Monday, June 7, 2021

Botany Week III - Mints, Parsleys

Our final week of foundation... and the start of our dive into Plant Families!

All of my notes from teaching Botany in 2017 & 2018 are on my website.

Monday, May 31

Thank you to Justin for leading a great discussion on Physics, and to Chet for bringing us a huge pile of different lengths of bamboo for building projects! Thank you also to Pat for repairing the red pump handle on our Water Table!

Tuesday, June 1

  • EC: sit next to our little hawthorn tree and read "Teasel and Tweed" from A Donsy of Gnomes: 7 Gentle Gnome Stories by Sieglinde deFrancesca (this story is about a baby lamb getting caught in the thorns of a hawthorn), make Secret Treasure Paths of yarn in the yard for the other to follow, practice winding yarn back into a ball as you walk along the Secret Treasure Path, finish bamboo tipi, finger knit lengths of yarn for other friends to use in their tipis, do "Spring Garden Circle" (adding in "Little Gnomes" song and the gnome hammering verse), get out yoga mats and do some cards from the Yoga Pretzels card deck, complete the Who Pooped? 100 piece puzzle
  • Gardening Projects: discard plant experiments which did not work out (avocado, wild strawberry), plant pineapple in a pot (it has nice long roots and new growth in its leaves), continue to build bamboo tipis for nooks and/or as gardening projects, finger knit lengths of yarn to wind around the poles as support for the vines (we would like to grow morning glory, moonflower, and beans up these tipis)

    after losing (and then finding) a few pairs of scissors on the ground, we decided it made the most sense to place all the acrylic yarn on the wooden table in the Art Room, have students come and wind a small ball of the color they like, and then take that ball of yarn and finger knit it and add it to the tipi (instead of having the huge skein of yarn and a pair of scissors out in the woods)

  • Second Great Lesson: read and discuss "The Hidden Ones" and "The Sunlight Eaters" from Mythology of Microbes, do "Order the Eaters" activity from MM binder, explain Photosynthesis (it was fun to watch them think the recipe for glucose through... "you must have six of each in order for it to work... wait! there's a lot of extra oxygen!!")

    rock eaters

    chemical eaters

    sunlight eaters

    sugar / protein / lipid eaters

    plastic eaters

    add "Order the Eaters" to MLB, discuss the Miller-Eury reaction, do "The Tree of Life" activity and talk through "The Fungus Problem"

  • Play / Board Games: knock knock jokes, fort building, Skippity, Kayanak: Angling, Ice, and Adventure

Wednesday, June 2

    Unscheduled Wednesday included:

    hot pudding (I made Homemade Chocolate Pudding and let it cool undisturbed so that it would form a wrinkled skin... just like the Earth's crust as it cooled off... of course, everyone got a taste and we also enjoyed some fresh local strawberries that a family donated!)

    cold pudding (the Early Childhood kiddos made instant chocolate pudding for sensory play and "edible mud" for the horses to play in)

    taste chocolate pudding along with fresh mint leaves from our garden

    give the horses a bath with the hose

    more tipi building and fort design with the bamboo pieces

    finger knitting long pieces of yarn to weave in and out of the bamboo

    a quick review of Photosynthesis (a green piece of fabric to represent the leaf and 36 square pieces of cardstock to build and rearrange the molecules involved: 18 "O" cards, 12 "H" cards, 6 "C" cards)

    read the introduction to Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure by Thomas Elpel

      "Story Time"
      "The Rain of Time"
      "Soup Bubbles"
      "The Great Tree"

    first adult ladybugs hatch!

    soak and cut raisins for ladybugs to eat

    pull invasive vines (Virginia creeper and grapevine) from around the house and use it to cover tipis

    major Goobi explosion! I got three more kits (180, 180, and 300) since this magnetic building material has been such an incredible hit

Thursday, June 3

Thank you to Al for leading a fascinating Philosophy discussion on Time, and to Aimee for making us some yummy candied mint and lemon balm leaves! They were a perfect way to build excitement for our first plant family: Mints!

  • Nature: this afternoon we were able to spot an adult ladybug which had just emerged (ladybug eggs are yellow; young ladybugs are yellow when they first go into their pupal stage; adults are also yellow when they first emerge from their pupal stage, because their blood is yellow and their newly formed shell is still soft & translucent)

    after the ladybug's shell hardens it gets its true adult color and spots

  • Experiment: build TMEPMOAT (The Most Epic Plant Maze of All Time) using an old dresser which I had handy which happened to have a hole in the top, insanely perfect for a Plant Maze!

    we set the dresser up in the Art Room with all of the drawers removed, laying cardboard rectangles on the slats which traditionally support the drawers but now hold the components of the maze, placing a sugar snap pea seedling inside, and taping a very large piece of cardboard across the front to completely darken the inside

    thank you to Jennifer for the extra large boxes... one was (unexpectedly) the perfect dimensions for this project!

  • Play: "What Does Johnny Have in His Pocket?" at lunchtime
  • Botany: introduction to & exploration of The Mint Family

    featured plants: basil, holy basil, sage, oregano, thyme, lemon thyme, lemon balm, spearmint, apple mint, pineapple mint, lime mint, orange mint, sweet pear mint, ginger mint, chocolate mint, strawberry mint, lavender, rosemary, lamb's ear, summer savory

    read Finding Mint Island (Mint Family) from Shanleya's Quest by Thomas Elpel

    enjoy candied mint and lemon balm leaves

    take a walk around the yard to find plants in the Mint Family, collect leaves, do pencil sketches of leaves (b&w) in MLB, add an explanation of how to identify a plant in the Mint Family, list example plants

Friday, June 4

  • School Meeting: make decisions about the storage and sharing of the Goobi kits, set up the old train table to hold all of the Goobi pieces, make up a schedule whereby a pair of students has free access to the Goobi pieces each day and can build large designs without interruption (and the other students have to wait for their day to roll around), decide that students will show off what they created at 2:30 pm before we write in Plan Books, decide that we will revisit this in a week and see how the new routine is going and tweak it if needed
  • Botany: introduction to & exploration of The Parsley Family

    featured plants: carrot, celery, dill, fennel, parsley, lovage

    SWI discussion about < umbrage > and < umbrella >

    the Latin word for umbrella used to be umbella but its spelling and pronunciation shifted due to the influence of umbra: "shade, shadow"

    read The Parsley Guardian (Parsley Family) from Shanleya's Quest by Thomas Elpel

    take a walk around the yard to find plants in the Parsley Family

    since all of our umbellifers (except the bronze fennel) are still little seedlings, I also got celery, carrots with greens, flatleaf parsley, curly parsley, and fennel microgreens from the store

    notice that the carrot seedlings are getting their true leaves and are identifiable, but the dill has only just germinated and only has its cotyledons (which do not follow the umbellifer pattern)

    do pencil sketches of leaves (b&w) in MLB, add an explanation of how to identify a plant in the Parsley Family, list example plants

    we also noted in looking through my box of seed packets that lovage is in the Parsley Family and summer savory is in the Mint Family

    begin the "What Ingredients Will Celery Move to Its Leaves?" experiment on p.46 of The Curious Kid's Science Book by Asia Citro

    it is really important to keep this experiment in the refrigerator or the sugar water will spoil and it won't be safe to taste the celery leaves

    my students got into this experiment and we ended up with a really long list! Solo square base cups are perfect for this because you can write the date, the child's initials, and the ingredient on them easily

      peppermint extract
      vanilla extract
      maple syrup
      Hershey's chocolate syrup
      olive oil
      Bragg's liquid aminos
      freshly squeezed lemon juice
      peppermint tea
      red food coloring
      blue food coloring
      green food coloring
  • Plant Adoption: continue to care for seedlings, check on larger plants which are planted in the straw bales, plant new basil & pepper plants
  • Card & Board Games: Fairy Queen, Quixo, Election Night!, Dr. Eureka, Bird Bingo

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Sunday, June 6, 2021

May Photos Part II

lots of our baby plants are doing really well!

the children find the different shapes of each plant fascinating

people carefully check each morning on everything they've adopted

the City comes to cut down a tree along our sidewalk

friends watch attentively

we ask for the stump after they cut it, and they kindly give it to us

now it sits in the middle of the Canteen Tent and holds
  • Biff the camel (to remind us to drink water)
  • Piggie (to remind us to put on sunscreen)
  • the silver bell (for calling School Meetings)

overnight a large fungus appears on the biggest tree stump!

after a few days, it turns from yellow to orange

finding a quiet spot for some Algebra

finger knitting for Pony Reins

the Big Bang, the Birth and Death of a Star, and how the elements are formed

the felt circles represent the layers building up inside the star until it goes supernova...

and all the elements that are created go streaming out into outer space

we keep watching the cardinal nest, trying to get a peek at the hatchlings

preparing for the wet-on-wet watercolor painting of the Sphinx
(I'm going to give this painting its own post)

hardening off our seedlings

lots of new growth on the beet experiment, both leaves and roots

and the celery experiment is looking fantastic!

playing Bear and Fishing

more practice with equivalent fractions

chatting on their phones at lunchtime

chalk is perfect for marking felt
I cut the pieces for the next stage in the Pony Reins project

measuring the pieces of finger knitting to see if they are long enough
they should be at least 85 inches long

time to start sewing!

some vintage thread from my Great-Aunt Dorothy's collection

handwork time in the driveway

as you go along the path to the Huckleberry Patch, you land on spaces that give you either herbs or troubles
each trouble card shows the herbs that will solve it, so no reading is necessary; you use your own herbs to solve your troubles, or play a Cooperation Card and share your herbs with a friend who needs them

SSR in the driveway

the Ancient Egyptian shaduf!

planting the celery in a straw bale

sorting out the Botany cabinet materials and beginning to learn some nomenclature for the leaf shapes

we compare a grass flower...

with a wheat plant

like the celery, the bush bean seedling is deemed strong enough for planting

"you make dinner and I'll sweep"

I finally get a picture of a tiny red mouth open for food

I introduce two possible plant experiments:
Design a Plant Maze or
Can You Make a Plant Grow Upside Down?

everyone has to draw a sketch of their design and write a materials list before getting supplies

this interesting design gives the plant a lot of choices!

fitting together two periscopes to try to bounce sunlight so that it appears to be coming from below the seed

everyone wants to look through it!

Zac carefully moves the "path of things that smell good" pots to the Canteen Tent so they will be out of the way of the lawnmower

I prune back the hedge aggressively to make a clearer path to the spigot in the front of the house...

and little hands are immediately collecting all the bits of shrubbery...

and building a wonderful paddock for the horses

the Celebration Sun from Waseca Biomes

and the Birthday Ring, candles, and ornaments from Nova Natural

we celebrate Zac turning six years old

these brand new vintage birthday paper plates were in my Grandmommy's kitchen cupboard for decades... and today was the perfect special occasion!

fresh pineapple as the birthday snack
it was very popular!  they ate two entire pineapples!

we notice that the magnolia tree is about to blossom (the leaves get all yellow and spotty because the tree is putting its energy into the flowers)

our little ladybug larvae

plant maze designs continue

the PingPong ball will be suspended from the top of the box to give the plant another obstacle to bypass

everyone comes together at the end of the day to share their designs

the City comes to pour a new section of the sidewalk
this is very interesting and the children watch it for most of the day

in a lull in the action, I manage to sneak in a quick lesson on the layers of the Earth and how to magnetize a piece of steel to be a floating compass

we check our homemade compass (magnetized felting needle, drinking straw, modeling beeswax to plug up the ends of the straw & bowl of water) to see if it lines up with a store-bought one and it does!

when most of the workmen have left and only one remains, whose job to smooth the top layer of wet concrete, we go over 

he answers the children's questions and lets them touch the wet sidewalk

giving the horses a bath

new board games!
Cauldron Quest (cooperative)

Election Night! (competitive)

a beautiful piece of fluorite

checking all of my eggs to see if they sink or float (fresh or have gone bad)

the workmen come back for the final steps on the dry concrete

the beginning of the Goobi craze

we set up a new sprinkler in the front yard that is easier to run through that the one in the vegetable garden

SSR in the Canteen Tent

everyone is curious about Election Night!

Stamp Game in the driveway

our ladybugs are entering their pupal stage and attaching themselves to the sides of Ladybug Land

watching the ladybugs carefully

introduction to Fractions 

Lemon Volcanoes

Design Your Own Boardgame

this becomes the hot new trend

an MLB page for "The Ancient War:  Membranes vs. Machines"

thank you to Chet for the enormous donation of bamboo poles!

we organize them into groups based on length

thank you to Justin for the fascinating Physics lesson!

what is on either side of the spectrum of visible light?

fort building commences, with some students creating free-standing structures and others using the bamboo to add to their existing Nooks in the trees & bushes of the garden beds

we clear away the old bent cage around the hawthorn tree and get ready to put mulch around it

looking for the long thorns

the Pony Reins are done, complete with jingle bells!

look, Mom, I think I can balance this pole on my head

small balls of yarn for Nature Treasure Paths

unwind the yarn, create a path to a Nature Treasure, then 
have your friend follow the yarn and wind up the ball while walking along 

we decide the roots on the pineapple are long enough  
it's ready to go into a pot!

we bring our study of life on Early Earth up to the Sunlight Eaters and the amazing story of photosynthesis

next it's time for Plant Families and "true" Botany

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!