Monday, October 24, 2016

The Adventures of Maya the Bee & Riding in the Dymaxion

Last week we were busy busy bees in the homeschool co-op. So busy that we were still using today to finish up our Great Inventors and Physics MLBs! Here is a snapshot of what has been going on:

Yoga (and the introduction of the Yoga Pretzels deck as a solo or partner work choice for independent work time), Farm Day, Handwork

The ASL lesson introduced new Halloween-themed vocabulary. We also reviewed all of our previous vocabulary. For kids who still need to practice their American Sign Language ABCs, we added a book to the foreign language section of independent work choices: Stripe Presents the ABCs. Our ASL teacher also suggested that families check out the Deaf Professional Arts Network website and enjoy watching some ASL Music Videos!

Gardening (pick green tomatoes, check on seedlings in the cold frame, thin radishes)

A new read-aloud story:
The Adventures of Maya the Bee by Waldemar Bonsels
We are blessed to have a leather-bound first edition copy from 1922! (I'm delighted to see that not only is this fine book still in print but it has not been simplified to eliminate the beautiful old-fashioned language. The vocabulary is fantastic: "trodden sward" instead of lawn, for example.) I'd also like to quickly point out that the Farm Day staffers have a full child-sized bee suit for those children who would like to work with their hive boxes!

Geography: Enjoying the beautiful weather outside with a Parts of the Biome Jars lesson. So interactive and fun that the kids wanted to do it again and again! We followed up on it today by completing nomenclature booklets.

Poem (we enjoyed the sweet verse from the board book Can I Have a Hug?), Math Facts (introducing positive and negative numbers on the number line, skip counting up and down), Morning Pages

Extra Lesson - the Montessori stamp game as it is used for static addition and static subtraction, dynamic addition (carrying) and dynamic subtraction (borrowing). It is helpful for the older students to have a solid grasp of these materials so that they can help out younger students. Explaining something to someone else requires you to have a full personal knowledge of it, to present the concept in small sequentially-ordered parts, and to observe the other person's mistakes and identify and remedy their flawed thinking. There is also a Decimal Stamp Game, which I don't yet have, for hands-on practice with the operations with decimals.

Catapult Challenge!
(And I hear they plan to build a trebuchet out at the farm...)

Physics: Heat, Magnetism, Electricity

bag of 50 assorted ceramic magnets

lodestone/magnetite mineral, 1/2 kilogram

iron filings, 1 lb. package

A Note:
Our Electricity work focused on static electricity but I'll also be introducing the snap-circuits "alternative energy" set for an independent work choice.

Our final Great Inventors: George Ferris, Tony Sarg (and enjoying marionettes and stilt-walking), Bob & Joe Switzer, Buckminster Fuller

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Balloons over Broadway:
The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

The Day-Glo Brothers:
The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors

Some of our families were able to attend the STEM Night at the local middle school. And ALL of our children went on Friday to ride in the replica of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car and to have a tour of his geodesic home (the real one, NOT a replica) right here in Southern Illinois. After the field trip we had another incredible surprise! The students were thrilled to learn that one of our classroom grandparents KNEW him from her childhood and they got to ask her questions about her memories of meeting Bucky Fuller.

(And thank you to that same grandparent for the donation of the large roll of paper. It will come in very handy for this week's special Halloween lesson... the Haunted House of Speech. Click on the link for a sneak preview. This was an amazing lesson I learned from my colleague at the Montessori school.)

Thank you so very much to all of the parents who scheduled time to come in and have your child share a one-on-one presentation of his/her work. It was very special to watch. Our Expo didn't work out as planned but we still ended our Science block with an amazing experience: our fabulous Field Trip Friday!

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