Instant Challenge #4: High Flying

11/30/2009

Here is our Instant Challenge for this week. If you missed it, be sure to see my introductory post for rules and more information if you would like to join us. I will post a linky with our solution in one week. If you are interested in participating in any of the earlier challenges, you are still welcome to link up.
#4 High Flying

Go ahead and add a 2 minute brainstorming time to the challenge. They cannot touch the materials during this time, but they can make a plan. Then restart the timer and let them begin.

Tip of the Week:

In the last tip, I suggested that you have your children score themselves and discuss how they could have solved the challenge better. Here are some questions from IC Tips that you can ask to help facilitate discussion:
  • How do you think you did as a team? What did you learn about Teamwork by doing this Challenge?
  • How well did you manage your time? How might you have used your time more effectively?
  • What were some strengths of your solution? What worked well?
  • If you were to start the Challenge over again, what might you do differently?
  • How well do you feel you utilized the materials you were given, if any? How might you have used the materials differently? Were there materials the participants did NOT use? If not, why not? How might they have been used?
  • How well did you create your solution to fit the emphasis in the scoring? Would you do anything differently?
  • If the solution did not work, what could you have done to make the solution work?
  • Could your solution have been more creative, novel, or unique? What might you have done to make that happen?
  • Finally, most important: WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
We're up for a challenge this week, how about you?

Adam and Eve {and their descendants} for the Very Young

11/26/2009
Activity wise, we are a little behind the older boys in our lessons, so I made this lesson simple. We continued to follow along with the Creation and the Flood Unit by Diana Warring in our Elementary Activity book.

We played the "The Adam Name Game."

This was a super fun game that came from Ancient Civilizations and the Bible's Elementary Activity book. On each turn, one of us was "Adam." The rest of us pretended to be an animal. When Adam said "Go" we all started moving around making sounds and pantomiming our animal. As Adam recognized an animal, he touched the animal's shoulder and if they were right, the animal sat down. If he was wrong, he could ask three questions, such as "Where do you live?" "What do you eat?" and "What color are you?" He then names the animal if he can. How many animals are sitting is the number of points Adam scores. The fun part is, we all got a chance to be Adam and name the animals. (I did not take any pictures because we all played!)

We also read about the descendants of Adam.

To keep things simple for the younger ones, we just focused on what a family is and did a Family Tree Craft with the names of our little family and talked about what a descendant is.

Malachi's hand print family tree.

Since we have been doing our history lessons as a family, the younger kids have been sitting through most of the readings as well. We are currently learning about Noah's Ark.

Also in this series:

Read Hebrew Today and Wonderfully Wacky Hebrew Alphabet Tricks {Review}

Read Hebrew Today is a flash card learning system by Wholesome Learning's Evonne Mandella. Evonne is funny and spirited and has a passion for teaching. She is a Jewish Christian who loves teaching families to learn to read Hebrew and New Testament Greek words "in minutes" with her "revolutionary easy reading method." According to her, "learning to read a foreign language is a snap!"
I received Read Hebrew Today as a part of my ticket to the Heart of the Matter Online Conference this past summer. I am really glad that I got to hear Evonne speak, because it gave me the encouragement that I needed to continue our study of the Hebrew language.
Hebrew is not so easy to learn. First you have to transliterate the hebrew letters into a hebrew word, and then you have to translate that word into English.
For example, the Hebrew letters that form the word "שלום" is first transliterated as "shalom" and then can be then translated as "hello," "goodbye" or "peace." So, often it is not enough to just know the word, you have to understand the meaning {and sometimes a little about the Hebrew culture to understand how to use the word.}
We can read the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and most vowels. But it does us little good without a large vocabulary. At one point, we quit reading Hebrew and just focused on building our vocabulary. Well, now we can do both! Read Hebrew Today is designed to just that ~ it teaches you how to read while teaching you vocabulary at the same time.
You can check out the samples by clicking on the preview to get a better idea of what I am talking about, but I will try to explain. With Evonne's system, you are taught a letter and the sound that it makes in the context of a word that you are reading. I printed the PDF file on index cards (front and back) and had it bound at the top so that it makes a flip book. I really liked having it bound as a flip tool (less chance of losing the cards and keeps it nice and organized). At first, I thought that if there was one thing that I would change about this tool, it would be that fact that there is no rhyme or reason to the vocabulary words. For example, our first five words were pen, pillow, moth, roof and monkey. I prefer to learn words through common themes like we did when we began learning Hebrew, such as all the names of the members of our family. However, the reason why is because she had to choose words that use every letter in the alphabet, so really the vocabulary is a bonus feature. This makes sense to me because she is teaching you to read every letter of the alphabet in a word. Reminds me of handwriting pretests and the crazy sentences that contain every letter of the alphabet.
Because of this, it really is simple and easy, and you really can read Hebrew today! I also had the chance to check out Evonne's Wonderfully Wacky Hebrew Alphabet Tricks ~ this is really a super silly and fast way to learn your Hebrew alephbet sounds. They are so silly that they work. Some are kind of goofy and we all tried to figure out how she got this or that for a letter, but you want to know what? Even though they were goofy, it worked. Associating the letters with something silly does help you remember them! This book is a perfect accompaniment to Read Hebrew Today, but it can also stand alone if you want to learn the Hebrew Alephbet. {Check out the samples to see more} Read Hebrew Today and Wonderfully Wacky Hebrew Alphabet Tricks are both available through Currclick for $3.99 each. Evonne also has a variety of other Wholesome Learning products available at a reasonable price.
{I received Read Hebrew Today free with my ticket to the HOTM Online Conference. I received a copy of Wonderfully Wacky Hebrew Tricks for free for review. I received no further compensation and I offer my honest opinion. See my disclosure policy for more information.}

Instant Challenge #3: Cup Holder Solutions

11/22/2009



If you missed it, be sure to see my introductory post for rules and more information!

Cup Holder

Challenge: Your TASK is to create a structure that holds two cups as high as
possible and as far apart as possible.

Time: You will have up to 7 minutes to use your IMAGINATION to create a
structure and then up to 1 minute to place the cups on it for score.

Set-up: A table with materials, two cups and a taped square.




They began with a pipe cleaner reinforced straw structure attached with mailing labels to the paper (since they could not attach it to the floor).

Then they made a bridge by attaching the envelope to the supports with the paperclips.


Jordan reinforced the structure by rolling up the tin foil and attaching it to the sides.


In a last ditch effort to use all the supplies, they added the pennies for "weights." Their structure held the cups 6 inches off the ground and 5 inches apart.

I had the boys score themselves this round.

They gave themselves:

0 out of 10 points for having a completed structure after Step 1.
10 out of 20 points for creative use of the materials
6 points for how far off their cups are off the ground (6 inches x 1 pt for each inch)
10 points for how far apart their cups are (5 inches x 2 points for each inch apart)
10 out of 20 points for how well they worked together

For a total of 36 points.


During our feedback session, I asked the boys how else this could have been built and they said they didn't think there was any other way this could have been done (lol), so we are curious to see if anyone else was up for a challenge and what kind of structures you may have come up with!

There will not be a new challenge this week. I will post a new challenge next week.

A Review of Explore/Plan by ACT Advantage

Jordan, my oldest who is currently 13, took the Explore test offered by ACT. We previosly reviewed the Discover program and worked on making a plan for Jordan's future. The Explore test was another step in working towards that goal. PhotobucketExplore is the first part of a testing system that goes on to include Plan and the ACT.
The Explore/Plan tests sell for $22.95 each. Typically, students take Explore in the 8th or 9th grade, Plan as 10th graders, and the ACT as juniors or seniors. As a member of the Crew, we received both Explore and Plan Sample Tests, but I only had him take the Explore. All three test you in English, math, reading, and science. However, the material tested in each program gets more difficult. Hence, why we stuck with the Explore. There are 4 parts to the test:
  1. English
  2. Math
  3. Reading
  4. Science
1. The English Test measures your understanding of standard written English—punctuation, grammar and usage, and sentence structure (Usage/Mechanics)—and your understanding of the use of strategy, organization, and style in writing (Rhetorical Skills). You receive a total score for the English test and separate scores (called "subscores") for Usage/Mechanics and Rhetorical Skills. Sample English Test Items 2. The Math Test measures your mathematical reasoning. The test focuses on your ability to reason in math rather than on how well you have memorized formulas or can do involved computations. Questions on the test cover four areas—knowledge and skills, direct application, understanding concepts, and integrating your understanding of concepts—in pre-algebra, elementary algebra, geometry, and statistics and probability. Sample Math Test Items 3. The Reading Test measures your ability to understand written material from different school subjects. The skills measured include referring to details in the passage, drawing conclusions, and making comparisons and generalizations. Sample Reading Test Items 4. The Science Test measures your scientific reasoning skills and your ability to understand scientific information and draw conclusions from it. Six sets of scientific information are presented in one of three formats: data representation (graphs, tables, and other forms), research summaries (descriptions of several related experiments), or conflicting viewpoints (two or more hypotheses that are inconsistent with one another). Materials for this test are drawn from the life sciences, Earth/space sciences (e.g., geology, astronomy, and meteorology), and physical sciences. The test emphasizes your scientific reasoning skills rather than how well you can recall scientific facts, or your skills in mathematics or in reading
Scoring:
The Explore Student Score Report gives information about your knowledge, skills, interests, and plans. You can then use this information as you plan your high school coursework and begin thinking about college and work. Your report also tells you how you did on the tests and how your scores compare to those of other students across the nation. It contains information about your educational and career plans, interests, high school coursework plans, and the amount of help you think you need in seven areas. Your scores can then be used to predict how you are likely to do if you take PLAN as a tenth grader. You can then use these predicted or estimated scores to see if you are on track to achieve the scores you want when you take the ACT later in high school.
I thought the test packet was straight forward, easy to implement and simple to score and understand. I have been wanting a test that I could give at home to access development and this fit the bill.
See other crew member reviews of Explore/Plan, or click on the banner below to visit the Crew Blog.
I received this product for free in exchange for my review as a member of the Crew. No further compensation was received and I offer my honest opinion. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Homeschool Highlights #7 The Off Week Ediiton

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Me to the kids: "What did we do this week?"
Jordan shrugs shoulders. "Oh, we did the instant challenge." (I will post the solution to this weeks challenge tonight).
Nathan: "We did our independent work. And science."
We did a little history too.
We had a fun day on Tuesday. (Watched a movie and had a special dinner).
But mostly, this has been an off week for us. Just the basics.
Then Friday, I stubbed my toe, pinched my arm, and jammed my finger all in the span of 5 minutes. Then Malachi fell down the basement stairs and cut his nose and forehead on the edge of a desk and we spent a couple hours trying to get him to let us ice it with a bag of frozen corn. I then added a comfrey poultice instead. The swelling has gone down quite a bit, but he is sore. Needless to say, we had corn for dinner but while I was taking it out of the oven, I dropped the creamy corn dish and it spilled all over the oven and floor. Then as I was putting the lasagna away after dinner, I dropped it and dumped half of it on the floor. I am afraid to touch anything.
On a different note, I am organizing and rearranging again - always a good thing. I am also rethinking the whole workbox thing. We'll see what happens with that.
But, me [re]thinking usually means something has to change.
I really hope to accomplish more this week - even if it means more organizing, rearranging and restructuring (of which I have a strong desire to do right now).
In closing, I almost didn't post this because I try to remain positive and try not to dwell on the bad stuff. But just in case anyone was wondering, we have off weeks too!

Cain and Abel, Seth to Noah, Corruption of Man

11/18/2009
Here is what we have been up to for Biblical History:
Readings:
  • Chronological Bible: Genesis 4 (Cain murders Abel), 5 (The Family of Adam) & 6:1-8 (The wickedness of men, Noah pleases God, the ark prepared)
  • Adam to Messiah: Cain and Abel, Seth to Noah, Corruption of Man
  • The Victor Journey Through The Bible: Cain and Abel (p. 14)
  • Genesis: Finding Our Roots: p. 37-42
  • Who's Who in the Bible: Cain, Abel, Seth, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah
  • Adam and His Kin: Ch. 5 "Cain," Ch. 6 "Writing in the Stars" & Ch. 7 "The Preachers"
  • The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History: Discussion questions
Audio:
  • What in the World? Track 3 "Early Man"(12:06)
  • True Tales: Ancient Civilizations and the Bible Track 3 "Early Man" (17:14) and Track 4 "Where Did Cain Get His Wife?" (9:08)
In Genesis 4, we have the first case of sibling rivalry ~ Cain slew his brother Abel because he was jealous that God accepted Abel's offering and not his. There are several theories as as to why his was not accepted: his heart condition (he didn't bring the best of his crops or that he did not bring the correct offering). Knowing what we know about sacrifices and offerings in the Torah, we think it might be the latter. There were grains offerings and animal offerings, but not vegetables offerings.
Cain was punished. His punishment was to great for him to bear, so YHVH put a mark on him to protect his life. He went to the land of Nod and there he built the first city and took a wife. So, where did Cain get his wife? Short answer: Cain married his sister. {They could do that back then because the genetic pool was pure}
Pre-flood Society and Culture
  • The first city is built (Genesis 4:17 ~ Cain built a city in the land of Nod and named it after his son Enoch)
  • We have the first case of polygamy (Genesis 4:19 ~ Lamech took for himself two wives)
  • Nomadic herdsmen (Genesis 4:20 ~ Jabal was the father of all who dwell in tents and have livestock)
  • Musical instruments (Genesis 4:21 ~ Jubal was the father of all who play the harp and flute)
  • Craftsmen in bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22 ~ Tubal-Cain was the father of every craftsman in bronze and iron)
  • Genesis 4:26 then men began to call on the name of YHVH.
We threw a little science and technology in with our study of History and learned that bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. And that iron is an element that in its pure state is soft. It needs to be combined with carbon to make steel to give it strength. I assigned each boy to research the trades of Jabel, Jubal and Tubal Cain. It was easy to decide which for each boy ~ Jordan has a hands on/industrial bent, Nathan wants to be a dairy farmer and Dylan has a musical gift.
The boys also completed a notebooking page on pre-flood society.
We learned that there is a hidden message is the names of the descendants from Adam to Noah:
  1. Adam ~ Man
  2. Seth ~ Appointed
  3. Enosh ~ Mortal
  4. Kenan ~ Sorrow
  5. Mahalalel ~ The blessed God
  6. Jared ~ Shall come down
  7. Enoch ~ Teaching
  8. Methuselah ~ His death shall bring
  9. Lamech ~ The Despairing
  10. Noah ~ Comfort, Rest
If you put them all together you can see the hidden message: Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow [but] the blessed God shall come down teaching [that] His death shall bring the despairing comfort, rest.
The gospel message is that we are all sinners and God's son died to bring us salvation. ~ Ruth Beechick
Pretty neat that the gospel message is found in the lineage of the descendants of Adam. If you don't know this, a sinner is anyone who transgresses God's law (the Torah or law of Moses). (1 John 3:4) The law did three things: gave us teachings and instructions on how to live a life pleasing to the Father and pronounced blessings and curses. The ultimate curse of the law is death. Yeshua (Jesus) paid our debt in full when he died on the cross. {It is free to all, but, you have to ask for this gift and then you must endure to the end by living a life pleasing to your Savior ~ ie. just because we are under grace and not under the law (meaning we are not judged by the law [found guilty] because we have redemption in Yeshua~Jesus) doesn't mean that we can continue to live a sinful life (transgress the law of God) Romans 6:15, and we don't make void the law just because we are under faith. Romans 3:31}
Chapter 5 is all about the generations of Adam and 6 is about the wickedness of man, Noah finds favor in God's eye and the ark is prepared. The days of Noah (full of wickedness) characterize the days just before Yeshua's return. Are we living as in the days of Noah? I am curious to study the meanings of the names of the rest of the descendants of Noah!
Up next : Noah's Ark and the Global Flood

A Review of Gymathtics by Exploramania

11/17/2009
Exploramania just sounds like a cool name for a company that produces the Exploracise® Gymathics® DVD. The colorful cover and the "gym" and "math" caught my interest because my kids love being active, but they don't love math as much.
Gymathics is complete 30 minute program that includes:
  • Shape Stretches Warm Up: Stretch your mind and body with line, circle, and polygon stretches.
  • Counting Calisthenics: Aerobic movements work your heart as fun counting concepts work your brain.
  • Pattern Power: Growing and repeating pattern exercise combinations challenge minds and strengthen muscles.
  • Well-Being Wind Down: Relaxing stretches cool down the body and open the mind to think about healthy lifestyle choices including the Nice Wave Stretch and Big Dream Stretch.
Shape Stretches Warm Up include:
  • Straight, Parallel, Intersecting and Perpendicular Lines
  • Ray, Angle, Obtuse Angle, Acute Angle, Right Angles
  • Diagonal Lines, Wave function, Wavy Lines
  • Circle, Semi-Circle,
  • Congruent Shapes, Similar Shapes
  • Circumference, Radius, Center Point of Circle
  • Oval, Polygon, Triangle, Quadrilateral, Rectangle, Pentagon
  • Square, Rhombus, Trapezoid, Parallelogram
  • Equilateral, Isosceles, Scalene, Obtuse, Acute, Right Triangles
Counting Calisthenics includes:
  • Whole Numbers
  • Integer
  • Number Line
  • Odd and Even Numbers
  • Skip Count
  • Place Value
  • Prime Numbers
Pattern Power includes:
  • Growing Pattern
  • Repeating Pattern
The math education details in the program are incorporated through three senses: Kinesthetic/Movement, Auditory, and Visual.
Price: $24.99
While this seems like an excellent concept (learning math through movement), this didn't work for our family. It showed lack of originality and frequently repeated phrases seemed, well, overused and a bit irritating. (Our two year old was the only one who would watch it a second time ~ she loved following along and especially liked that there was another little girl in the program.) My boys love to be active in sports and real activity. Even in the wintertime, they will bundle up and head to the park to play ball. On really cold days, they will go to the gym.
I also thought it was a bit overpriced for the quality.
However, Exploramania carries other products such as this Multiplication Thumb Ball and this Geometry Thumb Ball and we think that would be something that would work for our family. My kids are glued to a soccer ball 8 months out of the year. If we go anywhere, they always bring a soccer ball. What a great way to teach them math with a sport they love. I am all about that!
Be sure to see what other Crew mates think of Gymathtics, some really liked it!
I reviewed this product for free in exchange for my review as a member of the Crew. I offer my honest opinion. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Jordan's Science {Apologia General Science}

Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science ~ Module 1 {Note: these lessons took 4 weeks to complete}
Highlights of Module One ~ A Brief History of Science:
  • The First Inklings of Science
  • True Sciene Begins to Emerge
Experiment 1.1: Density in Nature

Greek Scientists used observations in density to prove that atoms exist.


They figured that each liquid (water, oil and syrup) are made of atoms, but that some are packed more closely together. When the water was poured into the oil, the atoms in the water were able to pass through the oil. The syrup was able to pass through both the water and the oil.


Jordan learned that even solid objects are made of atoms. The cork's atoms were packed together very loosely so it floated. The grape sank to the top of the corn syrup and the rock sank to the bottom. (We thought this was a cool lesson on density and atoms).

Experiment 1.2: Atomic Motion


In this experiment, Jordan collected evidence that atoms are in constant motion and are affected by heat. The jar with the hot water mixed rapidly with the food coloring, and much slower in the cold water.
  • Notable Greek Scientists
  • The Progress of Science Stalls for Awhile
Experiment 1.3: A Chemical Reaction
During the Dark Ages, people discovered that mixing substances together could cause amazing results. {We were pretty amazed with the chemical reactions that took place in this experiment}
We first boiled red cabbage leaves and cooled them with ice cubes. Then, we put vinegar in the soda bottle and filled a balloon with baking soda.


Jordan poured the purple cabbage juice into the vinegar and it turned pink! (A substance in red cabbage, anthocyanin, reacted with the vinegar to turn it pink). Then he put the ballon on the top and lifted the balloon so that the baking soda would drop into the bottle.


When the baking soda hit the vinegar, the mixture began to bubble and fizz, and the balloon began to inflate (with carbon dioxide). At the same time, we noticed a color change as the chemical reaction occurred. The mixture turned from pink to blue. As the vinegar disappeared, the anthocyanin no longer had the vinegar to react with. {We thought this was so cool}
  • Science Begins to Pick Up Some Speed Again
  • The Renaissance: "The Golden Age of Science"
Experiment 1.4 Mapping the Paths of the Planets


Mapping the ellipses that a planet makes. An ellipse is made by two points called foci. In his experiment, the foci were two pieces of tape. You would think that the sun would be at the center of the ellipse, but it is at one of the foci.
  • The Era of Newton
  • The "Enlightenment" and the Industrial Revolution
  • The Rest of the 19th Century
  • Modern Science
Jordan is creating a notebook with the General Science LapJournal from Knowledge Box Central. You can see the first module that we used here. We also used the schedules from Donna Young and I found these bookmarks very helpful.

I had originally planned to do Apologia Physical Science this year, but Jordan was not ready for the math part of it. I found General Science at homeschool sale and knew it was for me him!

{Have I mentioned how much I love science?}

Nature Explorers: Habitat

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~Mali is 4.9 years and Elli is 2.10 years old~
Part One: Wyoming Habitat
For our lesson on habitat, we started by visiting the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Forest Service.
They were very helpful and loaded us up with info and stuff.
Checking out his loot once we got home. We used the print information at the end of our study.
We learned that Wyoming has 5 main habitats:
  1. The Alpine Zone
  2. The Foothills Shrubland
  3. Sagebrush and Prairie Grassland Community
  4. Urban and Agrarian Lands (Agrarian means cultivated land)
  5. Aquatic and Riparian Areas (Riparian means of or by the banks of a river)
We talked about how people share the same space with many animals in Wyoming and that we need the same things from our habitat that wildlife does:
  • food
  • water
  • space
  • shelter
But we use our habitat differently than an animal does.
Checking out several species common to Wyoming.
The black tailed prairie dog lives in the Sagebrush and Prairie Grassland Community among 53 species of birds, 58 species of mammals . . .
By the time we were done, they were Junior Game Wardens.
Part Two: Jump In On Brother's Science Experiment To Learn That An Animal's Habitat Can Protect Them From Predators.
The older boys are studying land animals, and their first experiment had to do with how camouflage can protect animals in their habitat. So when they were done, Mali did his own experiment ~ of course it involved chocolate so he was anxious to do so. He went on a hunt to find the candy bars and made a candy "bar" graph.
Part Three: Forest Habitat
After reading several books on different habitats, I let Mali pick which habitat he would like to study further and he picked forest. We own property that is considered forest land, so we went for a hike to see what we could see.
We saw several old stumps and knew that they could be a home for several small animals, such as mice or rabbits, according to Mali. We saw evidence that animals had been there, including deer and turkey tracks and turkey feathers. We have a resident black bear, but did not see any signs that it had been nearby (no scat or tracks). We did see evidence that something attacked a turkey - there were feathers everywhere. It must have carried it off. And on our way back, we saw a woodpecker.
Brush piles and underneath a log are homes for small animals and insects.
We spent time reading about forests, forest fires and animals that live in the forest. And then back home, we used the info that we gathered from the Forest Service to make a forest collage.
Cutting out trees.
More cutting. (Sure one photo would have been enough, but I love my little man to pieces)
Cutting and organizing his collage.
Pasting it all down with rubber cement. . .
. . . while watching a documentary on Noah's Ark.
The finished collage:
Forest animals and trees.
Animals and tracks we find in the forest.
Looking at posters from the forest service and learning about Fire's Role in Nature.
Some of our readings on forests included: Wonders Of The Forest and The Tree in the Ancient Forest*
We briefly touched on other common habitats by reading the books Frog in a Bog*, The Young Scientist Investigates Pond Life, and The Hidden Life of the Meadow.
*Our favorite ones.
I don't think two weeks was long enough to explore habitat. We will for sure have to come back to this on our own again.
Now head over to Blissful Moments to see what she and others did this week to explore habitat. Any other young nature explorers out there? Check out the next topic: forest layers (which will make a lovely extension of our study on forest habitat!).

Going on a Safari (with Apologia that is)

11/16/2009
. . . of the 6th day that is.
"We are going on a safari. A safari is where we go across a stretch of land. You see lots of things like snakes, tracks of animals and lots of other things!" ~ Nathan
We miss Apologia, so I realized that we can just make the switch back. (What a revelation).
I also realized that it was time to break up the boys. Jordan needs to move up a level. So, Nathan and Dylan are continuing on with Zoology 3 and Jordan will do Apologia General Science. I will share more about what Jordan is doing as we finish module 1 (which is about 4 weeks long).
I won't post weekly about science, but I will mention what we are working on in our highlights post.
So, for my middle boys, we are going on a safari with Apologia Elementary's Exploring Creation with Land Animals of the 6th Day. This week we designed our notebook cover (Nathan's is pictured above) and completed the notebooking pages from Notebooking2Learn Science yahoo group. The pages are cute with a newspaper layout to them.
Inside this weeks issue:
  • God Made the Animals
  • Predators and Prey
  • Creation Confirmation
  • Studying Animals
  • Habituation
  • Animal Careers
  • Zoologist
  • Pet Careers
We did a fun little experiment to learn about Natural Selection (not to be confused with evolution). Or it can be called Survival of the Species. Nathan chose to title his experiment "Yum! Yum!" (Candy bars are a rarity in our home [on my watch that is] and were bought for this experiment, so it made for a fun first lesson).
First, they tore up several different pieces of construction paper to make an animal habitat. Second, they sorted the "animals" to make sure they had an equal number. Then they mixed the "animals" in with their habitat (the colored paper) and made their hypothesis.
The Procedure.
Nathan thought the Mr.Goodbar and the Krackel would be the easiest to spot since they were lighter in color ~ meaning they would be the first to die off because they would be easy prey for a predator. (I can't find Dylan's lab sheet as I type this, and don't remember what he hypothesized).
Then they searched for 15 seconds to see how many they find of each. (The original experiment called for 2 minutes with M&M's, but we don't eat those and the organic kind [Sunspire Drops] cost more than I want to spend.)
Of course being the predator was much fun.
Let the hunt begin.
It was a great first lesson and we are happy to be back to our "plan".

Instant Challenge #3: Cup Holder

11/15/2009

Here is our Instant Challenge for this week! If you missed it, be sure to see my introductory post for rules and more information. I will post a linky with our solution in one week. You will then be able to link up until the next challenge is posted.

Instant Challenge #3: Cup Holder

Go ahead and add a 2 minute brainstorming time to the challenge. They cannot touch the materials during this time, but they can make a plan. Then restart the timer and let them begin. {Note: This is not in the original challenge. I also added 2 minutes to step one. If you are working with an older or experienced student, then you should consider going with a time limit of 5 minutes for step one}.

Tip of the Week:

Go through the scoring section and have the team (not you) score themselves on each of the things listed. Ask why they would give themselves that score. Ask if they can think of anything that would improve their score.

You may find it helpful to keep a running list of the things the team decides would improve their score. Review this list with the team before each Instant Challenge they do. If the team consistently forgets things on the list, assign specific team members to remember them for each challenge.

If time allows and the team has discussed a better way of solving the challenge, give them more time to solve it. This ends the practice on a good note and it gives the team a great opportunity to develop skills.

So, are you up for a challenge?

Instant Challenge #2: Boat Race Solutions


If you missed it, be sure to see my introductory post for rules and more information!


Challenge: Your task is to create a boat that will race across the water as quickly as possible.

The Set Up:


A table with materials:
  • 3 straws
  • 10 craft sticks
  • 3 styrofoam cups
  • 3 marshmallows
  • 1 piece of string
  • 1 piece fo foil
  • 3 mailing labels
  • 2 chenille sticks
  • 1 piece of paper

And a tub of {cold} water with a taped line. {Mental note to self: don't use hot soapy water to race your boat made with marshmallows. Better yet, don't try to multi-task and do dishes and set up for an instant challenge at the same time. Or else you will forget to shut off the water and the sink will overflow and you will have the bright idea to use the dish water for the challenge and the water will melt the marshmallows. lol}

Time: 2 minute brainstorming session followed by 8 minutes to create the boat and up to 2 minutes to race.

Nathan (11) and Dylan (9) worked together on this challenge.

They divided up the tasks and they decided that Nathan would work on the boat . . .


. . . while Dylan worked on the sail.



Attaching the sail to the boat.


The boat is finished, now for the race . . .

It floats!


Ooops, not for long. {The sail is top heavy} "But, wait!" Nathan says. "That is just the sail. We still have a boat!"

So they race their boat across the water. It still moves but not as quickly as it would with a sail. {I had to remind them to stay behind the line} {Shortly after they raced the marshmallows began to melt from the hot water.}

Their score:
  • 10 pts for having a boat at the end of part 1.
  • 15 out of 30 pts for how fast their boat raced across the water. {Would have been quicker with a sail).
  • 10 out of 20 points for how creatively their boat raced across the water. {They blew the boat. But after the race they had tug-o-war races with the boat. They each stood on each side of the tub and blew to see who could get the boat to the other side. Nothing to do with the challenge really but I though it was a creative game}
  • 15 out of 20 pts for how creatively they used the materials. {They did well overall, but did not use all of their materials ~ the string fell on the floor}
  • 20 out of 20 points for how well they worked together. {I loved how they divided up the tasks and worked on each part and then assembled it. I also liked how they did not give up when the sail fell.}
Total: 70 points out of 100.

I think this challenge was a fun one. (They had plenty of time to complete it.) If I had written my tip for this week last week, I would have had them try it again to see if they could make a sail.

Was anyone else up for a challenge this week? You are welcome to link up until I post the solution for our next challenge!


Malachi's boat. *Ü*

This week's Instant Challenge: Cup Holder.
 
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