Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Show & Tell: Adventures Weeks 28 & 29

All right, sweet bloggy friends ... if this post actually gets published, it'll be a miracle indeed because not only am I putting two weekly wrap-ups in one post (which for some odd reason is amazingly difficult for me) but also I'm planning to publish it with today's date rather than changing the date to "put it where it's supposed to be chronologically," thereby satisfying my OCD.  It's all about baby steps.  (And who knew when I started blogging three years ago that it would end up being therapy?!)  ;)

In history, we learned about Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and slavery in Week 28.  Our text primarily focused on the life of Abraham Lincoln, and Hannah and Millie both really enjoyed learning about him.  Millie has been telling everyone about the log cabin he lived in as a child (it only had three walls), while Hannah has been recounting a story about a town bully who thought he would pick a fight with Abe but found that Abe was a little more competition than he had bargained for!

Slavery and the Civil War are pretty dark times in our nation's history and are pretty tough for children to understand, so they were only mentioned briefly in our text.  But in our book basket we had several books that gave a little bit more information about those topics.

(There's a chance I just might have become the oldest American Girl fan in America this year.  I love, love, love these books!!!)

Here's the Abraham Lincoln notebook page Hannah made for her U.S. notebook.

And in Week 29, we learned about America's 34th through 37th states:  Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada, and Nebraska.

I asked Hannah if she remembered doing a presentation on Kansas at co-op back in kindergarten, but she couldn't remember many details about it besides the Dust Bowl.  I pulled up the blog post so she could read about it, and it was entertaining to watch little light bulbs turn on as she remembered various details.

In Bible, we learned about Jesus as our Shepherd.  We've really enjoyed the way My Father's World has done the names of Jesus study this year, but because of our read-aloud, this one was the best by far!
Oh, my goodness gracious!  It was all I could do not to stop the flow of the story after every paragraph to comment on how I saw us as lambs, Jesus as a Shepherd, Jesus as a Lamb ... it was the perfect read-aloud to go along with our Bible lessons!  And every day, Marie Hazell (author of My Father's World) chose Bible passages that related perfectly to the assigned chapters for the day. 

I won't tell you how the story ends, but I will tell you that the last chapter of the book was a beautiful picture of Christ, and it was also a real tear-jerker.  I learned that day that it's not easy to read aloud when you're crying.  I was trying my very hardest to stay composed and not let some children's book get the best of me, but I finally got to the point where my voice kept failing me, so I handed the book to Hannah (cuddled quietly on the couch next to me) so she could finish reading it for us.  She didn't take it from me, so I turned to look at her and saw that she had a quiet river of tears streaming from red, puffy eyes down her cheeks as well.  So I kept reading, and one word at a time (word, sniff, another word, gulp, another word, heavy breath, another word, sigh) we somehow managed to make it to the end of the story.

In Science, we've been focusing on physics for the past two weeks.  In Week 28, we learned about energy, forces, hot and cold (expansion and contraction), and gravity.

To demonstrate how heat makes things expand and cold makes them contract, we ran hot water over a soda bottle for a few minutes, then put a balloon over the neck of the bottle.  Then we put the balloon-capped bottle into a pot filled with ice water.  The ice water caused the air inside the bottle to cool down and contract, sucking the balloon into the bottle.  (Well, kind of sucking the balloon into the bottle.  The results weren't as impressive as the picture in our book, but there was enough of a change for us to get the idea, anyway.)

There was definitely evidence that the air inside the bottle was contracting ...

... but the balloon didn't pull all the way inside the bottle the way it did in the picture in our book.
Then we basically did the same thing in reverse.  We took the bottle that now had cooled-down air and a totally deflated balloon and put it into a sink full of hot water.

As the air in the bottle heated back up and expanded, it began to push the sides of the bottle back out and inflate the balloon.
And we also did an activity that demonstrated gravity.  Yes, gravity.  The main point of the lesson was not air resistance (like Mama someone tried to make it), but gravity.  Just like the boldface title at the top of the page said.  (And my mom was a reading teacher!!  My reading teacher!!)  Fortunately, I posted my question on the My Father's World message board and the ladies there helped me make sense of it all when my original explanation even left me with questions.  :)

First I had Hannah climb on top of the kitchen table ('cause we just do really safe things like that around here) so she could drop a quarter and a quarter-sized piece of tissue paper at the same time.  Obviously, the quarter landed first.

The point of this I now know was to show that gravity pulls everything down with equal force, despite its weight.  So then why was there a huge difference between the time it took the tissue paper to fall and the time it took the quarter to fall?  Because the tissue paper had air pushing back against it (air resistance), which slowed its fall.  But gravity still pulled it down with the same force as it did the quarter.  This was really important to know for the rest of our experiment to make sense.  :)

Our next step was to remove the air resistance factor.  To do this, we put the tissue paper and the quarter in identical boxes and dropped them once again.  This time, despite Hannah's hypothesis, they landed at the same time.

Now it all makes sense.  They landed at the same time because gravity pulls everything down with equal force, despite its weight, and we were able to see that when we removed the air resistance factor.  We even did it one more time with eight quarters in the box and got the same result.

So thank you, thank you, thank you to my sisters on the MFW board for helping me salvage this lesson!

In Week 29, we did the first four activities that came with our magnet kit.  (Yes!!  I can handle magnets!)

Hannah gathered several items that she thought might be attracted to a magnet and tested them all.  When she was done ... voila!  Her first piece of modern art!

We learned that the earth has lines of magnetic force that run through it from one pole to the other, and that a compass is actually a special kind of magnet.  Then we made a homemade compass and placed it in a bowl of water.  Sure enough, the north pole of our magnet pointed toward the north!

We learned that lines of force in magnets run between the two poles, and magnets attract more strongly at their poles than anywhere else because the lines of force are so concentrated there. 

You can see that the metal shavings were most attracted to the poles (ends) of the bar magnet.

The shavings were very attracted to the poles of the U magnet ...

... but not so much to the other parts!
We learned the oh-so-important life lesson that opposites attract!  (This will be beneficial to them when they look for husbands in 15 30 years!) 

She figured out that she could attach several small magnets to her large one if she put opposite poles together.
And here's what happens when you put like poles together.  The top magnet looks like it's floating because like poles are together so they're repelling each other.

We learned that magnetic force can travel through objects.  Here we put a piece of thin cardboard (part of a mac 'n cheese box) between the magnet and the marble, and the force was still strong.

We didn't find that too surprising, but what we tried next sure was!

The magnetic force was strong enough to pull through the cover of a hardback book ...

... plus several of the pages ...

... and even the entire thing!  That surprised us!!
And then they used their magnets to make funny faces.  (I wish I had a nickel for every car trip I took as a kid where this was my source of entertainment!)

As far as the three R's go ... much to Hannah's delight, we finished our unit on paragraphs.  (This kid can write, but I have learned that she likes to write when it's her idea to write and only when it's her idea to write.)  We took a very brief look at poetry and rhyming words, and Hannah came up with this poem:

Spring is here and summer's coming.
I won't have to do math or its summing.
I can play
All through the day,
And play in the sun
With everyone.

I laughed out loud when I read the first two lines!  Now we're beginning a unit on dictionary skills, focusing specifically on alphabetical order for the time being. 

And in math, we began a unit on multiplication.  We downloaded a free game called Timez Attack, which has been an excellent resource for memorizing multiplication math facts!

Oh, and how about a quick nature picture?  We've seen a couple of these lately.  The first one we saw was at our local putt-putt golf course, and as we were going around the block we noticed that a neighbor has one growing in her yard, as well.  I have no idea what it is (we'll have to ask our neighbor), but it's really beautiful!

So there you have it:  a two-week "weekly" report with an authentic publication date assigned to it.  Time to click the Publish Post button.  I think I can ... I think I can ... I think I can ...


Christine said...

Love the videos! We're on week 29 right now. Are you planning on doing ECC next?

Jennifer said...

Christine, yes, we'll definitely be doing ECC next! I've been in planning mode for the past several weeks now and can't wait. Looks like it will be another really great year!! :)

Gator Mommy said...

Great week! I'm so glad you said that about the Bible verses and Mountain Born. I was thinking of starting it this week because we finished Plum Creek early but now I will wait.

Am I loosing my mind or haven't we done that experiment already?

You have to share your planning for ECC! I will have to wait until the summer to buy the package but am excited to start the planning. You are the BEST and have great ideas, I hope you are willing to share with those of us not as creative ;-)

Monica said...

Okay girl...... so I was just holding my hands out to catch Hannah from falling off the table... I'm tell'in the principle!! LOVE the videos....can't figure out how to do that yet. I got my ECC deluxe package for $200 ... woo hoo! Planning soon too!

MissMOE said...

So much science! I'm impressed. And LOL about blogging being your therapy--I so agree.

Kimberly said...

Thanks for posting even though it wasn't how you would have liked. I can relate! I am always impressed with your posts and all that you do in school.

Carrie said...

Have I told you lately that you are one amazing mama?!?! I'm going to buy Mountain Born for next year ... hope we like it as much as you guys did! :)

P.S. Hannah did a great job on her poem!!!

beautifulblur said...

Just love reading your week(s). I love to see the science since I am always lacking in that department. As always, lovely.

Pauline said...

Wow! What an awesome couple of weeks :) Jase really liked Mountain Born too. He read the book several months ahead of time. I guess that's what I get for leaving all the books in eye sight on the shelf. If he sees something he wants to read, there is no stopping him. He read the whole Pioneers and Patriots book just a few months into school. I need to look into the American girl stuff for Aleeya. I have heard so many good things about it. Loved all the pictures and videos :)

Kattie said...

That magnet kit looks pretty cool! The volcano kit was around $8 from Hobby Lobby and my daughter thought is was fun because she had to mix the plaster and paint it. Did sparks fly out and were there sound effects? No......but when you are 7, it is cool. You could also use it over and over if you like :)

Andrea said...

I love your idea about using past blog posts for review -- a good reason to keep up with the weekly highlights! I'm also glad to learn that I'm not the only one who cries while reading to their children! For me it was the Patricia St John books in CTG -- just wait!

Kathi @ A Heart Like Water said...

WOW! i can see why you were overwhelmed...a lot of learning going on in this post!

i'm totally addicted to putting video on my blog. i must stop.

connor read mtn born on his own, and really loved it...now i may have to pick it up and read it aloud. always crying with read aloud anymore...and just wait! until you get to the patricia st. john books in Creation to the Greeks! talk about crying.

great post jennifer, you inspire me to be a better homeschool momma!

happy mother's day!