Friday, March 16, 2018

#10 The Teeth

Day One Story & Exploration
I took my story for The Teeth from Linda Allison's book, Blood and Guts: A Working Guide to Your Own Insides.

The chapter is called "Teeth: Nippers, Chompers, Grinders." I required that the older students take notes during the lesson.

We started with page 31 (What Vore?) and then I had them do activity 4.2 from Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body: Great Experiments and Ideas. This is why I was cutting up all those styrofoam cups. I had the styrofoam pieces from the last time I did this, with Natalie. At that time Zac had only one tooth. I passed around his little tooth mark. It was adorable. One of my students lost her two front top baby teeth and, even though the new adult teeth are growing in, they were too short to make a mark yet.

We read page 33 (Somthing Missing?, Open Wide) and I passed around some of my daughters' baby teeth. It is easier to see the difference in the shape of an incisor and a molar if you can hold them in your hand. I also had a tooth with a full root on it, which Natalie knocked out at the age of 3. That is really interesting to see!

We did the Tooth Dissection activity on page 34 with one of Becca's baby teeth and then I showed my class the diagram in the book of the cross-section of a tooth. We read the rest of page 34 (Inside Stories, Cavities Mean Holes) and then did Test II from the Acid Attack activity on page 35. My favorite soda is a Dr. Pepper, so that's what we used. One of Leah's baby teeth went into the bottle and we closed it up and labeled it March 15th.

Then we read the rest of page 35 (Counterattack) and I talked about disclosing tablets (which they mention in the Red Alert activity on page 36). Some of the children had used them before and some had not. We finished with page 36 (Golden Tooth Rule).

Main Lesson Book
Students continued to draft their summaries and illustrations for The Digestive Sytem. I told them that they could choose whether to put The Teeth in as part of The Digestive System, or give it its own two-page spread.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

#9 The Digestive System

Day One Story & Exploration
I took my story for The Digestive System from Linda Allison's book, Blood and Guts: A Working Guide to Your Own Insides.

The chapter is called "Digestion: Down the Food Tube." I required that the older students take notes during the lesson.

I started by asking the students to brainstorm what parts they thought were in the digestive system. Their answers were liver, bowels, stomach, throat, belly button, tongue and chest. One student volunteered that she thought there were two tubes in the throat, one for food and one for water.

We read page 75 (Which Bunch Are You For Lunch?) and then did the Keeping Track activity on page 77. I gave them the stethoscope and let them each listen to their bodies digesting their lunch. (I recommend doing this after lunch; I chose 1 pm). Then I read page 76 (Breakdown) and showed them the diagram on page 77 (Charting the Food Tube). I wrote all of the parts in our food's path on the board.

    (mechanical breakdown with teeth and tongue,
    chemical breakdown with saliva)



    Small Intestine
    (food is actually absorbed into the body here)

    Large Intestine
    (extra water is absorbed here)



We answered all kinds of practical questions. If you ignore your defecation reflex and let your food sit in your large intestine, more and more water will continue to be absorbed and it will get harder and harder. Thus, constipation.

I pointed out to my students that they already know a lot about their digestive system just from being alive. You know from throwing up, for example, that your food gets more "liquidy" from being in the stomach.

We also talked about how pregnant women can't possibly have babies growing in their stomachs, because stomachs are full of acid!!!! So, obviously, this happens in another part of the body. They were very interested in the idea of the umbilical cord carrying oxygen and nutrition to the developing baby and carrying waste away, so we spent some time on this. I also explained that the growing baby takes up a lot of room so pregnant women have a lot of heartburn. One student had already brought up how heartburn is caused by overeating and having too much food in your stomach. It's also caused by the crowding of the baby!

We also talked about the mucus lining which protects the stomach, and how an ulcer is when the stomach acid does eat a hole in the stomach wall.

Two students then demonstrated the power of peristalsis with the activity 4.1 from Easy Genius Science Projects with the Human Body: Great Experiments and Ideas. Yes, you can swallow even when you are standing on your head! This demonstration is a lot of fun.

We moved on to page 78 (Amazing Enzyme) and page 79 (Chemical Lunch). I wrote on the board

    Carbohydrates - fuel

    Protein - building blocks for growth

    Fats - energy production

Then we did the Test for Fat from the Kitchen Chemistry activity on page 79. This is so easy and only requires a brown paper bag. I cut a large piece from one side of the bag and laid a variety of foods on it, labeling each location with a pencil. We did a piece of cooked venison, butter, cold cereal, some shredded lettuce, and sour cream. After the students saw that there was a ton of fat in butter and sour cream, I asked them if they knew how butter was made. No one did. So we made butter. This takes only some whipping cream, a large jar (I used a half gallon jar so the cream would fill with plenty of air), and some patience. The kids were SO EXCITED when it worked! We all had bread with fresh butter to celebrate.

While the group was passing around the jar and shaking it vigorously, I read them the remainder of the chapter. This was pages 80 (Riddle of the Sphincter, Solid Waste), 81 (Bacteria for Life, Natural Gas, Cooking with Gas: A Natural Fact), and 82 (Special Events, Amazing Facts).

I ended the day by having the students work together to paint the beans needed for the "Make Your Own Nutrition Balance" activity from The Human Body: 25 Fantastic Projects Illuminate How the Body Works. I recommend five green beans, seven yellow beans, three blue beans, and six red beans.

Day Two Review & Exploration
First thing in the morning we talked about the Food Guide Pyramid and I drew it on the board. Then I showed my students how the beans we painted yesterday were going to help me see if I had a balanced diet that day. We talked about how your diet needs to be balanced in more than one way. You need to have ENOUGH food, NOT TOO MUCH food, and a VARIETY of food. Throughout the day I put the appropriate colored beans in the pan balance as I ate. Having the 21 unpainted beans weighing down one side of the scale at the beginning was really helpful. It reminds you that you really do need to eat -- no matter how busy we get as adults -- because your body needs a certain amount of energy to function. You have to put those calories in there.

In the late morning we came back to the topic of The Digestive System. Before my students went off to write their rough drafts and begin their illustrations for the main lesson books, I wanted to do one more demonstration. This is on pages 78 and 79 of Blood and Guts. I have several suggestions if you're doing this with a class. It is totally worth doing but...

    First, it helps to make up the cornstarch/boiling water concoction in advance. It needs time to cool.

    Second, make sure you do not have decolorized iodine. It will not work. (I got my true-blue iodine at Walgreens.)

    Third, demonstrate the iodine test for starch (page 79) with more than one food. I used a regular baked potato and a sweet potato at first, until I realized that my kids probably think that iodine always turns black on any food. So then I put a drop into some yogurt and they saw that it is usually a caramel color.

    Fourth, it take a LONG time to get a tablespoon of saliva. So either start early in the day, if you're only collecting from yourself, or be prepared to pass the tablespoon around the class and let everyone spit into it. Gross.

So, we did the Enzyme Action activity on page 78 and it was totally AMAZING. Seriously. This is a MUST-DO! I had already cut the side of a bunch of Styrofoam cups up for the upcoming Teeth activity later in the day, so I used the bottoms of the cups for the Enzyme Action test and they worked like a charm. Everyone could see the colorful results against the white of the cup, and they're easy to number and keep organized.

While the saliva was doing its job, we reviewed the parts and function of the digestive system by looking at the nomenclature three-part cards from ETC Montessori. I laid out and matched the pictures and definitions, and passed out the vocabulary cards to the group. As I showed each picture and read each definition, the child who had that vocabulary term came forward.

We also looked at The Digestive System page in our atlas of the human body, the Wall Chart of Human Anatomy.

Main Lesson Book
Students began to draft their summaries and illustrations for The Digestive Sytem.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Capital Letters S and O

I've recently started working with a little boy (age 6) who is learning his letters. We have worked our way through W is for Worm and U is for Underground (with Tillie and the Wall) and T is for Tower and B is for Bubbles (with The Duchess Bakes a Cake). Now it's time for S and O. I'm teaching the letters in pairs, using an overarching story to go with each set of images.

S is for Stars
O is for Otter

We began with a nature walk outside, then came back in and reviewed T and B from last week. We talked about both the name of the letter and the sound. He dictated his summary to me and I guided him in making the illustration for his book (obviously, T is a tall tower with a turret... and I showed him that B is the straight line of the bubble wand with a small bubble on top and a medium-sized bubble below it).

Next I got out the set of laminated wall cards for L M N O P and All the Letters A to Z, and showed him the illustration for T (which is also a tower).

Then I showed him their illustration for S, a scene which includes a swath of stars in the sky which make the shape of an S, along with the smoke from the chimney and the snake slithering in the grass. Inspired by this, I gave him a soft foam roller which is covered with stars and a little tiny paint tray (thank you to Leslie for the donation of new art supplies for the classroom!) and we made the S shape in the sky on some pale blue pastel paper, just like in the illustration. It helps to practice this beforehand, and to have quite a large piece of paper, since you have to do a straight line and then change directions, and then do another one in order for your stars to not be smudgy. It does look quite a lot like the picture in the book, though!

(I have other suggestions for the letter S on the Capital Letters page of my website, including Seahorse and Snake. Hadn't thought of Smoke before but it's a really good idea and would lend itself well to some shaving cream finger painting.)

Time for our story! While the starry art was drying, I read him A Lot of Otters by Barbara Helen Berger.

After the story, we went shopping in my "paint store" area downstairs to find some otter paint colors, where he decided on tan and white. We squeezed some paint out onto a paper plate, used a popsicle stick to blend the colors, and used a sweet potato as the stamp for the otter faces in the water (on our blue paper, below the stars). I like sweet potatoes for potato printing because they tend to have a long pointy end which works really well as a handle. We did several otter faces and then cut it farther down on the potato near the end so we would have a littler circle for the baby otters.

This, too, needed time to dry, so we played the Life on Earth memory game from eeBoo. When the potato printed circles were dry, we added little otter faces using black paint and a teeny tiny brush. Two little black dots for eyes, a larger black circle for the nose, and a few little whiskers. Voila! So sweet!

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Photos from the Classroom

Leah is working on a darling doll pattern from 

now it is time to begin knititng her wardrobe

making plant mazes in Science Club

each child designed a different maze path

just so Mr. Bean knows how to find his way out... 
this child thoughtfully labeled the exit

we discovered that fastening the boxes shut with extra large file folder rubber bands made it easy to open the flaps and water our plants

a simple play dough recipe with cornstarch and lotion

painting the Hooved Hyrax

researching the Giant African Snail

researching the Sandgrouse

researching the Fennec Fox

here, the task is to multiply a fraction by a whole number

Montessori materials are designed to be self checking 
(this is called the Control of Error)

these cards have the answers on the back, allowing students to work as independently as possible

tracing our new Africa Stencil to make a map of the Nile River

making a scarab beetle out of clay for Queen Cluckopatra's burial service

it is time for Africa book reports!  
Leah leads the way with The Red Pencil, set in Sudan

her choice was to do a Book in a Bag

using this vintage (unsharpened) pencil which my grandparents still had
Parkside School P.T.A. 1945-1946

for Becca's book report on The Golden Goblet
she entombed her mummified chicken

(luckily, her book happened to include a tomb robbery)

we cut up an entire twin sheet into fabric strips for this project

wrapping the limbs (drumsticks and wings) first

adding charms

and spices

and placing a scroll in the pyramid

our chicken is laid to rest

Becca made a pointed cap for the pyramid, with a flap which moves aside so that guests to the classroom can view the mummy

using the Stamp Game to do dynamic division
trading in the 10 tiles for ten 1 tiles in order to share them out fairly

discovering that 81 divided by 9 is 9

adding the Hooved Hyrax notes to the poster

continuing with Ratios in our 7th grade math workbooks

an introductory lesson on Alphabetical Order

Sandgrouse artwork with our new chunky wooden watercolor pencils

our plants are doing well...
although many of them bypassed the maze entirely

proofing yeast

baking bread

a perfectly stamped Legend for the Biome Maps
believe me... this rubber stamp is harder to use than it looks!

Leah's table is chock-full of materials for her Madagascar poster

tracing the pygmy mouse lemur Actual Size

needle felting a fellucah for an Africa report on the people of the wetlands

help with knitting!

more bread baking!

finished posters are shared with the class

Leah's doll gets a pleated skirt made of a K2P2 rib

Zac's newest visual discrimination work... the Montessori Cylinder Block #4

music class outside!
playing spackle bucket drums on a beautiful day

painting paper plates for our tree weavings
inspired by Cassie Stephens

the original ten Roman months

the Actual Size of the African elephant's foot

hearing country reports -- this one is on Niger

tracing the actual size of the African Goliath Beetle
which the Efe pygmy people roast and eat

our Africa area is coming along nicely!

matching the wooden pieces to the Color Pie pattern cards

Pengoloo... a super-fun memory game

an older child helping a younger read his report on the Konso people

working on a Bonus Report (the Nile Crocodile)

learning a variety of greetings in Swahili

rewriting a rough draft of her notes onto her Cheetah poster

"Yay!  It's my turn to be in the Hot Seat."

she could NOT be prouder  :-)

creative writing time is always an option

time for the African Feast!

cutting up sweet potatoes for our stew

chalk pastel artwork for The Village of Round and Square Houses

a beautiful night-time scene

preparing for our Flour Explosion in science club

the girls are REALLY excited!

unfortunately... it didn't actually do anything

science club field trip to the local Maple Syrup Festival

tasting the sap

it's almost Spring!  putting up the Window Nest Box

an initial lesson on long multiplication with the Checker Board

making clay tablets with cuneiform

helping a friend write her message with hieroglyph stamps

our beautiful new Geography area

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!