At the beginning of the month, I decided that I would make a theme for Pup to work with since she had not been doing too much work. Since it was so cold here, I thought that we could talk about what animals do during the winter! There are a ton of great printable packs out there and I printed a few things off for her and I had planned to have trays for her. But honestly I made two and she really didn’t do them. One was an animal sort by whether they hibernate, migrate, or adapt. We did that one time. Then we had a rolling dice game with charting! She did that a lot! I also made an art tray with natural materials for her to build some habitats. One day she used our glue gun (which she loved) to build a bunny forest and then we wrote a story all about it. She also has done some reading and writing with this. Another thing that we have done with this unit is make rod pictures with out Cuisenaire rods. She really likes doing this and I keep encouraging this! After all learning is play and she loves to be creative. We often dissect the picture and practice adding the rods together! This has led to a lot of adding work and she even starting to write stuff down! All in all it has been fun, but it has shown me that for Pup learning is going to happen with a few structured things, lots of books to look through, and creative elements to make her own things! Here are some pictures of our very “Pup like” unit study!
Today we had our science get together and instead of doing our experiments at someone’s house, we decided to head to a science center nearby to do our engineering experiments there! Wow! The girls were over the moon about the trip. We started our learning off in the cafe reading a book about St. Patrick. He is the patron said of engineering because he helped teach the Irish people build churches and buildings. So after our story, we talked about what engineering is. One definition that I read that made the most sense was: Engineering is combining math, science, and experience to build something that is useful. After some quick learning, we headed into the engineering “department” to work on some of the experiments that were available. We started off working on building buildings that could withstand an earthquake. We tested them by using the shaker table. We also built bridges using sheets of paper, we build a 7 ft. arch with large blocks, played with wind and propellers, and built an arched bridge that we could walk over. There was a lot of thinking and the team work was amazing! They were able to talk through their ideas and there were no hurt feelings! They are all getting so big! The girls worked especially hard on the paper bridge and they almost gave up. But they managed to get it worked out. One thing that we discovered is that little changed make a big difference! Always try to make a small change first! After doing the experiments, hunger set it and it was time to eat. We packed lunch and we were those fun parents at the tables. It was build your own lunch! Cheese cubes, pretzels, grapes, strawberries, and crackers made for an engineer inspired lunch! For dessert we had gumdrops, Twizzlers, and toothpicks to create masterpieces to eat! There was, surprisingly, a lot more building then eating! They loved it! When we finally got food in our bellies and the mess tidied up, it was off to explore all the other parts of the science center for fun! Lots of giggles, running, and exploring!
As you can see our day was fun, busy, and educational! And if I am honest, I was pretty tired! 😉 I was so glad that we got to have a chance to try out so awesome experiments while having fun! Now off to the rest of my busy week! I hope to share with you some of the other things we have been doing here in the next few days! Happy Schooling!
This month we finally got to having our monthly science day with friends! Between bad weather and sickness, it was a little hard! Our saint this month was, quite obviously, St. Valentine! My friend found a great story book all about him to read. Saint Valentine was a doctor living in Rome in the early days of Christianity when people were being martyred for their faith. He worked very hard for people and, legend has it, he sent a note to one of his young patient after he was arrested and signed it “your Valentine”. Which is where we get valentines from! Now, since Valentine was a doctor and since hearts are a huge part of the holiday fun, we thought it would be fun to study the heart! We talked about how the heart works with its pumps and valves, how the heart rate goes up and down to pump more blood when you are working harder, and we even listened to how our heart sounds! We had an amazing experiment where we made a pump systems that worked like the heart using straws, balloons, and pint jars! We cut the bottom off a balloon, and stuck the end into a straw and taped it. Then we wrapped the large part of the balloon around a jar half full of water. Then, very carefully, we stretched a balloon over it and poked two holes in the told to put the straws in. For lunch I made heart shaped pizza pockets, heart shaped carrots, strawberries, pink juice, with ice cream sundaes for dessert!
Today was Lego class at our local building class! Today we were talking about simple machines and the kids were building catapults! After catapults are a lever with a fulcrum. Each team was give a sheet with three different lever configurations to build. Then they tested them to see which was the best. After that they used their best one to try and catapult a ball into a basket they built on another plate! Simple, and fun, and a great way talk about fulcrum points, force, and aiming! It was simple and yet complicated. Bunny had no problem building it, but getting the catapult to work and to get the same results each time was really hard for her! Here are some pictures:
I was trying to encourage Bunny to make one at home too. We will see! She loves to build legos and she is really learning a lot as she plays. I love that we have the opportunity to go to these classes near by. Who knew there was so much science in toys! 🙂 Have you ever used Legos for learning? Share your ideas in the comments! Happy Schooling!
Today we went to a homeschool class at that amazing Lego place in our town. They are having classes that teach kids science, math, and technology concepts through hands on lego building! Super fun, super easy, and super Bunny! She was so excited about this. Today they were learning about gravity and force while making a marble run. The goal was to build a run that was 30 inches long and used gravity to move the marble down the track. Bunny worked really hard and she didn’t quite make 30 inches, but she did a fabulous job! My brothers joined up for the class, and they did a great job too! V. got his marble run to go 40 inches, and N. have about 5 different turns on his! They loved it and had fun learning! Here are some pictures from their marble discovery!
So I have been MIA again, sorry. Our work of late has been pretty hit and miss due to lots going on! Plus I have been scrapbooking a lot which takes up a lot of my computer time. But we are still here, still making discoveries, and still happy! So what is new with all of you? I would love to hear what you have been up to!
Well its Friday and it is time to share our five favorite materials! This week we are talking about our favorite science materials! Here are the five we love here!
1) Montessori Botany/zoology Puzzles/ Control Chart: We love these there! These puzzles are pretty, simple, and fun! Pup will builds them all the time and is learning a lot as she goes along! Plus this is one of those works that our friend love when they come to visit! These were well worth the extra money to buy the sets. The match the puzzles exactly and have a labeled control chart, blank control chart, and labels for each puzzle. I have used them as tracing work, copied them for coloring, and played games with them! Plus they are made our of plastic so they last forever!
2) Magic School Bus Movies: My girls LOVE these movies and have learned so much! Plus there is an episode for almost everything! I know these videos are pretty old, but they are such a great way to “see” science in a different way! Plus they are available on Netflix!
3) Nature Trays: I love these because there are a million ways to use these! It can be a personal collection from nature walks, or it can used to show real object from a theme that you are studying. I find that my girls enjoy setting them up and also exploring the object. Sometimes it inspired more questions, sometimes they just look! But it is a simple way to have science on hand!
4) Garden: This is science has really become real for my girls! Natural science can be learned almost totally in the garden. Now to be fair, I really don’t garden well and my success rate is not so good, but my girl know all about plants and it all started in the garden. To be honest, I think we learned about plants, insects, soil, rocks, and…well a ton of other stuff all in our planting. It is all inner connected and it is the easiest way to live cosmic education!
5) Animals: A visual encyclopedia: This book is just great! I think that they have updated it since this version, but it has everything about animals. Plus it is arranged by animal classifications (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates). This makes it easy for kids to start researching on their own, since they already are familiar with these basic classifications! I am looking into buying some of the other titles in this series!
6) Ollo Robotics Kit: This is the new kit that I bought for Bunny this year. She wants to build a real robot and this set is really detailed! It comes with 12 weeks of lesson plans and get really in depth. This is for older kids, but is a great hands on way to learn about making thing move and the science behind it! I am really looking forward to using this! Bunny is SUPER excited! We will see how it works!
So there is my five (ok, ok six) picks! I love to do science and so do my girls! It is the one thing that they both said that they wanted to do this year for school! In fact, it is sometimes the only thing they want to do! 🙂 Now I know you are just dying to see the other things that other have picked and I know you have a ton of great materials that you love too! So, be sure to pop on by Montessori Moments to play along with the Friday Five Link up! It is a fun one! Happy Schooling everyone!
Today is the first day of summer and we spent it in a very summery way! We had some friends over and spent the day playing outside! I carried our Ocean fun outside again today by making some Oobleck for the kids. Bunny has been saying how she only wants to do science, so I made sure that I explained the science behind how the molecules behaved and she felt like we really did science! (I didn’t know how it work, but this blog shared their knowledge). We also made some hypothesis about what we thought some ocean animals would do if they were placed in the oobleck. Bunny thought that they would float, they didn’t. It was interesting to see how the liquid really baffled them! Plus it was full of sensory fun! This is really an outside fun thing. The best part of it had to be that it just hosed right off! So how did I make it? Simple:
~ 2 Boxes of Corn Starch (or six cups)
~ 4 1/2 cups of water
~ Few drops of food coloring
Mix it all together in a big bowl. It should look watery on top, but be solid on the bottom. When you scoop it up, it should be hard and almost dry, but as it sits in your hand it will “melt”. Then its ready to play! There is a ton of interesting science involved with all of this, and a lot of opportunities to talked about states of matter and making hypothesis! Have you tried this before? What do you love best about this? Share your ideas! I hope your summer kicked off to a lot of fun too! Happy Summer!
This past week the girls have been finding simple machines all over without even knowing it! They rigged up a pulling system on their play house, and made marble runs on the steps! So I decided that it was a good time to present them with the names of the simple machines that they were using all over the house! So this morning I read a book about simple machines that explained (in a bit too much detail) what each simple machine was and how it worked. Bunny was fascinated! She immediately started to see the simple machines around the house! She told me she thought that the hinge on the door was a lever, and that there was an inclined plane on the stairs. So I challenged her to get some stuff out of the garage to make a simple machine. She got right to work and so did Pup. What they made was a more complicated version of the marble run she had made on the stairs earlier in the week! I loved seeing how know this new information made her start to look at things she saw differently. I am interested to see what this new information produces in her work as she keeps exploring. Here is what they have done so far!
As you can see, they have been learning through play and it has been amazing to watch! I would like to get some cards describing the different simple machines for a reference. Do you ever have moments where your kids are learning even though they think they are playing? I think its one of the best part of homeschooling!
I also wanted to let you know that I am so happy that some of you have taken a moment to vote for me over at the Top 25 Homeschool Blogs! I just wanted to let you all know that it means the world to have you voting for me! The voting is still open and you can vote once a day! Plus you can vote for more then one of your favorite bloggers!
Well as promised here is our awesome project for today! The girls LOVED this just like I thought that they would and I think that I can see them asking for it again another day! I found this idea at The Artful Parent and I knew we just had to try it! Last night, I froze water into several different sized containers. This morning I gathered the other materials, salt, liquid water color (You can use food coloring as well. Plus I did add water to my paint), medicine droppers, and trays; then I called the girls upstairs. Let’s just say the girl were excited! 😉 We talked for a minute about how salt melts ice, and about how it lowers the melting temperature of the ice. Neither of the girls were very interested and I cant blame them with all the colors ready to play with! We started off by sprinkling salt on the ice block (that I put on a cookie sheet). We let them sit for a minute before dripping color on them. The colors will fill the cracks and crevice left by the salt as it melts the ice. What you get is a beautiful Tie Dyed like look!
Isnt it beautiful! I thought it was pretty and so did the girls! They loved it so much that they wanted to do it again. So after we flipped the ice over and did both sides, I rinsed it and we did it again! That only works once though. I also would use one ice at a time so when they want to do more, you have a backup! 🙂 Our art is now preserved in these pictures because sadly it doesnt last. However, they are currently sitting outside where it is about 23 degrees, so maybe they will last longer! Happy Schooling!
Today I have to say was another day that I really didnt want to do any school work! In fact I was wondering if we would not do any formal school work and just do christmasy things! However, as the girls played, they eventually ended up starting to work on their own! Bunny started exploring with magnets and Pup was drawing a tide pool! So off we went to do some more work downstairs! While they worked, I prepped for our redo of the first great lesson! We told the story again, and as before, it was really fun for the girls! Bunny loved it and was very interesting to see how she was interested in the particles. She redid the settling of the elements a couple of more times! She was really interested in them and in the volcano. I am hoping that redoing the Great Lesson with help jump us into some of the awesome follow up work that can follow this story! We are going to keep with this lesson for the next month or so depending on how the holiday goes!
While Bunny and I were having our lesson, Pup was tracing the horse puzzle control chart that she was working with this morning! She loves to label these puzzles after I read her the label! Today we changed it up by letting Bunny read the labels for her! I am hoping that this will allow her to practice her reading and help Pup play too! 🙂
Another fun thing that we did today was try our subtraction problems without any materials. Bunny did her finished her subtraction finger game board and was feeling pretty confident. So I showed her how to use the golden bead problem cards to do bigger numbers using the fact she knew. I was only showing her the static version, but she grabbed one that needed some regrouping! Opps! So I showed her how to cross out a number and move the ten over without the beads. She really had a hard time understanding, so I pulled out the golden beads. Once she got it we did a bunch of problems! She told me that it was cool that sometime math could be fun! 😉
So I guess we will keep going with school even though I am ready to be all Christmasy! ;P I think that we will do school in the morning and Christmas crafts in the afternoon! Are you wanting more Montessori fun? Stop by Montessori Monday! I am linking up there! Happy Schooling!