A week in review, June 23 to 29

A fun week. A full week. I hope not every week is this busy.

We built a fort from ‘craft sticks’. Yes, Little Man wielded the glue for most of the building.

Glue!

Glue!

Concentrate...

Concentrate…

Towards the end, I just let him build it himself. It has a very creative design, I must say.

The fort.

The fort.

He decided at one point that he didn’t have enough blocks.

Look at what I built!

Look at what I built!

We tried some ‘giant bubble solution’. It might be because I wasn’t using actual blue Dawn, but they most all popped as soon as they came off the bubble blowing device. The string-straw device didn’t work all that great, though perhaps my straws were wimpier than the ones another blogger used.

string and straw bubble blowing

string and straw bubble blowing

The PVC pipe made the best bubbles and was easiest to use. I knew I was keeping that short bit around for some reason!

PVC pipe bubble blowing

PVC pipe bubble blowing

Standing on ones hands has become a key skill to be developed in our house these days.

I LOVE standing on my hands!

I LOVE standing on my hands!

I finally got *both* of my sewing machines in for repairs. Though while checking them in at the store, I found that one machine didn’t have a pressure foot. So, back the next day we went to drop off the pressure foot. We had some time, so we stayed to look. I was totally eyeing up a serger and the gal offered to demonstrate it for me. Little Man wasn’t being the most cooperative, so she said to an early-teens-or-so gal to go get the box of toys. Then the gal sat down and played with Little Man while her mom, turns out, demonstrated the use of the serger. When the gal got bored, her brother stepped in and he and Little Man built trucks, trains and buildings from duplos. And I got to see a new serger in action. If you are in Waco, and are in need of sewing machine service or are wanting to buy a machine, go to the Bernina store on Waco Drive. I was very impressed with their service.

I ended up tossing the water bottle. I found a crack along the bottom, which sealed its fate. :::sigh:::

New microbe found eating Gulf oil spill – Disaster in the Gulf – msnbc.com

New microbe found eating Gulf oil spill – Disaster in the Gulf – msnbc.com:

This is the most beautiful thing! There is a critter that EATS oil. Sure, there are always issues with some specific critter suddenly flourishing above and beyond anything its done before, but when the resource is gone, the population will decrease. My students thought this was the coolest thing ever. Probably helps that I was just about jumping up and down with excitement over it. If there is a niche to be filled, something will fill it. Such total coolness.
Add to it… BP was funding the $500 million, 10 year grant. Hmmmm…. I’ve doubted how ‘evil’ BP might be, and this points to more ‘stupidity’ involved in this leak than evilness.
I wonder what next cool thing we will discover!

Regrets and Plans, part 2

Last year wasn’t all bad, was it?

You might feel the desire to ask this question after reading Regrets and Plans, part 1. No, last year wasn’t all bad; there were somethings that went quite well and I hope to redo these things.

1. We had lots of fun demonstrations and hands on learning, especially in grammar 4 and 5. Grammar 4 is an introduction to physics. Yes, 9 and 10 year olds learning physics. We didn’t do any of the math (they learned about decimal points and such that year in math), but covered most of the basic topics. That meant lots and lots of building things and seeing things happen. We built a paddle boat out of paper milk cartons to see elastic potential energy at work (used rubber band to attach the paddle and make the paddle go). We let a toy car roll down an incline and smash a banana to see gravitational potential energy at work (we raised the incline to see how high it had to be to smash the banana). Grammar 5 was an introduction to chemistry. Yeppers, 10 and 11 year olds doing chemistry! We made gak, we burned various salts in solution to see their colors, we put together a density tube, and any number of other ‘experiments’. It was tons of fun.

2. I let the students ask all the questions they wanted. The grammar 4 students were the best at this, they were so good that I asked Hubby, a physics/astronomer nerd, to come and answer their questions. The kids loved it. They asked about black holes, why Pluto wasn’t planet, was their life on other planets, will our sun ever run out, and on and on. The first time I let them just ask questions was a day we were reading about… gosh, I forget… but the students just started asking good questions. It was hard shutting it down when our time was up, they had so many more questions. After that, when I felt particularly busy, I’d dedicate a class to just Q and A. The older students weren’t as into this, but that’s okay. We still took rabbit trails through various topics. One class we were reading about designer molecules, and synthetic DNA was one molecule we read a brief paragraph about. Someone asked about cloning, and then someone asked if we could clone humans. We talked about what questions we should ask about morality and ethics when it came to cloning, as well as the physical/scientific questions.

3. We had some fun field trips. We went to the Waco Wet Lands (grammar 5 and 6) and I took the grammar 4 students to the Mayborn Museum. Must… do… more….

These are big things that are very big-picture oriented. I want these things to continue.