Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mad Science

We went to a program called "Mad Science".  The purpose was to discuss and experiment with Newton's 3 laws. 

1. What starts in motion, tends to stay in motion.
2.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. 
3. Force = Mass X Acceleration

It was a very active program keeping the kids very engaged.  When it came time for volunteers from the audience, it took the kids a while to warm up to the idea of being on stage in front of that many people (mostly middle school aged kids.)  I hope the kids learned something!

So, here is our group of "Mad Scientists"

And, "Mad Babies"

And, "Mad Moms" (Mad as in crazy, not angry)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Presidents' Day

We have learned so much this week about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and have read some good books about both presidents.  We even made a lapbook (I know, it's a shocker!)  We read George Did It!  A very good book about George Washington.  We read Abe Lincoln - The Boy Who Loved Books, Honest Abe, and A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln.    Here are pictures of our lapbooks:

The insides were about President's Day in general or minit books about both presidents. 

These are components Alex did, but Nicolas did not.  The top one lists some things America does to celebrate Presidents' Day and the bottom pocket contains a short report on what he would do if he were president. 

First he would stop the war in Iraq.  Then he would make part of Mexico the US and put N. and S. Dakotas together so that we wouldn't have to change the flag.  I'm not sure what prompted him to want part of Mexico the US except one comment he made " Texas wouldn't be lonely".  It's funny the things and 8 year old boys mind thinks up.

Some famous quotes by or about presidents.

We taped on a top flap that had information about  Lincoln on one side and Washington on the other.

We find George Washington's name in Washington state, Washington DC, the penny, the $1 bill, Mount Rushmore.  Also, we have Washington Street locally and Washington Elementary.

Lincoln's side:

Besides the obvious, $5 bill, Lincoln memorial, Mount Rushmore, we noticed some local mentions of Lincoln's name - like Lincoln Elementary just down the road from here, and Alex had heard us mention Lincoln Blvd at one time or another. 

I did mention to the boys that most cities will have a street named after these 2 president's and many others.

I would like to do a study of each president eventually, but may have to wait at least a year, until Nicolas gets a little more interested, unless I just do the study with Alex.  Hmmm..., should I make a lapbook of each president's life?  Something to think about and keep me busy for awhile!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Well, this week we talked about groundhogs in celebration of Groundhog's Day.  Unfortunately, he saw his shadow, so we get to enjoy the weather we are having today - very cold windchills, and frozen pipes!  How fun! 

We read Gregory's Shadow and Andrew McGroundhog and HIs Shady Shadow (interesting book) and Groundhog Gets a Say.  we also have the movie Goose which we will watch tomorrow.  Since groundhog day had already passed, we mainly studied the animal rather than the "holiday".

Here are pictures of the boys' lapbooks:

The inside of Nicolas' lapbook:

The inside of Alex's lapbook:

About Groundhog Day from Nicolas's book:

About Groundhog Day from Alex's book:

Groundhogs are rodents like these animals:

Groundhogs are also called (from Nicolas's book):

About Groundhog babies:

Groundhogs are found pretty much everywhere (from Alex's book):

What eats groundhogs?

We are taking a break this coming week.  We will not do a unit study, but read some Valentine's Day books and work on getting our valentines ready to hand out.  We are only doing reading, math, writing and spelling on Monday and Tuesday.  The rest of the week is a break for us.  Hopefully that will get us ready for a major study on the President's!  (Me, more than them.)  We will be doing another lapbook for that study.  They really enjoy the lapbooks and I enjoy seeing their creativity coming out in their learning.   But sometimes I need a break from the planning!


Monday, February 4, 2008

Tiny Teachers

I came across this in my devotions today, from my Mom's Devotional Bible.  It's an excerpt from On Raising Children by Mary Hollingsworth.  Maybe it wil touch someone else.  Cerlainly is a new perspective.

"Tiny Teachers

Children are the best teachers in the world.  They teach young women how to be mothers and young men how to be fathers.  They teach older men and women how to be grandparents.  They even teach other children how to be brothers and sisters. 

Think about all the skills children teach people.  They teach moms how to be nurses and dads how to be heroes.  They teach brothers and sisters how to, rooms, dreams, and cookies. They even teach teachers how to teach in creative and fun ways.

Children teach the world how to love.  They teach us to look past a person's skin color right to his or her heart.  They teach us how to be honest, open and innocent.  And they teach us how to hug and laugh and be enthusiastic.

Children make us keep our promises because they never forget one that we make.  They even make us into scientists and professors by asking, 'Why?' about everything that moves and many things that don't.

Isn't it interesting that while we are teaching our children to be adults, they are teaching us how to be children?  That's especially important when we remember that Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' (Matt. 19:14)"

What is your child teaching you today?  I know mine are teaching PATIENCE!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Arctic and Antarctic Lapbook

This week we studied the animals from the Arctic circle and Antarctica.  (Goes along with the cold weather we've been having, and the nice couple inches of snow we got last night.)    We started out each day locating the sticker animals that go in the Arctic and Antarctic.  I purchased a book at an Usborne show last fall called, Animal Sticker Atlas.  It comes with the stickers, completely out of order to put onto the maps.  It was fun for the boys to look for that days stickers.

Both boys did lapbooks, but taking the advice of a friend, decided to try something different this time.  Alex, since he is older, did more components and some harder minit books than Nicolas did.  It was a little more work for me, but worked better.  Alex wasn't sitting and waiting for Nicolas to get done with his book before we moved one, mostly because he could go ahead and work on a component that Nicolas was not going to do for his book.  Because both books are different, I am posting pictures from both.  The first one is Alex's:

Starting at the top left, the Alaska book, the only state in the US in the Arctic.

Below that, the penguin life cycle book:

Then the Whales/Fish venn diagram.  Each flap opens to reveal what a whale has or does, what they both have in common, and finally what a fish has or does.

The bottom right is the anatomy of a polar bear.

Then opening one of the middle flaps down reveals a map of Antarctica and some more minit books.

Under the mape is Where do penguins live:

A seals book and extra pictures.

Then lifting the other middle flap up:

At the top, the life cycle of a whale:

The polar bear book tells what they eat:

The penguins tab book list: Appearance, Habitat, Food, Predators, and Reproduction:

And the wheel show other arctic animals:

Now, here is Nicolas's book.  Some components are the same, so I will only show you what he did differently.

Starting at the top left, a yes/no penguin book.  Do penguins have fur? Do penguins fly? Do penguins have knees?  Do penguins have ears?  (yes to knees and ears, no to fur and fly)

Beneath that are just pictures to fill in space.  In the middle is the wheel with other animals of the arctic:

And beneath that is the penguin tab book that Alex did.

How do whales stay warm? book, both boys did, but here is Nicolas's book:

Beneath that is his Alaska book.  Then we flip up the middle flap (Alex had two - one flipped up and the other flipped down.  Nicolas only has one that flips up).  We reveal the "Where do penguins live" that is the same as Alex's and a book about Seals.

The life cycle of a whale book is the same as Alex's and the Polar bear's eat book is the same except that Nicolas did not write in his.  I had strips that he had to glue in.

We had a lot of fun with this book.  We checked out a video from the library that was a National Geographic for kids about the polar regions.  They make it fun, but also give lots of information.  It was also fun to watch.