In history this week, we saw our country continue to expand westward as pioneers took one of three trails to areas that were just beginning to be developed. All three trails left from Independence, MO, but they led to different parts of the country. The Santa Fe Trail led people in a southwest direction to Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Oregon Trail led people in a northwest direction to the border of Oregon and Washington; and the California Trail led people in a westward direction to Sacramento, California.
We also learned that California acquired its statehood in 1850.
Even though it's on the west coast, we weren't surprised to see California added next because so many people had rushed there to seek their fortune in the Gold Rush of 1849. It was interesting to see how many things in California refer to the Gold Rush: their professional football team is the San Francisco 49ers; their state flower is the Golden Poppy; their state nickname is the Golden State; and of course there's the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (We were really surprised to learn that this is actually red rather than gold!)
Because we looked at the Golden Gate Bridge, we spent some time looking at the construction of bridges. First we made our own suspension bridge model.
All of our toy cars are in the attic right now, but our suspension bridge was able to hold the weight of a frog and a dinosaur! :) We made a mock earthquake by shaking the bottles of lemon juice, and our frog and dinosaur stayed in place as the bridge swayed. Then we scooted the lemon juice bottles closer together and held the ends of the bridge against them. This time when our "earthquake" struck, the frog and dinosaur immediately fell off. It was a neat way to see that a suspension bridge is a great idea in a place like California where earthquakes are common.
Next we looked at bridge construction in general. I gave Hannah two boxes, a piece of paper, and a quarter, and told her that her job was to design a bridge (paper) that could connect the two pieces of land (boxes) while holding weight (quarter).
For her first attempt, she didn't do anything to the paper except put it across the boxes, but she found that it wasn't able to hold any weight this way.
For her second attempt, she realized she needed to do something to make the bridge stronger, so she folded the paper into quarters. This design was the second strongest of all: It held a total of 24 quarters before collapsing.
Next she decided to see what would happen if she only folded the paper in half instead of quarters. The bridge didn't have as much support, and it only held 6 quarters before collapsing.
Next we rolled our paper to see what kind of bridge that would make. Turns out, not a very good one! Because of the rounded surface, we couldn't even get one quarter to stay on it!
We tried making a fanfold bridge to see what kind of support it would offer. It held 6 quarters, then bent in the middle and fell to the ground.
And finally we made our winning design, which was to open up the fanfold bridge and use it like an accordion fold. We had to raid the coin stash several times before we finally made this bridge collapse. It ended up holding a total of 36 quarters and 134 nickels! And it was still standing until I accidentally bumped it and sent it crashing down! (If we had designed an accordion fold suspension bridge, maybe that wouldn't have happened!) ;)
|All those coins and still not much sign of buckling!|
|Finally crashed! But look at all those coins!!|
In Bible this week, we focused on Jesus as a Servant. We just started doing Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson in the evenings, and it was interesting how the two overlapped. One of the questions in our family time was, "If you were a peasant and a king suddenly decided to make you a princess, would you begin to treat people differently than you do now?" Hannah—bless her honest heart—said, "Yeah. Honestly, I would. I would want to be served." Sounds like there's lots of room for growth as we go through our suffering servant lessons! ;)
In science, we took a look at solids, liquids, and gases. We learned that we could mix baking soda (solid) with an acid like vinegar (liquid), and together they would release carbon dioxide (gas).
|Our baking soda was inside the balloon, so we just dumped it into the vinegar.|
|We could "see" the gas being released because it filled up our balloon. The results were much more impressive than we expected to see!|
And finally, we discovered that baking soda doesn't have to be mixed with an acid to release a gas. If it's just heated up it will release some gas, which is what happens when you bake a cake. Greg's birthday just happened to be this week, so we looked at a piece of his birthday cake and found the tiny bubbles where gas was released from the baking soda during the baking process. Then we added some baking soda to hot water to see the bubbles for ourselves.
|They're tiny, but they're definitely there!|
To see what other My Father's World families did this week, visit Kathi's Weekly Homeschool Highlights at A Heart Like Water.