kids went outside to play a bear game. They were each handed a basket to hold which would be the bear's stomach. And they stood in hula hoops which acted as their dens.
When the naturalist said "go" the kids ran to collect as much food in their baskets as they could before they heard "Snow!" Then they all had to run back to their dens. They did this a few times. The kids really enjoyed it.

Next, they went back inside to do an activity to learn about how a bear's fat layer keeps them warm. They each were given a bag of fat. (shortening) They put a bare hand in ice water, and then a hand wrapped with the fat. They could feel the difference in temperature.

Lastly, the kids fingerpainted a picture of a bear.
Olivia had a great time!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BrainPop Day

Georgia has been sniffley and icky feeling. She wanted to learn about sick "bugs". That's how it started off. She watched a BrainPop video about viruses, then she kept on going, watching more and more.
Here's a list of all the videos she watched yesterday.
  • Immune System
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Boogers
  • West Nile Virus
  • Lyme's Disease
  • Puberty
  • Period
  • Fetal Development
  • Aging
  • Acne
  • Growth
  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Anthrax
  • AIDS
  • Allergies
  • ADHD
  • Alzheimers Disease
  • Alcohol
  • Addiction
  • Blood
  • Blood Types
  • Invertabrates
  • Cnidarians
  • Vertebrates
  • Heat
  • Binary
  • Internet
  • Internet Search
  • Printers
  • Computer History
  • Computer Mouse
  • Data Storage Devices
  • CDs
  • Cameras
  • Film Making
  • Traditional Animation
  • Digital Animation
  • Graphic Design
  • Drawing
  • Sketching
  • Cubism
  • Impressionism
  • Surrealism
  • Light
  • Color
  • Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Electricity
  • Current Electricity
  • Batteries
  • Energy Sources
that's what we managed to write down anyway....

Ancient Civilizations

Georgia has been reading about ancient civilizations. She read the book Lugalbanda, an ancient Sumarian legend that predates Gilgamesh.

She saw her monogram in cuneiform here.

And she checked out some ancient inventions.

She also checked out what might possibly be the world's first city at the Mysteries of Çatalhöyük children's site.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pottery Painting

The pottery pieces the girls made a month ago have now been dried and fired in the kiln. They were able to apply some under glaze to their pieces.

The pieces will need fired and glazed and then they will be able to pick them up!

Veterans Day

Today we talked about Veterans Day, its history, meaning, and how its celebrated.

The girls watched a PBS children's show about Veterans Day.

We also read the book Veterans Day by Mir Tamim Ansary.
Georgia then spelled some related words, such as veteran, holiday, celebrate, and salute, in Spelling Bee style.

And we talked about the veterans in our family.

Thank YOU!!

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Last week...

Last week we enjoyed some nice days at the park, enjoying the beautiful colors of autumn.

Georgia discovered a horse game called Howrse.

They each worked in some workbooks.

Georgia captured two spiders. She watched one make a web in the jar, and watched the other eat a bug that she put in the jar.

The girls went to gymnastics class on Tuesday.

They enjoyed a few games of Monopoly and Monopoly Jr. Olivia was the banker a few times, and she used addition to find money totals.

We went to the library and borrowed books on Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, The Wampanoag, ancient civilizations, ancient medicine, persian mythology, Gilgamesh, Lugalbanda, and some story books, as well.

Saturday, Georgia went to her nature class where they went on a fall hike and learned about seasonal changes, and learned some new organisms, such as "monkey brain" (or horse apple).

She also went to a pool party Saturday night and said she had a great time playing pool games with her friends.

Sunday we went to see the new movie "Madagascar Return 2 Africa" and loved it!

And here's a slideshow from our Boonshoft visit...

Balloon Fun

The recent trip to Chemfest has inspired us to play with balloons! The girls have been blowing them up and letting them fly around, or using them to make funny noises by stretching the opening while letting the air out.

They also taped balloons to matchbox cars, blew up the balloons, and let them go. The air from the balloons pushed the car. They loved it.

We also used the chemical reaction of vinegar and baking soda to blow up a balloon. We poured some vinegar in an empty bottle. Then we put baking soda inside the balloon with a funnel.

Then we stretched the balloon over the opening of the bottle with the vinegar.

Then we tipped the balloon up to let the baking soda fall into the bottle.

Then we had a balloon filled with carbon dioxide.

Here's another one we want to try:

and another:

and some found at the Science is Fun Home Experiments site.


November 1 we went to Chemfest at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. The girls participated in activities and experiments in honor of National Chemistry Week.

Here's what they did:

Learned about UV beads and how they change color in the sun. Discussed the importance of using sunblock when outdoors. Made bead bracelets with some UV beads to help remember to use sunblock.

Figured out how to find the calorie count in food, and what it stands for. They figured out the calorie count in a cheese puff.

Figuring how many calories are burned during various activities. The girls used math the figure out how many calories they burn during their gymnastics classes.

The effect of temperature on bouncy balls. They measured the bounce height of a ball that was soaked in hot water, room temperature, and ice cold water. They made their predictions first, then conducted the experiment, and discussed the conclusion.

Experimented with water evaporation and temperature. They put equal amounts of water on identical cloths and placed the cloths on top of bags of water, one hot and one room temperature. They got to see how the hot water evaporated the water from the cloth faster.

The girls learned about surface tension with needles and water.

The girls made some filters using sand, pebbles, and cotton, and tried cleaning dirty water by using their filters.

The girls learned about density with oil, water, and corn syrup.

They made their own bouncy balls using glue, a borax solution, and corn starch.

They learned about lung capacity, and measured the size of a bubble made with one breath of air, and using a math formula, figured out how much air their lungs held. Then they learned some simple stretches they can use to strengthen their lungs and improve breathing.

They learned about electrolytes and tested samples of various liquids to see which ones contained electrolytes.

I think that was all of them. At the end they received this years copy of the chemistry week newspaper, you can read it here. They also received a balloon and a list of activities and experiments that they could do at home.
Here's a slideshow of our visit.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Haunted Woods

On Friday, Halloween, we attended a Haunted Woods event at Brukner Nature Center. It was our first visit to this nature center and we really liked it. The girls had fun checking out the exhibits, playing games, getting their face painted, and then we went for the Haunted Woods walk. We stopped at six stations along the path in the woods. The first stop was a pirate talking about the American Crow. The second stop was a mad scientist talking about making a creature by mixing DNA from other creatures...she made an opossum. The third stop was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle talking about turtles. The fourth stop was a vampire talking about bats. The fifth stop was a witch making snake stew, talking about snakes. And the sixth and final stop was Meredith Vieira with a new game show, "Who Wants to Be a Naturalist". She asked the kids questions about the animals they learned about on the walk. There was an owl at this stop. Each stop had a live animal, and the presenters were really good at imitating the character they were being. After the walk we had a snack and sat at the bonfire listening to some scary stories!

The girls also had a chance to look at Jupiter through a telescope.

We all had a lot of fun, and now that we know how to get to the other nature center we plan on visiting again.

Here's a slideshow of our trip...