Monday, December 11, 2017

#5 The Vestibular System

Main Lesson Book
We began, of course, by reviewing the previous lesson, The Eye. Students completed their summaries and illustrations for their main lesson books.

One child even made a little index card for the experiment "The Blind Spot" and placed it in a small envelope taped inside the back cover of his MLB.


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


The chapter is called "Balance: The Sense of Upright." I required that the older students take notes during the lesson.

In our analogy of The Great River, vision is one of the five senses which serves as Cabinet members and advisors to the President, the Brain. I explained to students that balance is also one of our senses! There are more than just five (in fact, Rudolf Steiner referred to twelve). As such, the Vestibular System is also part of the Department of Communcation. You can think of it as just another office in the Department.

For this system, more than for the others we have done so far, I wished I had extra items available for the demonstrations. I've put them in bold.

We read page 105 (Design Problem, Inner Ear) and talked about how unstable a two-legged stool would be! In fact, it would be great to have a four-legged stool and a three-legged stool in the classroom to show.

We read page 106 (Up and Down Sense) and talked about how the bone dust trickles down through the liquid like snow in a snow globe. Again, it would be great to have a snow globe handy! You could even make a snow globe as a follow-up activity. This "little hairs sensing change in liquid" is a technique the body uses again and again, so it helps if kids really can picture it and understand it.

How to Make a Homemade Snow Globe


We read page 107 (Sense of Direction) and talked about what it means that our world is 3-D. I actually had the students feel this out... bring your hands up toward the ceiling and down toward the floor, bring your hands to your right side and to your left side, bring your hands toward your heart and away from your heart. Each semicircular canal is responsible for sensing one of these directions. It would be great to have play dough available to model their curves, each in a different direction.

We did the Lag-Behind Effect activity on page 107. This is a simple demonstration that just uses a glass of water and some cinnamon. It helps if the glass of water has been sitting stationery on the table the whole time.

We did the Upright Without Sight activity on page 108 and then read the rest of the page (Quick Shifts) as well as page 109 (Incredible Balancing Act).

We finished with page 110 (What is Balance?) and I balanced a pencil on my outstretched finger. Then we did the activities in Equilibrium Appreciation.


Day Two Review & Exploration
On the second day we reviwed The Vestibular System using the nomenclature three-part cards from ETC Montessori. This taught us the name of each of the semi-circular canals, as well as the term cochlea, which was a great transition into the next lesson, The Ear. Students already knew this one was coming next... because they had already asked me about the parts of the ear which are used for hearing, as opposed to balance.


Main Lesson Book
Students began to draft their summaries and illustrations for The Vestibular System.


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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Photos from the Classroom

Since we came back from Thanksgiving Break, our main lesson topic has been The Human Body. (Our previous block was The Age of Exploration.)

I've been writing separate posts for each system of the body with teaching resources and detailed descriptions of our lesson activities, as well as our literature study of Lord of the Flies, plus posts for clubs like Philosophy and Science. But we have all kinds of other lessons, so here is one more post to catch up all of my parents on everything their children have been doing!

I also have made complete pages on my website for our current topics:


The week of Nov 27, our Virtue of the Week was Creativity. We read


The week of Dec 4, our Virtue of the Week was Determination. We read


We finished our read aloud of The Cat Who Went to Heaven and started The Book of Think, a tie-in with our Human Body main lesson.

In Farm Day news, students finished their Track & Field unit and began Survival Skills, learning first how to read a compass.

Our new Specials have begun including American Sign Language (ASL), Yoga, Music, Crafts, Structured Word Inquiry (SWI), and Script. Students were very excited on Friday to finally use their new fountain pens!


These beautiful fountain pens can be used as dip pens or they can have an ink cartridge inserted.

In ASL students have begun with the alphabet, numbers, and greetings.

We have also had individual lessons in math (addition, subtraction, and division using the Stamp Game; multiplication using the Checker Board; multiplying fractions by whole numbers using the Cut-Out Labeled Fraction Circles) and language (Commas, Homophones, Homographs, Homonymns, Prefixes, Suffixes, Guide Words) using the Montessori materials. We learned the Nim game from Jamie York (a fun math strategy game which you play with a pile of gems). I have also given Handwork lessons on making knitting needles and learning to knit. Students set up the badminton net in the yard as well as the horseshoes stakes, determined to enjoy the warm weather while it still lasted. Boggle and Labyrinth remain the favorite board games.


Some pictures from the classroom over the past month:

working on our coral reef sculpture of dyed coffee filters and cotton swabs

dyeing the coffee filters with markers

hand-stamped invitations for the "Creep into the Deep" Expo

dynamic multiplication with the Checker Board

the first step in making knitting needles:
sharpening the wooden dowels in a pencil sharpener

then sand until smooth, oil with grapeseed oil,
and glue an acorn cap into the end

working hard on his first project, a knitted chicken

"Under the fence,
Catch the sheep,
Back we come,
Off we leap"

brand-new silver folders for ASL!

Becca presents the Third Great Lesson:
How Humans Came to Be

the Timeline of Early Humans is a new work in the classroom

the whole work... completed and correct

dyeing pompom yarn to look like seaweed
for a Museum exhibit

tracing a sewing pattern

the U.S.A. Location map

looking at the simple nervous system of the mussel

trying to identify some body parts

making a life-size construction paper collage of a giant squid
starting with eight 9-foot long arms
(the two 50-foot long tentacles will extend up my stairs)

making tissue paper transparency Rose Windows
for the Middle Ages

the Montessori Teaching Clock

regrowing bok choy from its base

it is doing well!

collaborating / competing in a math game

dynamic addition with the Stamp Game

presenting the Second Great Lesson,
How Life Came to Be

sharing books from the Geologic Periods set

Joe, our life-size giant dragonfly from the Carboniferous Period

examining fossils from our collection

"something surprising I'll show you at the end is how much time
passed between these Periods"

the Earth emerges as a molten mass

 the rains fall for millions of years on a barren planet

the emergence of blue-green algae!

trilobites!

every day on his calendar = 13 million years

the Age of Fishes

the Age of Mammals

 Venn diagram comparing Zheng He and the Spanish conquistadors

our oil pastel map-transfer technique for the main lesson books

dyeing rainbow chickpeas for Zac's sensory bin

starting to drape seaweed all around the living room ceiling,
"The Sunlight Zone" in our Museum

making our krill swarm
(paint side of your pinkie finger orange, then stamp)

the krill look even better on black paper!

our badminton net, successfully put up,
doubles as a volleyball net


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