Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rr Rock

Today we finished our Rr Rock unit, and I've never been so relieved to be done with anything in my entire life! This was, by far, the hardest unit we've done yet.

If you're familiar with My Father's World, you know that people who use it rely very heavily on their public libraries for books. You also know that public libraries typically aren't known for having creation-based science books. See where this is going? Sometimes I don't mind having a little evolutionary content thrown in there to teach the girls the need to evaluate their resources against God's Word (e.g., "Oops, did you hear how that author said 'millions of years?' I don't think that's what God's Word teaches.") But when every paragraph of every page mentions it, it kinda makes a girl feel defeated!

As a result of this dilemma, I spent a lot of time on the internet checking out science curricula this week. I emailed Jeannie Fulbright (Apologia Young Explorers author) and asked her if she had plans to write a geology textbook anytime soon, but she said no. Then I went back and forth between the CBD web site and the Answers in Genesis website checking out the God's Design for Science series. Finally, after some very encouraging comments from the ladies on the MFW message board, I decided just to stick with what we're doing. This is the first unit that has left me feeling so insecure, and maybe geology will be addressed in future years.

So what did we end up doing this week? Well, for starters, we talked very briefly about how some people believe that the earth is really, really, REALLY old, even though the Bible makes it pretty clear that that's not true. (Hannah has no concept of "thousands" or "millions" yet, so there was really no use in going there. Anything beyond 100 gets classified as "a lot" in her mind!) I told her that some people believe the rocks in the earth couldn't look like they do if the earth wasn't so old, but God tells us something different. God tells us about an event that could have easily caused what we see today: Noah's flood. We talked very briefly about the impact that the great flood could have had on the earth, focusing primarily on the layers we see in rocks and how the sediment that was stirred up in the flood could have made those layers as it settled. We also talked about the three different types of rocks (igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary) and spent a good bit of our week learning about volcanoes.

We had lots of activities in our rock unit. The first one was to go around our neighborhood and collect rocks. We tried to find a good variety: different colors, some that sparkled, some that were smooth, some that were coarse, etc. When we came back home, we cleaned our rocks so we could get a better look at them. Millie volunteered to do that job; anything that has to do with water has her immediate interest!

We also made a volcano from Play-Doh. This was the first time the girls have ever done this, and they loved it! Here's a picture of Hannah forming the volcano...

...and here's a video of it "erupting":

For our final activity, I had Hannah fill a container with water, then place two rocks—one huge rock and one pumice stone—in the water to see if they would float. Her hypothesis (or "hypopesis," as she calls it) was that they would not float because they were rocks. She was surprised to see that the pumice stone floated.

I asked her why she thought that happened, and she said it was because it was the smaller of the two rocks. Not exactly the answer I was looking for! So I grabbed another rock—this time a tiny one—and asked her to put it in the water with the pumice stone. Her hypothesis was that the little rock would float since it was the smaller of the two and the pumice stone would sink because it was the larger of the two. (Yes, she had just seen it float two seconds earlier.) She was shocked when the larger rock—the pumice stone—floated and the tiny rock sank!

I asked her to look once again at the pumice stone, very closely this time, and see if she could tell me why it floated. Finally, she noticed the little holes in it. I told her that this type of rock comes from a volcano; and those little holes are actually air bubbles that got trapped in it as it cooled and hardened, making the rock very light so it can float. This, to me, was the highlight of the whole unit!

Our special words for the unit were, "I listen and obey; I build my life on the Rock."

We looked in Matthew and read the story of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand, and we sang "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock" and "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand." This unit did have some good moments, but I'm still so glad to be done with it!

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