Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Starting Geology and Astronomy

I have two 12-year olds in my homeschool co-op and they love to have different lessons and listen in to one another's stories. So I decided (especially since Geology and Astronomy are so closely connected to one another) to have one do Geology and one do Astronomy. We are having an absolute blast with these lessons! I'm keeping track of all of the stories and activities on my website, but here are some highlights (and photographs):

Geology and Astronomy

by Charles Kovacs


Geology Underfoot in Illinois

by Raymond Wiggers

On the Geology page on my site I also compiled the links for every state's Roadside Geology book (where available). It's a great series!

Becca and I kicked off Geology by attending a science lecture on the Global Stakes of Fresh Water.

A lot of the intial information was review for her (the layers of the earth, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics) and for years she's watched me trot out my little box of pumice from my hike up to the top of Mt. Vesuvius when I was 17. So I think at first she was a little bored, although she has LOVED chatting with her older sister, a huge Geology buff, about more in-depth information, such as the Yellowstone caldera-supervolcano situation, and the New Madrid fault (which is right by us). And we found a vintage postcard of Mount St. Helens from before she blew her top, so that was cool.

Then we got into brand new territory with The Great Conveyor Belt. This was so super fun! We had to sit side by side to figure it out based on his verbal description of the path before Panama rose out of the sea and after (present-day). We printed maps of the world's continents and drew both paths. Then she transferred them into her MLB along with a side view of the currents in the ocean, with the warmer water flowing above the colder denser water.

our next topic: the Ring of Fire

We are going back into review territory for her, so I'm going to add lots of new activities to keep it interesting. I like the Live Ed lesson which includes using latitude and longitude (right when my other student is learning it too, in Astronomy) and I love the volcano painting idea I found and the lemon volcanoes and the tsunami paper collage...

The Circle of Fire FREE sample lesson from Live Education!
includes latitude and longitude activity

my AWESOME paper map of the U.S. Geological Survey's This Dynamic Planet (also available for download as a PDF file)
OR it can be viewed online at the Smithsonian Institution website
(with the ability to zoom in)

more fun with the Ring of Fire:

I know that the limestone cycle will be completely new for her (and Waldorf teaching resources give a TON of ideas for the limestone art projects, so that'll be easy) and we have plenty of field trip ideas near us, including Cave-in-Rock which is a limestone cave. After Limestone, it's Coal, Winds, and Glaciers. Lots to keep us busy for the rest of this week and next!


On the Astronomy page on my site I've also listed an Astronomy book which is available as a free download from The Online Waldorf Library.

Throughout the site I also always put any free lessons I can find, like the Live Ed curriculum samples, and other helpful links.

We started with:

memorizing "Migration" poem from Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky by Georgia Heard

setting up "walking water" experiment to observe gravity

using Waseca Biome materials for Rays of the Sun and Climate Zones, following with the gorgeous Biomes of the World Mat

finger knitting a solar calendar -- 365 days to scale (1 day = 1 cm, 365 days = 12 ft, 1 season = 3 feet) -- and using buttons to observe how a lunar calendar slowly gets more and more "out of whack" with the seasons

using our newly-learned map transfer technique with oil pastels to create a beautiful MLB page with a map of the U.S. time zones

reading Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman and learning about the North Star

using Google Sky Maps to find the North Star (Polaris)

creating a beautiful MLB illustration using cards from Seeing Stars: An Introduction to the Night Sky by Charles Hobson

enjoying the sumptuous Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons and Other Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun

choosing the research requirements and research topics for upcoming work:

  • name of heavenly body
  • how and when it was discovered
  • who named it and the story behind its name
  • what color it is and a picture
  • what it is made of
  • how big it is
  • gravity
  • mass
  • density
  • temperature
  • distance from the Sun
  • if we have ever visited it

In particular, he wants to research Saturn, Mercury, Mars, and Phobos.

our next topic: latitude and longitude

I plan to explore longitude further with an activity about the Lewis and Clark expedition, so I'll introduce these chapters with the story Bad River Boys: A Meeting of the Lakota Sioux with Lewis and Clark

Tonight I'm making Spicy Red Lentil Curry. It's been a wonderful cozy week!

I especially like our new Article of the Day routine. First thing in the morning the kids open up the newspaper and sit at the dining room table and finish their breakfast or have a snack, discuss the headlines (after checking the comics), and choose their article to mark up. Then they come and tell me all about it. Yesterday I heard Becca say, "Oh, I heard about this Boy Scouts thing on NPR." It made me happy to see her so engaged with current events!

Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the photos with ease:

These maps were transferred using the same technique as the time zone map.

Simply use a computer to print the map you want to transfer into the MLB, cover the back with a thick layer of oil pastel, place on MLB page and tape down securely with masking tape, trace over the lines you want to transfer with a regular pencil -- pressing firmly -- and then remove the tape and the map. Your lines will show on your page and you can then use colored pencil to add any additional details. So easy. And we rarely use our oil pastels so the kids thought it was great fun!

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

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