Monday, September 30, 2013

Australia Unit Week 1

Today we began our unit on Australia. The girls watched several videos about the Aborigine people, learned to locate Australia on the globe and learned about several native animals to the continent. We discussed marsupials and what they are and how they carry their young in pouches. The girls were surprised to learn that not just baby kangaroos are called Joeys.

We also touched briefly on the Great Barrier Reef. Throughout the next two weeks we will expand on what we learned about this reef in our Oceans unit. 

Our craft for the day was making didgeridoos. Each of the girls decorated their didgeridoo and then proceeded to make music with it. If it could be called that. I'm not sure I would agree that, that is music. Life has been a whirlwind lately and I don't have a lot of links, but I will share our pictures of the learning that took place today.


A few links you might be interested in.

Marsupials and other Australian subjects from Homeschoolshare

Printable map of Australia

Unit study on Australia with complete layout for each day of unit

Hope you enjoy your study of The land Down Under! We certainly are.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Polar Regions Week 2

Some days are winners and some are days the kids can't sit still and it's like trying to herd a can of worms! Today we started our second week of our Polar Regions unit. I suppose I had one too many videos for the girls to watch. I think I was clued in when I heard them ask is this almost over! Ha Ha It was interesting to us adults, but I think it was a bit long for them to sit through. The highlight of the day was our experiment on why the ocean doesn't freeze solid. This was the second experiment we have done like this. We did a similar one last week. The girls all wanted to stick their finger in the water and see how long they could stand to leave it in there. Silly girls! Tee Hee.

We began by learning about the magnetic and geographic North Pole.

We learned about the ARCTIC WOLF

Why doesn't the ocean freeze solid?

Look is that frost forming?

The girls had so much fun learning that salt lowers the freezing temperature of water. What I think they really had fun doing though is sticking their finger into the cccold water and seeing who could stand it the longest. Some times kids find things to be extremely fun and educational that adults find ordinary. Just another aspect to use to learn by. Using all our senses whenever we can really brings the learning home!
Why are the oceans salty?

How cccold is that water?

 We decided learning about latitude and longitude would be a good fit for this unit so we started out watching this video clip. It kept the girls in fits of giggles and it is pretty funny!

                                                   Latitude and Longitude explained.

                                                                 Arctic Wolf howling.

                                                            Arctic Wolf babies.

A few more resources we used that you might be interested in.

Latitude and Longitude worksheets

Enchanted Learning worksheets on polar explorers and arctic animals worksheets and pages on arctic animals

National Geographic polar bear video

A pdf on Bugcicles and hibernation

Polar Bear sensory bin and other polar bear ideas

Page with lots of ideas for polar animal crafts

You can find more ideas on my Homeschool pinterest boards here and here.  Also here and here you can find maps on latitude and longitude and the compass rose.

You can find a few more videos I have pinned here.

Hope you have as much fun as we are having learning about the Polar Regions, Polar Explorers, arctic animals, latitude and longitude and where the North Pole really is located.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Osmosis, An Accidental Experiment

Last week we finished our unit study of the world's oceans. We had a surprise or accidental experiment last night when the girls notice that one of those starfish toys that you put in water and it swells to way larger than it was to begin with had shrunk. It had been sitting in a bowl of water for the past week. They couldn't figure it out because a few days ago it had increased to three times the original size. They kept questioning why it had suddenly shrunk. Then McKenna looked at the water. That's when we discovered that little Miss McLarin had added salt to the water. A lot of salt!

We did a little investigating and learned that this was due to osmosis. When the toy had increased in size water was more abundant in the cells or fibers of the toy. Adding salt caused the water to be drawn into the salt water and out of the toy. The toy had more water and less salt and the water outside the toy had way more salt. Apparently the cells of this toy starfish were trying to equalize the amount of water inside and outside of itself.

The girls starfish toy has shrunk a size or two from the size it was a few days ago, but is still larger than when it was put into the water. How's that for a cool accidental experiment?

The picture of me holding the toy starfish
helps show the actual size of the starfish.
When it was put into the water it was about
3" across. It then swelled to about 9" across.
Now after the salt was added to the water
Can you see that big pile of salt under the starfish?
it has shrunk to about 5-6". Sorry I don't
 have a picture of it when it was at it's
 largest size. Hope you enjoyed sharing
in our fun learning experience!

Why Doesn't The Ocean Freeze Solid?

Ever wonder why the oceans don't freeze solid? Well we have and we decided to investigate to find out. We had to make some cccold water! If you try putting it in the freezer you'll find you end up with ice pretty quickly instead of super cold water. But we found an experiment that showed us how to cool water down to it's freezing point without freezing it solid!

Supplies Needed

two plastic cups (we ended up using two glass canning jars)

Deep Freeze Experiment

1. First fill both plastic cups with the same amount of water.
2. Add four heaping tablespoons of salt to one of the cups. Mark this cup with an S.
3. Place both cups in the freezer and make sure they won't fall over.
4. Check the cups every hour for the first four hours then leave them overnight and check the next morning. What's the difference between the two cups?

What's Going On?

Water normally freezes at around 0 degrees C, but adding salt to the water lowers it's freezing point. The salt makes it more difficult for the water to freeze solid so the water can be be colder that 0 degrees and still not freeze completely. Salty water will eventually freeze, but the water has to be a lot colder than ordinary water.

To prove this check the cup with the plain water. It should freeze in about four hours, but the other cup may not freeze at all. Instead there may be a tiny bit of ice that forms, but only after it gets rid of the salt. To do this the salt sinks to the bottom. The same thing happens in the ocean around Antarctica.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Polar Regions Week 1


           Today we began our unit on the Polar Regions. WOOT! WOOT!  We began by learning of some of the explorers to Antarctica. NO, polar bears do not live at the South Pole, but penguins do! They were also amazed to learn how tall Emperor Penguins are. FORTY-EIGHT INCHES!  Now that is TALL as far as penguins go! Plus they weight upwards of 70 lbs. Now that is one BIG bird! (((Shivers))) An Emperor penguin would tower over McLarin and would be eye to eye with Raylee.

After learning how big they are I'm not sure I would want to come face to face with one.

The girls cut strips of paper and glued them together. Then they measured 48". This is the height of an Emperor Penguin!

As you can see if McLarin came face to face with an Emperor Penguin it would be taller than she is!

An Emperor Penguin would be about the same height as Raylee.

Breanna and Raylee doing the Contental Slide.

An experiement to see how arctic animals stay warm in frigid waters.

 We covered what an ice shelf is and how icebergs are born. The girls looked over a printout of the various ice shelves of Antarctica. Our printout listed twelve and there was one we learned about that wasn't even on the printout.

We had to have a brain break or two since it was a rainy day today. The girls seemed full of energy so we had them watch a video clip of Sid the Sloth doing the Continental Slide. They had to mimic his moves!
Using crisco as blubber. Gracie thought this was disgusting! lol

Every one had to try the experiment we did to see how animals stay warm in frigid waters. The girls were amazed that once they added the crisco to the bag and put their hand into the water again their hand stayed at a comfortable temperature.

 There was a lot of hand washing going on at our house today! All the girls except Gracie had to try this experiment out! We did it over......and over.......and over........and over!

Even the littlest had to have a turn!

Our experiment to see if melting ice raises the sea level. So far it's stayed the same.

The girls had a discusion about what kind of polar animal they would be and what they would eat. They all had a big laugh trying to figure out what a group of penguins is called. McLarin said waddle and Breanna thought maybe grouper. After voicing their guesses they learned a group of penguins is a "Colony." I still think calling a group of them a waddle would be pretty cool! I mean they do waddle when they walk you know. We had a lot of fun today during our first day of our Polar Regions unit. You might be interested in some of the resources we used.

 Free penguin card printables 
   Free printable cards to laminate

 Picture of frozen tsunami in Antarctica   
     Every one was amazed at the picture of a huge frozen wave turned to ice

Ice Shelf printout  
  A printout of the various ice shelves of Antarctica

Compare the size of the North and South Poles  
  A printout that helps one understand the difference in size of the Arctic and Antarctica

Homeschoolshare-Mr. Poppers Penguins 
   If you loved the book or the movie you'll enjoy this unit

Blubber Glove experiment 
   The girls loved this experiment to see how blubber works to keep animals warm
Melting ice and sea levels experiment  
 We had a question about whether melting polar ice will raise the level of the oceans so of course we had to do this experiment

Compare the North Pole and South Pole writing excercise 
 I printed this off so the girls could compare and contrast the difference between the poles and put their observations and what they learned on paper

Shifting poles      
   Does the North and South Poles really shift? Of course we had inquiring minds and wanted to know.

Enchanted Learning
Lots of cool printables, quizzes, maps and crafts that we printed  for our Polar Regions unit

Antarctic Quiz
A quiz that's pretty easy and just for fun!

                   Of course we had to end our day by watching a video of cute baby penguins.

       You can find all these cool ideas and many more by following my Pinterest boards!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happy 13th Birthday! And Happy 23rd Birthday Too!

Painted crosses at Pocket Picasso class.
Today was our daughter, McKenna's thirteenth birthday. We celebrated by taking her, McLarin and three of our granddaughter's to Pocket Picasso to paint a cross. They had so much fun that our granddaughter Gracie said she wanted to do this for her birthday too! Even me and my daughter-in-law joined the girls in painting our own cross. Then it was back home for ice cream and cupcakes.

Just so happens that McKenna and her brother Levi share a birthday. Yes, we celebrate two birthdays on the same day every year! Levi has always called McKenna his birthday present since she was born in his tenth birthday. Hard to believe he is married now and has a little boy of his own. Levi turned twenty-three today. He had to work today, but we are planning a big birthday celebration for him and McKenna on Tuesday. Most of the older kids will be here to celebrate. McKenna had to call her brother when we got home to wish him Happy Birthday.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Is A Starfish A Fish?

Is a starfish a fish? Have you ever had your kids ask you that question? Did you know the answer? I'm pretty pleased that I knew the answer to that question at least, but I learned today there was a lot about starfish that I didn't know.  Starfish or Sea Stars are not a fish. They don't have gills and they don't even have a brain, but they are a living animal.I started off looking up information on starfish and became so engrossed in the subject myself I just knew the girls would enjoy this part of our Ocean Unit. One thing we learned that we didn't know was that not all starfish have five arms. Depending on the variety they can have up to forty arms!

We discovered starfish can be as small as half an inch in diameter to as large as up to 2 feet across. They can weigh as much as 11 lbs. There are over 2000 varieties of starfish! Next the girls wanted to know where they lived. McKenna was sure they only lived in warm waters. She was surprised to learn that they live not only in intertidal pools and tropical waters, but even the cold arctic waters.

We learned they eat small fish, clams, mussels, snails, and coral. It was surprising that they can eat a meal consisting of the sizes of some of these other creatures. We learned the way they do this is by shoving their stomach out of their own mouth and digesting the food. They then pull their stomach back in their mouth and finish digesting their meal. Starfish have two stomachs and their mouth is on their underside in the middle of their body. I demonstrated this for the girls by using a small plastic bag and grabbing a seashell and pulling it back inside the bag. McLarin said if she ever pushed her stomach out of her own mouth to eat that would be disgusting! She would be sick as a dog. HeeHee!

We also learned that starfish have eyes. Not eyes that see visually, but eyes that can sense light and dark. They are located on the ends of their arms and are called eyespots.

They move from place to place using their tiny tube feet. As I mentioned earlier we learned starfish have no brains. They also have no blood! They are able to use a vascular system that uses water that they pump into their tube feet to inflate them.  Starfish can lose an arm and are able to grow it back. Or regenerate it. We learned what the term regenerate means today. Starfish can save themselves by losing an arm to get away from a predator and growing it back. They are able to lose up to three arms without dying. They also live up to thirty-five years if they don't have an accident, get eaten or get sick. We learned so much today about starfish. We have decided to learn more about them tomorrow.

                                  We watched this video about starfish regenerating a lost arm.

                            We also watched this next video about the dissection of a starfish.

   Our last video of the day was one showing a strange variety of starfish called the Crown Of Thorns.

Some of the other resources we used was the Sea Star unit study at .Homeschoolshare. We also found a a site that explained the anatomy of a starfish with diagrams.  We used  wikimedia and to look up information on starfish. Probably the most amazing webpage we visited for information was the National Geographic page. It had lots of beautiful pictures of many different varieties of starfish.  I also found this picture of  the tiny tube feet of a starfish.
Aren't those tiny and delicate looking?

I decided to continue with the starfish theme with math for McLarin. I found the idea for a starfish counting game for math here. McLarin was tickled pink to play this with me and her daddy. I like that it was a fun way for her to learn number recognition. I found a starfish craft at on this blog and plan to do it with the girls tomorrow. Of course we needed some coloring pages and I found a host of them here to download for free. Another craft your kiddos might enjoy I found here.

Some books about starfish you might enjoy using.

The book below has lots of information on starfish and would be fairly easy for a beginning reader.

If you decide to study starfish I hope you have as much fun as we did. Starfish are amazing creatures and  are a marvel of God's handywork.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tidal Pools and Sea Animals That Use Camouflage

Today was a slower day and we didn't get as much accomplished as yesterday, but it was still a good day. We began the day by learning about tidal pools. How tidal pools are formed and what can be found in them. We watched a very interesting video about tidal pools and it even touched on another subject matter we were learning about. Sea animals that use camouflage.

We watched the little crab scurry along and we were amazed at how fast that little eight legged creature could boogie! He could also camouflage himself very well. That brought up the subject of how sea animals use camouflage for protection and to catch their prey. Next we watched a video I stumbled upon of  an octopus using camouflage extremely well. Until he moved we couldn't see the octopus at all! You can find a link to the octopus video we watched here. I am so glad I happened to come across this video.

Next we discussed tides. What they are and how they are created. The girls had some ideas about what they are and what causes them such as wind or hot weather. Once again it was time for a video and we watched one that explained tides and how they are created very well. The teacher on the video sure had their attention when he hollered and swung a bucket of water over his head.

After watching the videos we decided it was time for some experiments.  The girls were interested in why things sink or float in salt water so we did an experiment on buoyancy. I had the girls gather at least five items from around the house for the experiment. They made predictions of whether the items would sink or float. Why do some items sink and others float in salt water? We also did some research on salt water density. I have to say our research findings were different than we expected.

We moved on from research and experiments to math and language arts. While McKenna was looking up the meanings of buoyancy, salinity, tidal pool, and camouflage and later working on the Kindle, I helped McLarin.What better math fun for an ocean unit could there  be than counting fish crackers? I had her also practice her scissors skills by cutting pieces of paper in two and gluing the long piece on one side of her paper and the short piece on the other.

Some of the interesting things we learned today are:

1. Oceans are home to some of the most diverse life forms on earth.

2. 71% of the earth is covered by oceans.

3.  A sea is a smaller body of salt water and it is sometimes connected to an ocean.

4. A Mid-Ocean Ridge is a ridge in the middle of some oceans and looks like an underwater mountain range.

5. There is as much water in the Atlantic Ocean as Antarctica has ice.

6. Every year there are tons of fish caught in the oceans. About 70-75 million tons.

7. What is an Ecosystem?

8. What is Camouflage? Esp. Cryptic Camouflage.

9. Seagrass is home to many species of sea life.

10. Some oceans are saltier than other oceans.

Our Kindle has been a great resource for homeschooling! Between our Kindle and Pinterest and Youtube we can always find something interesting to add to our day of learning.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Space Rockets In Flight And Found Treasure!

Have you ever had one of those crazy, exciting experiences that leaves you wide eyed amazed? Well I had one yesterday.     My daughter-in-law and I took the girls to the park to launch a rocket I had bought. Just a simple rocket launched using two large rubberbands. The girls were so, so excited! You might say over the moon. Pun intended. When we arrived at the park my granddaughter Breanna said I might not want to park where I did because there was a bee's nest. I was thinking a bee's nest more along the lines of a wasp nest. I pulled a little more forward and put the truck in park and we all piled out.                                                                                                                                                                  
 We found a surprise at the park!
                                                                                                                      THIS is what we saw buzzing about. Honey bees!

Gracie, another granddaughter, was scared and afraid we were all going to be stung. Actually I think she thought the bees were going to attack and carry us off because she started running and yelling, "They're going to sting us!" Once she realized the bees were calm and weren't excited she calmed down. I'm pretty sure she thought I and her mother had lost our ever loving minds though because we ventured close.......closer............and closer still. We wanted to get a good look. A REALLY good look. And look we did. We looked at those bees until we were practically ogle-eyed. 

 This picture was taken approximately five feet from where the bees were flying in and out of a large crack in this elm tree. The girls had quickly lost interest in the bees and had run off to play soon after we arrived. Except for Gracie. She stayed close by. Not because she wanted to see the bees, but I think because she thought she might have to rescue me and her mom. Hee Hee! Just call my daughter-in-law and I the bee charmers! Those bees certainly seemed to be charmed by us and never appeared threatened anyway. Finally we had our fill of watching the bees and resorted to doing what we had come to the park to do. Make memories and have fun with the girls.
                                                  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 ,2, 1 BLAST OFF!

                                                                 Space rocket in flight!
This is going to be a good launch. Look at that form.

Aim it over there. Keep clear. Don't shoot yourself in the eye!

Stretch it tight and Let R fly!

Rocket in flight!

Getting ready to launch.

Let's see, I think we hook it here.

We accomplished so much more in this afternoon than the story these pictures tell. We created memories. A timeless treasure these girls can carry with them throughout the years. Special times and bonding. Time spent together is never regretted or wasted. My hope is that one day they will look back and remember times like these and emulate them for their own precious children. I hope they will take these lessons to heart and repeat them in their own families one day and they will be heard to say, "I remember when," and then tell the next generation a timeless story of love.

 A story about them and their story and their family history. Of a day that grandma, mom, aunts, and nieces spent the afternoon together in the park flying rockets. An afternoon making memories because today doesn't last forever and because we love them and want them to have the legacy of a close, bonded family.  The dollar fifty I spent on that rocket was worth it's weight in gold for the treasure it contained in memory making and an afternoon full of fun.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.Psalm 127:3-5