Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ii Insect

Today, with the help of The Magic School Bus: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs, we finished our Ii Insect unit. I would imagine that most little girls probably look forward to the Hh Horse unit or the Bb Butterfly unit—maybe even the Jj Jewel unit—but Hannah has been counting down the days until we could finally study BUGS!

Our curriculum is pretty orderly in the way information is presented, but Hannah was so eager to dive in that it all got jumbled this week. I did start off the unit by reading some non-fiction books about insects to the kids, and we learned that there is actually a difference between bugs and insects. "Bugs" is basically a generic term that includes insects, spiders, beetles, and other miscellaneous critters that I can't think of right now. "Insects," however, is a specific term for those bugs that meet the following criteria: They all have an exoskeleton to protect their bodies from enemies and the elements, they all have three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), they all have three pair of jointed legs on their thorax, most have a pair of wings on their thorax, and most have two antennae on their head. After our reading time together, I pretty much just sat back and let The Magic School Bus do its thing. The DVD had three episodes: one about how bees make honey, one about how each ant in the colony has a special job, and one about a caterpillar's metamorphosis into a butterfly.

We were supposed to set up an ant farm as part of our unit, but that only happens to responsible moms who send off for the ants more than one week in advance, so we'll have to come back and do our ant farm whenever our ants arrive. Our curriculum also suggested that we make an insect trap and even offered instructions on how to "build" one, but we chose to skip this activity because we already have a huge assortment of filled bug keepers randomly placed throughout our yard and garage.

One idea that did work for us—or, um, at least me—was to let the student try some honey on the day we studied bees. The authors offered a recipe for a snack, but I thought it would be fun to go to Crazy Jose's instead and eat some sopapillas drenched in honey. (Awful, isn't it, how I'll even use school as an excuse to eat Mexican food?!) When it was all said and done, Hannah was just as psyched about the trip to CJ's as I was, but she was not into the sopapillas at all! You can just imagine how awful it was for Millie and me to have to eat the entire plate of sopapillas by ourselves! Torture, I tell you! Torture, plain and simple!

Our special words this week were "I am a wise child, so I work hard."

We talked about how hard an ant works, and how the work it does is for the good of the entire colony and not just for itself. I tried to explain to Hannah that we don't just need to work hard when it's something that we will benefit from, but that sometimes we need to work hard for the good of our family (such as Mommy cooking and doing laundry or Daddy working to repair our house) or the good of our community (such as collecting food, clothes, and toys for families who are struggling, whether from the hurricane or for some other reason). We looked at several Bible passages about working hard and even read The Little Red Hen, which the kids enjoyed. We also read Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug and learned to tell time to the hour and Leo Lionni's Inch by Inch, after which we got out a ruler and measured some of the kids' favorite toys.

So far Hannah's favorite unit has been Aa Apple. I think it still is, but this was a really, really close second!

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