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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Art : Draw Squad - Lesson 2 Portfolio

Just as one needs to practice his arithmetics or piano or writing or reading regularly to improve. I believe one also has to practice DRAWING regularly!

We only have one piano. So, while one boy practices his piano, the other boy practices his drawing. So far this arrangement has worked out quite nicely.

Here are a few of my boys' completed drawings using Draw Squad by Mark Kistler. These are from lesson 2 of his book.

Visit Rumphius Webpage Art to learn more about how we approach Art in our homeschool.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Copywork & Dictation : Pythagoras of Samos

As a follow-up to our study of Pythagoras, we read a chapter from the book Mathematicians Are People Too. Vol. 1 by Reiner and Reiner. This account focuses on Pythagoras as an adult and a teacher. We learned a little about the school he established. The practices of his "secret brotherhood" was a little disturbing. Nevertheless, I took the chance to discuss how the beliefs of different people can cause them to do strange things. It was eye-opening for my boys.

This is the paragraph I selected for copywork and dictation:

"All right. We'll start tomorrow. But remember, I need daily wages."

The next day the strange pair began their first lesson in the alley where they had met, amidst the cries of merchants and the mingled smells of fish, freshly baked honey cakes, and sweating donkeys carrying goods to sell. While the townspeople shopped and gossiped, Pythagoras and his student squatted in the dirt. The eager teacher drew shapes and figures on the ground. To Philocrates, it was all new but intriguing. And just as he promised, at the end of the day Pythagoras paid.

The following are words whose meanings the boys had to check:


Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

History / Geometry Session 3 : Pythagoras of Samos

Pythagoras of Samos is the next ancient Greek we are studying. He lived about 560 - 480 BC. He was a philosopher and mathematician. He is most famous for the Pythagoras theorem he discovered.

The picture book What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? by Ellis and Hornung made a good introduction to this great mathematician and his theorem. The boys were mesmerized by the story. As such their written narration (later posted on their own blogs! - See my post on Blogging) just flowed out of them quite spontaneously. I had initially assigned them to narrate just one part of the story, but they insisted on narrating almost the whole story!

Pythagoras was portrayed as a smart lad who helped the adults solve their problems. In reading the book, we gathered that in ancient times, builders use a rope with knots tied at regular intervals to find or check for right angles. The rope is a loop that can be pulled to make a triangle with 3,4 and 5 intervals on each respective side. We tried to make just such a rope. Here it is:

Pythagoras chanced on the theorem [(square of a) + (square of b) = (square of c)] when he was laying tiles around a right angle triangular base. We also tried to do the same here with our cuisenaire rods:

We were hoping to make more types of right triangles with our rods. I wrote the whole list of square numbers 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100, 121, 144. We stared at this list hoping to find two smaller square numbers that would add up to a bigger square numbers but couldn't. So we gave up.

The boys were introduced to square numbers in their Miquon Lab sheets. So this was not new to them.

My aim for this session was to introduce Pythagoras. I didn't expect my boys to be well-versed with the theorem. I was satisfied that they could understand that when we know the lengths of the two sides of a right triangle that make the right angle, we can calculate the length of the longest side (the hypotenuse). The specifics of actually calculating is beyond their level.

I am confident they'll recall what we have read about Pythagoras when we actually do have to master the theorem later. He will at least be a familiar "friend", not merely a dead and distant mathematician.

Visit Rumphius Mathematics Webpage or History Webpage to find out more about how we approach Mathematics or History in our homeschool.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Blogging and Typing

I have grown to like blogging after almost three months at it.

My main reason for blogging was to have a digital record of our homeschool days. Previously, I was recording, with the help of a program called Homeschool Tracker, the material I used and the time we spent on each activity. The program was great and I felt good for a while. But on looking back at the records I have collected thus far, they just seem pretty meaningless to me.

In blogging, however, I get to record what we learn, read about, and what our experiences and thoughts were. In other words, at the end of the day, I get a personal journal of the highlights of my homeschool days. These things are what I want to remember my homeschool days by; not a list of numbers. What's more? Blogging also allows me to share my ideas and resources with other like-minded homeschoolers.

Looks like I will be at it for quite a while more :-)

It then occurred to me that perhaps my children would also enjoy blogging as much as I have. They have seen me blogged. And there were times when I will tell them my plans about what I intend to blog about. They must have caught some of my excitement because they subsequently asked me if they could have their own blogs too!

I was more than willing to help them start one. So far, it has all turned out very well.

My beginner writers now write because they WANT to, and not because mummy said they HAVE to. They even have their own ideas about what topics they want to post. I respect their views of course.

I must admit that I have used blogging as a carrot to motivate them to write. My boys have been used to giving oral narrations after our read aloud sessions. I am starting them out with written narrations. Resistance was great at first. Now, I tell them they can post their written narrations on their blogs and that had been received with great cheer.

The other advantage to blogging is that my boys are now motivated to learn to type the proper way. I have previously started them on a series of typing lessons. But at that time, there wasn't a real need for them to type fast. They were happy typing with their pointers. They weren't interested in completing the lessons. Now that they are blogging, they WANT to learn to type. In fact, they picked up typing (using an online program) in just ONE WEEK!

It is amazing what a difference intrinsic motivation makes to the ease of learning.

So, if you have wee ones at home struggling to write or type, start them blogging!

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Art : Watercolour - Colour Mixing Triangle

I was reading another blog and found a link to a site that had this activity - Colur Mixing Triangle. I knew that was what I wanted to do the moment I set eyes on it.

I was looking for a good excuse to create more opportunities for my boys to mix colours and just play around with paints. How else can they learn to mix the exact colours they need when they are really painting a picture?!

I had in mind to do this activity about a week ago but thought I might as well take advantage of the fact that I will be introducing the concept of Triangles in Mathematics to sneak that in. I wanted to cover Triangles for Mathematics because I planned to learn about key historical Greek figures in ancient Greece. And how can one not talk about triangles when you want to learn about Pythagoras? ... One thing just leads on to another.

I get very excited when I see everything I planned just relate and gel up so nicely. I always believe God's hand is in bringing just the right resources to my attention at just the right moment! This kind of "coincidences" happens too often to be shoved aside as pure coincidence.

So here I am. I have taught my boys how to use the compass to draw equilateral triangles. (See my post on Triangles.) We used the wax from a candle to waterproof the insides of the triangles. I had a chance to explain how God also protects leaves by coating them with a waxy cuticle layer to waterproof them .... Science thrown in as well ;-) We did the rest of the activity as suggested. We did also try mixing more colours (other than the primary colours).

I talked as I showed them what to do, saying something to the effect of "Sometimes when we are painting the leaves on a plant (put a blotch of green), we might see it under strong yellow sunlight (blotch the yellow and blend). But sometimes if we paint it at dusk, we might see tinges of blue (blotch the blue and blend)."

The project looked easy enough. The challenge was to keep our brushes uncontaminated with paints of other colours. I have to constantly remind my boys to wash their brushes. It doesn't come naturally to them but that's okay. We are all learning :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mathematics : Geometry Session 2 - Triangles

This lesson is a continuation of my previous Geometry Session. (See my post on Geometry Session 1)

After a short review of the concepts covered in the previous session, I began with introducing different types of triangles, namely acute isosceles, obtuse isosceles, right-angle, equiangular/equilateral and scalene triangles.

Before this session, my boys have already had a chance to play around with a compass to draw circles. This time, I challenged them to construct an equilateral triangle with a fixed length. They tried hard but could only figure out how to construct an isosceles triangle. That was when I impressed them with how to construct an equilateral triangle using a compass and ruler.

They were excited and could not wait to try it out themselves! Thereafter, I gave them a large drawing paper and told them to construct many equilateral triangles. I needed these triangles for our next Art assignment ;-) Watch out for my post on that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

English / History - Copywork & Dictation : Parthenon, Temple of Athena

From Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton...

A feeling of awe comes over us... we are standing before something more than just a famous ruin - it is the ruin of the finest monument of the world's Golden Age, when men worshiped beauty. We know we tread on sacred ground. The greatest geniuses of ancient Greece have moved across this same pavement - sculptors, artists, teachers, writers, warriors.

We wander down the tall row of columns. How worn they are by twenty-three centuries of wind and rain, how scarred by battle! But now in the late afternoon sun they glow with life. We look out between the columns towards the shining Aegean Sea, and find that the very light has turned a lilac colour which bathes every stone about us with the same lovely shade.

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Science : Robotics Workshops at SSC

Last week the boys, together with about 38 other homeschoolers, attended 2 robotics workshops at the Singapore Science Centre. The specific workshops were RoboSports and Dr. Heartbeat & the NXT-bots.

I was hoping I could learn a thing or two as well but unfortunately, parents were LOCKED out (literally!) of the classroom :-(

All I could do was peek through the glass doors.

The children were all-eared during the briefing session and very focused when they were given tasks to do. It was a good opportunity for them to do some group work as they had to work in groups of three. I could see their faces light up with excitement when they saw their robots performing what they were programmed to do.

The robotic set that was used in the workshop was Lego Mindstorm NXT. The programming was done purely by clicking, dragging and dropping icons; simple enough for a 7 year old.

Obviously, they had a wild time in there.

"Can we buy that Lego set?" was the question I know will be asked. And true enough. It was.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reading Record Book - Anniversary Report

Exactly this day last year, I started the boys in recording the details of the books they have read. And exactly one year after, they have read an average of 368 books! That is about a book a day.

They started out reading beginner readers like the Berenstain Bear Series. Initially, they could read as much as 7 books a day. But they have since then progressed through from Sonlight K readers to its Year 2 readers now. They are currently going for the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne and the Orchard Classics Shakespeare Stories retold by Andrew Matthews.

I have been careful not to emphasize on the number of books read but rather the enjoyment of each book. It is my guess that they will not be able to hit 368 books the coming year as the chapter books they are reading will obviously take longer to complete.

Here are their TOP 12 Books that they enjoyed most. (I wanted them to give me a top 10 but they insisted they want 12!)

D's Top 12 Books:
Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover
Dolphin Adventure by Wayne Grover
Knights of the Round Table Retold by Gwen Gross
Hamlet by Shakespeare retold by Andrew Matthews
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
Alexander the Great by Jane Bingham
Night of the Ninjas by Mary Pope Osborne
Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne
Henry V by Shakespeare retold by Andrew Matthews
Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis
Jack's Tree by Georgia Byng
Tigers at Twilight by Mary Pope Osborne

B's Top 12 Books:
Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover
Dolphin Adventure by Wayne Grover
The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds
Max Malone Makes a Million by Charlotte Herman
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Micheal Morpurgo
The Boy Who Held Back the Sea by Lenny Hort and Thomas Locker
The Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis
The Drinking Gourd by F. N. Monjo
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh
Knights of the Round Table Retold by Gwen Gross
Alexander the Great by Jane Bingham

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mathematics : Geometry Session 1

I was reading the picture book, The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky the other day (See my post on Eratosthenes) and came across some geometry concepts that the boys could not understand.

They could understand why the angle created in the middle of the Earth between the two cities was needed to find the circumference. They just couldn't comprehend how Eratosthenes measured that angle.

I have decided to attempt to give a brief introduction to basic geometry just so they could understand what clever Eratosthenes did to measure the circumference of the Earth without any modern technologyl!

I don't have any curriculum or teaching material to fall back on so I had to just cook something up. Here's what I tried to deliver in our first geometry session.
  • I told my boys to draw two intersecting lines.
  • Taught them how to use the protractor to measure angles. (eg. measure angle b)
  • Introduce the terms: acute, obtuse and right angles (I need them to know these because I would be reading a book about Pythagoras soon! He is another Greek mathematician.)
  • They already knew that 2 right angles make 180 degrees so it was not hard for them to see that two adjacent angles on a straight line make a total of 180 degrees. (eg. a + b = 180) I made them calculate adjacent angles (eg. angle c)
  • The amazing things was that when I asked them to measure the opposite angle (eg. angle d), D immediately said there is no need to measure because the opposite angles "are the same". My eyes nearly popped out. Wow! This was easier than I thought!
I was tempted to go on and on but appealed to my keener senses and decided that this was enough for a 7-year-old in one session! I left them to happily draw intersecting lines, measure angles and calculate angles while I slipped into the kitchen to prepare lunch. They were amused the WHOLE time!

Now, I will have to think of what I need to teach next...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

History : Greek Jars

We read that a Greek amphora was a two-handled jar with a flared neck, usually made big enough to hold about 10 gallons of olive oil. To win one was such an honour that some athletes were buried with the amphoras they had won! We were thus inspired to make our very own miniature Greek amphora.

However, we were faced with some challenges.

We used a air-drying red clay to make our replicas. This clay was leftover from our Sumeriam cuineform tablets project some months ago. They have hardened significantly and have become extremely crumbly. So we could not shape our jars to have the flared necks as planned. Instead, we used a disposable plastic cup to stick our patchy clay onto it just to get the shape right. (I read about this method from a project book but didn't like the idea at first. But it looked like that was the only way to go with this sort of clay.)

We had to change the whole design of the jar after that. No handles were added because our clay was just impossible to shape. After an hour of shaping, we did end up with something that looked like a jar. These were left to dry before we removed the plastic cup inside and continued with some more patching.

Unfortunately, at this point, B's jar rolled off the table and cracked. It was too badly damaged that it was now impossible to repair. I had to be quick to think of a way to console him. I assured him that it was alright because we could pretend that the broken pieces were excavated from a Greek acheological site. It would be fun to piece our "ancient artifacts" together again; just like what real archeologists do.

He liked the idea a lot and was wholehearted in completing his decorations!

We searched for authentic Greek designs. Many of the pictures of Greek jars showed drawings of athletes in action or pictures from Greek mythology. These I thought would be too difficult to reproduce, so we decided to try the simple geometric designs that were typical of the jars in the Dark Ages of Greek history.

So here are the end products - our ancient Greek treasures; one a "rare" complete piece and the other, pieced up together from broken relics ;-)

This just goes to show that not all our little projects go smoothly as planned. Hiccups here and there sometimes force us to change our plans completely. Isn't life like this all the time?! Being flexible makes life so much easier to bear...

B is now enjoying taking his broken jar apart to reassemble. :-) And they look forward to really making an amphora. (er... if we have the time?!...)

Visit Rumphius History Webpage to find out more about how we approach History in our homeschool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Owls in the Family

From Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat...

There was an almighty splash and spray flew every which way. By the time we raced across and fished him out, he was half-drowned, and about the sickest-looking bird you ever saw. His feathers were plastered down until he looked as skinny as a plucked chicken. The slimy black mud hadn't improved his looks much either.

I carried him ashore, but he didn't thank me for it. His feelings were hurt worse than he was, and after he had shaken most of the water out of his feathers he went gallumphing off through the woods, toward home on foot (he was too wet to fly), without a backward glance.

Dictionary checks for this chapter:
1. hobo
2. mob
3. torment
4. holler
5. delibrately
6. gallumph

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Inspirational Blogs

I have been drawing inspiration from a fellow homeschool mother who blogs about how she uses Charlotte Mason's methods in Art, Music and Nature Study. In her blog she gives practical tips, recommendations, reviews, weekly assignments and tutorials.

Visit her blog and be encouraged

Her other blog has blessed me too. If you are like me, trying to figure out how to use The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, then you'll not want to miss out on gleaning from her experience.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Art : Experiment with Wet-on-wet and Salt

My boys and I have been dabbling quite a bit with watercolours. It is quite a challenging medium to use. We decided to try out various techniques that we have read about.

This is our attempt at using the wet-on-wet technique. The paper is wet before paint is applied.

These are the results of sprinkling table salt onto a moist wash and left to dry. Notice the star-like patches.

These natural patterns can be useful for creating effects on actual paintings. I have seen it used in paintings of rocks and water sprays. We will need to experiment more by varying degree of wetness, amount of salt used, size of salt crystals etc. We did try some of these out and used up about 12 sheets of paper!

I am sure it has never occurred to you that Art can be quite a science as well!

Visit Rumphius Webpage Art to find out more about how we approach Art in our homeschool.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Science : Botany - Leaf Arrangement

We are still in the chapter on Leaf for our Botany study; going really slow here. There are just a number of concepts that will take time to digest. I feel that it will defeat the purpose if I just zoom through the chapter just to get it crossed on my checklist.

As it is now, we read about one concept, notebook about it, perform some little experiments, talk about it as we walk around and as I try to point out the relevance of what we have learnt in real life.

We are now on the topic of leaf arrangements, shapes and margins. Here is a sample of the notebook pages my boys did:

All the various arrangements, shapes and margin types are reinforced again as they match the Montessori style 3-part cards I made...

I found a Leaf Bingo Game from the internet that helps us with review. This added an element of fun. To play the game, players must know the meanings of such words as pinnate, palmate, serrated, monocot and compound leaves.

I didn't mind that the leaves used are all of native American trees/plants. It just turn out to be a good introduction to the American species that are so often mentioned in many books that we have read and are going to read anyway. Of course, it would be nice if we have a local version. I guess I can come up with one... if only I can find the time to do it!

Visit Rumphius Science Webpage to find out how we approach Science in our homeschool.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Math / History : Prime Numbers & Eratosthenes

Our current Miquon labsheets are exploring the concepts of prime numbers and factors. The use of our cuisenaire rods had made it very easy for the boys to visualize these.

For enrichment, we read from an entertaining Math book called The Further Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas. There is a chapter in the book where Penrose the cat illustrated the concept of prime numbers and factors by arranging square tiles and explained how the name "composite numbers" was derived.

The chapter ends with a challenge to use 'The Sieve of Eratosthenes' to find the prime numbers from 1 to 100. This is my boys' untidy :-P but mathematically correct working:

In the process of crossing out the composite numbers to find the prime numbers (that are circled), we talked about even numbers, multiples of a number and number divisibility.

Since Eratosthenes happened to be a Greek mathematician who lived from 275 B.C. to 194 B.C. (the Greek era we are currently at for our History study), we decided to read more about him.

We read a beautifully written picture book, The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky. The language used is very rich. The mathematical concepts discussed are a little beyond the boys now. (It covers a fair bit of geometry.) Nevertheless, my boys found the book engaging because it gives a very vivid description of ancient Greek culture.

They were thrilled to see the familiar Greek pottery in the illustrations. (We are half way making our Greek jars at the moment. Watch out for my post on that...)

Eratosthenes was described as being a child who loved and dared to ask questions.
B: Hey, isn't he just like Socrates?! (See my past post on Socrates)
Mama: Yes. :-)

We will surely be revisiting this book.

Visit Rumphius Mathematics Webpage or History Webpage to find out more about how we approach Mathematics or History in our homeschool.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Science : BFSU - A3 - Air Is a Subtance

We investigated on the 2 main properties of air:
1. Air takes up space
2. Air has weight (mass).

The boys each gave their own written narration of what we did by making a mini book about the properties of air.

Visit Rumphius Science Webpage to find out how we approach Science in our homeschool.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Battle of Marathon

From Story of the World Vol. 1 by Susan Wise Bauer...

When the Persian army landed, they launched thousands of arrows at the Athenian army. But the men of Athens charged through the arrows and attacked the Persians. The Persians were so startled and disorganized that they lost the battle! They were forced to retreat.

When the Athenians saw that they had won the battle, they sent a runner back to Athens, to tell the people who were anxiously waiting at home that the Persian threat had been driven back. The runner, Pheidippides, ran over twenty-six miles, up steep hills and through rough country, to reach Athens. When he arrived at the city, he gasped out, "We have won!" And then - according to legend - he died of exhaustion.

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to find out more about how we approach English in our homeschool.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

History : Greek Paper Dolls

When I was planning our History lesson on Greek Wars, I didn't think much of the making of paper dolls activity suggested in the Story of the World Activity book. I made photocopies of the doll anyway, ... just in case.

Lo and behold, they were snatched and worked on even before the paper had a chance to cool off after rolling out of my printer! What's more, I haven't even read aloud the chapter on Greek Wars! Haha... That is the problem I face; I do not have the privacy that school teachers have to prepare lessons.

My boys conscientiously cut, coloured and assemble the dolls while I was busy preparing dinner.

They were more interested in the warriors obviously. I had to persuade them to complete the lady dolls as well. They did those quite unwillingly at first but found them useful afterwards when they were role-playing because at least now Odysseus and Hector has a Helen to fight over ;-)

They took quite a lot of pains in choosing names for their dolls; reread some portions of their history books and other story books with Greek themes to find the bravest Greek warrior. It was quite hilarious initially because they insisted on calling one Robin Hood. To that, my respond was, "No, no. Wrong era!"

I managed to sneak in some Mathematics as they were constructing their dolls. They needed to prop the dolls up with triangular bases. I had a chance to introduce such terms as right-angle triangles, isosceles triangles and equilateral triangles.

That night, they made me promise to read the chapter on Greek Wars the next day.

All in all, this turned out to be a rather fruitful session.

Visit Rumphius History Webpage to learn more about how we approach History in our homeschool.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

CCA : Taekwando Grading

Today, my boys had their Taekwando grading. If they pass this level, they will obtain their green belts.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Life Skill : Peeling Orange

It is heartwarming to know that my boys are old enough to make themselves useful at home. Of course, they have been helping out around the house quite a fair bit with packing, cleaning, folding of laundered clothes and such tasks.

Recently, D has decided he wanted to try to peel an orange himself. He was motivated by his love for the fruit, a mama that is too lazy to peel for him :-p and a brand new peeler. He worked very hard at it; sprayed juice in his eyes and poked his fingers during the attempt. I was surprised that even after all that hard work, he was willing to share the orange with his brother and I. There were 10 wedges in it. He gave me 4, his brother 3 and 3 for himself! Wow, that was certainly good sharing! I am so proud of him.

D had been designated the officially orange peeler of our family! :-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fun at Rumphius : Forest Adventure

While most school-going children are hibernating at home, preparing for their year-end examinations, we homeschoolers were in the great outdoors, tightrope walking at 5 meters above the ground!

Here are the proofs of our feat.

You would have thought this is a circus training right? ;-)

This multiple swings (according to my boys) was the most challenging of them all.

Whizzing down the Flying Fox was the grand finale...

The boys enjoyed themselves so much. It was a unanimous "Can we come again?"!

It was especially fun because they got to do all that with their friends.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

English - Copywork & Dictation : Meadow People - The Lazy Snail

I read aloud a chapter, A Lazy Snail, from Among the Meadow People by Clara Dillingham Pierson. The boys then gave an oral narration of the chapter.

Here's the paragraph the boys had to copy and learn for dictation:
In the lower part of the meadow, where the grass grew tall and tender, there lived a fine and sturdy young Snail; that is to say, a fine-looking Snail. His shell was a beautiful soft gray, and its curves were regular and perfect. His body was soft and moist, and just what a Snail's body should be. Of course, when it came to travelling, he could not go fast, for none of his family are rapid travellers, still, if he had been plucky and patient, he might have seen much of the meadow, and perhaps some of the world outside. His friends and neighbours often told him that he ought to start out on a little journey to see the sights, but he would always answer, "Oh, it is too hard work!"

And the boys had to check the meanings of these words in the dictionary:
1. sturdy
2. regular
3. rapid
4. plucky
5. spells
6. rivulet

Visit Rumphius English Webpage to learn how we approach English in our homeschool.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Science - BFSU : A2 Solids, Liquids and Gases

I have just started using the lessons from Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) by Bernard J. Nebal.

My boys had fun rushing all over the house to find things that are solid, liquid or gas respectively. It was a time of dashing around with choking laughter to see who gets to collect more things. It is so easy to amuse them :-) Of course a thorough discussion followed after that. We did some other fun activities that were suggested as well.

Today, I assigned the boys to design a crossword puzzle each. Their task was to create their own clues for ten words and then arrange them in a crossword puzzle style. The words are:
1. solid
2. liquid
3. gas
4. matter
5. shape
6. mass
7. space
8. temperature
9. melt
10. freeze

Their clues went something like this, "Solid has a definite _____, but liquid does not." or "Matter takes up _____."

They were high-spirited throughout the whole process because they couldn't wait to present each other with the puzzle they designed. Daddy was not spared too. :-)

In fact, Daddy decided to quiz them on the topic after he completed their crossword puzzles.

Daddy: What do you get when you mix a solid with a liquid?
B: You get a wet solid.
Daddy: Can you give me an example?
B: No, you get a gas.
Daddy: Example?
D: Hey, you know the balloon experiment we did!
Daddy: Yes, tell me about it.
D: We put baking soda in vinegar and there was gas that came out. It filled the balloon.
B: Oh yes! Actually we still have the bottle with the balloon on it. (He ran to get the bottle.)
Mummy: Look the liquid has turned white!
Daddy: Looks like something has settled at the bottom.

So it turned out that a possible answer to Daddy's question of what do you get when you mix a solid with a liquid is you get a solid, liquid and gas! Well, if you think hard, there are several possible answers...

Daddy also asked the boys to identify which state of matter sand, poop(lots of giggles here) and jelly are. We were a bit stumped by the jelly one. So we have decided to design and carry out an experiment to decide. Wow, this is getting exciting!

We also took the opportunity to quiz Daddy on which state of matter glass is. Of course Daddy got that right. Actually, we read in a book that glass was supposed to be a liquid. More correctly, glass is a supercooled liquid. The boys know this for a fact but didn't understand why. I couldn't quite explain either. Still thinking... hmm.... ... ...

Visit Rumphius Science Webpage to find out how we approach Science in our homeschool.
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