Friday, November 30, 2018

Maths of Practical Life: Mass and Volume

A busy and exciting week as we dove deeper into the Metric System!

We looked at units of measurement for length (meter), mass (gram), and volume (liter). We practiced estimating in grams every day with the Estimation Wall. This is a fun activity to do at home, too, if you have a scale which can give you the mass of something in grams. I just used my little kitchen scale. Choose an item and let everyone guess its mass. When all of the guesses have been written down, weigh the item. Whoever had the closest guess is the winner. Write the item name and its mass on a sticky note and put it up on the wall. Leave the collection of sticky notes up, with a new item and a new sticky note being added each day, so that people can see this information and gradually increase the accuracy of their estimates.

Our items were

  • Monday - chalkboard eraser (45 g)
  • Tuesday - red onion (346 g)
  • Thursday - poker chip (3 g)
  • Friday - lemon (75 g)

Students found this activity to be quite fun... so much so that they've asked me to continue it over the next few weeks as part of our daily math.

In order to help us better understand meter, gram, and liter, we also made a recipe in metric every day this week. The recipes had to be nut-free, vegan, and quick enough to make with children in just an afternoon. Here they are:

All of these recipes were delicious and not very difficult!

On Monday we will add finishing touches to our main lesson books (numbering pages, adding the table of contents, decorating the front and back covers) and then it will be time to move on to our December topic, the Class Play. The Measurement Main Lesson Book is our first written in Script and includes two page spreads on clocks, calendars, reading a thermometer in Fahrenheit and Celsius, conductors and insulators, mass vs. weight and mass vs. volume, the Metric Stair, and our Estimation Wall activity results.

do we measure a solid, like an eraser, in mL or in grams?

I place the item under the arrow each day;
student estimates are written on the chalkboard itself

estimates for the mass of a red onion on Day Two

Monday, November 26

  • continue calendar making project and make art and write in numbers for September 2019

  • introduce and do the estimation wall activity: chalkboard eraser
  • briefly explain the difference between mass, weight, and volume (note that weight can change based on gravity and volume can change based on temperature, but mass is a constant)
  • do Exploring Heat 8 activity from NEED EnergyWorks student packet and create a line graph of our results (as a group)
  • make metric recipe: Minestrone in Minutes
  • consider weight vs. volume further; discuss why professional bakers weigh ingredients such as flour instead of measuring by volume; do Floating Rice Bottle demonstration with a chopstick, vase, and rice
  • look at a variety of cereal boxes to find the note that they are packed by weight instead of volume

Tuesday, November 27

  • continue calendar making project and make art and write in numbers for October 2019

  • do the estimation wall activity: red onion
  • make metric recipe: Sweet Potato Soup
  • explain gravity clearly; explore the difference between mass and weight by looking at the website Your Weight on Other Worlds
  • explore the difference between mass and volume by looking at and feeling the difference in the mass of identically-sized Density Cubes (this set of 12 contains cubes of acrylic, oak, pine, poplar, steel, aluminum, copper, brass, nylon, PVC, lignum vitae & polypropylene)

Thursday, November 29

Friday, November 30

  • continue calendar making project and make art and write in numbers for November and December 2019

  • do the estimation wall activity: lemon
  • make metric recipe: Strawberry & Rose Sorbet
  • discuss density (the relationship between an object's mass and its volume) and explain how a Galileo thermometer works; go outside and come back inside and watch the blown glass bubbles move

  • add the Metric Stair to the MLB

BONUS TIME - Friday, November 30

    Since our Bird Art Show wrapped up last week and we don't have Science Club again until January (so that all of our creativity can be focused on the Class Play), we used our time today for a few additional fun explorations of mass, volume, density, and buoyancy.

  • do the Orange Buoyancy Experiment from Playdough to Plato

    We used a lemon and it still worked fine. This is a great experiment! Look at the whole citrus fruit, predict whether it will sink or float, put it in water, observe, take it out and measure the mass. Then peel the citrus fruit, predict whether it will sink or float, put it in water, observe, take it out and measure the mass again. Discuss!

    Some things to think about:

    Remember that density is a relationship between mass and volume. Talk about the competing forces on something which is in the water (we had already begun to talk about this with the Galileo thermometer). Think about the Titanic. Its volume did not change when it hit the iceberg but its mass did when the compartments filled up with water. Too many compartments filled up for it to stay afloat, thus the relationship between its mass and its volume had changed enough to make a major difference. Think also about life jackets. Yes, that citrus peel was adding mass but it was also full of air pockets. Look up close at the peel to find the air pockets.

    So, would this work with all citrus fruits? I don't know but I would love to find out!

    The children found this exploration fascinating. They also wanted to see if the peel would float on its own, which it does, even when the curve of the peel is filled with water. They pushed it all the way down to the bottom of the punch bowl but it still floated back up.

  • search the house for two items which have the same mass but one sinks and one floats (this ended up being a Lyra colored pencil and a Teifoc mini brick roofing tile, both with a mass of 11 g)

  • design experiments to explore how strong spaghetti and/or linguini are as well as whether the pieces are stronger when arranged horizontally or vertically, based on
    How Strong is Spaghetti? STEM Challenge from Frugal Fun for Boys
    Strength in Numbers: Spaghetti Beams from Scientific American
  • continue to use the scale throughout the experiments and explorations to find the mass of each amount which the pasta could (or could not) hold and add it to data tables in Science notebooks

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Script & SWI Lessons in November

Friday, November 2

  • review terms morphology, prefix, suffix, and base
  • look at how the addition of suffixes can change the part of speech as well as changing (morphing) the word's meaning, using < joyfully > as an example; use the box of Montessori Grammar Symbols to present the symbols for noun, article, adjective, verb, and adverb

    < joy > is a noun

    < joyful > is an adjective

    < joyfully > is an adverb

  • explain terms morpheme, phoneme, and grapheme
  • focus on Script, reviewing the letters learned so far (u, a, o, c, d, e) and introducing new letters (q, y, g, n, m, r)
  • brainstorm what words we can write with the additon of each new letter and practice writing them




      you dog


      my good dog and me

Friday, November 9

  • explore < gnomom > (the part of the sundial which casts a shadow), a word we discovered in the book The Story of Clocks and Calendars

  • look at its meaning (step 1 in SWI)
  • look at its structure (step 2 in SWI) and consider the graphemes and phonemes; consider other words which also start with < gn > where the < g > is silent and which might be possible relatives:

      < gnome >
      < gnat >
      < gnarled >
      < gnostic >

  • brainstorm word sums for < gnomon > and review that a vowel suffix can replace a single final non-syllabic e (like in < make + ing --> making > :

      gn + o + mon

      gno + mon

      gn + om + on

      gnome/ + on

  • look up < gnomon > in the Online Etymology Dictionary (step 3 in SWI) and discover that it is a loan word (a word which has come to us from another language with its spelling completely unchanged):
    < gnomon > comes from Latin gnomon from Greek gnomon
  • look at the Proto-Indo-European root *gno which means "to know" and consider the list of modern words which also come from this root and where we can easily see it carry a sense of knowing, such as

      < diagnosis >
      < recognize >
      < ignore >
      < ignorant >
  • consider the words on this list which are more of a surprise, such as < gnome > and < nobility >
  • continue working with our fountain pens and learning Script:

      review previous letters in emblem < u >:
      u, a, o, c, e, d, y, g, q

      review previous letters in emblem < n >:
      n, m, r

      introduce remaining letters in emblem < n >:
      k, h, b, p

      introduce the diagonal downstroke family:
      x, v, w

      introduce the single downstroke letter family:
      l, t, f, i, j

Friday, November 30

  • review that SWI proceeds scientifically and systematically as it delves into exploration of our orthography system
  • explore < welcome > and < history > by making draft word sums; check < welcome > & < history > in the online etymology dictionary and read about their origins (Old English and Greek, respectively)
  • list other words which have the base < histor >

      < historic >
      < historian >
      < historical >
      < prehistoric >

  • finish up learning our Script alphabet, with a focus on the single downstroke letter family (l, t, f, i, j) and the sibilant pair (s, z); begin to write some phrases now that we can write whatever we want!

      ice cream melts fast

      jam and jelly are yummy

now we can write our main lesson book pages in Script!

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

November - Little Squirrel and the Mysterious Knocking

The children know the animals around us are preparing for Winter as the weather turns colder. Here are a few notes from our week of Squirrel Fun!

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time

Monday, November 26

Celebration of a student birthday!

Tuesday, November 27

This delicious Honey Cake recipe tastes best a day or two after baking, so we made the cake knowing that we couldn't taste it until it was Stone Soup day. The students were perfectly happy to wait.

Note: We used instant coffee as well as the cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.

Play continues to evolve both inside and outside. Outside, the students have loved my new collection of child-size rakes from For Small Hands:

Indoors this week, the Monday play was all about playdough surprises. The children each went into different parts of the classroom and carefully turned their backs on each other to make surprise designs with playdough. When the children were ready, they eagerly showed friends what they had made.

On Tuesday, the play trend was pretending to "paint" the walls and furniture with clean dry paintbrushes. Cat play with balls of yarn was also popular.

Thursday, November 29

Thursday play centered around the packing material which came inside the box with my new printer. If you want a great box for your child to make into a fort, I highly recommend office equipment boxes! The large box from our Elves & Angels play stands was tremendous... and I got a huge box from Nova Natural on my doorstep yesterday, with Zac's St. Nicholas Day gift in it.

When it came to today, the pieces of Styrofoam inside the printer box were a hit! The children first hammered golf tees into the Styrofoam and then tried to assemble the pieces (with the golf tees as "nails" joining them together) into a structure. It was a wonderful project for collaborating and I overheard a lot of thoughtful communication like, "Let me tell you my strategy."

Of course, today was also Stone Soup Day! Here was our list of group contributions to the Stone Soup this week:

sweet potato
cherry tomato

We also had some juicy cucumber slices, as well as our lovely Honey Cake.

I had originally planned for us to make wet felted acorns as a final follow-up to our squirrel story. However, I didn't want our day to feel too rushed and I loved the collaborative constructive play that was happening, so I gave them extra time and didn't worry about the clock. We will simply push our acorn craft to next week. It can then be a St. Nicholas Day present for the families!
P.S. Parents, be sure to be surprised. :-)

I just received a large donation of art and school supplies from one of our art teachers this week. It included many balls of yarn plus some wool roving and felting needles, art books, glue, markers, lots of styles of decorative scissors, glitter, googly eyes, fabric scraps, colored pencils, and so on. I was so very pleased to get the little packets of wool colors, since my extra-large basket of wool roving would be way too overhwelming for the younger students. This way, I have four small bags of colors and it will be sweet and simple. They can use the colors in their own bag or trade with a friend. Perfect!

I want to give a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who shares their time, talents, and supplies to enrich our communal homeschooling endeavors!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Photos from Mid-November

making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins with Natalie

continuing with Science experiments for Temperature
this gives us lots of practice in reading a thermometer in Celsius

making our lanterns with self-hardening clay

making pinch pots is hard work

punching little holes in so that the light can shine out

look at what I made!

great job!

our lanterns sit and harden for several days

the Spoon Experiment helps us discover Conductors & Insulators
sterling silver, wood, stainless steel

plastic, horn, iron

the Blubber Experiment:
two gallon Ziploc bags nested one inside the other
lots of Crisco slathered in between them
one hand goes in the insulated bag...

while the other hand goes straight into the ice water!
we measured the temp:  4 degrees Celsius

yikes!  that is cold!

and, surprisingly, lots of children wanted to do it again

testing out our white glue mixed with India ink

lots of beautiful artwork is coming together for our calendar projects

we wake up to a snowy day

helping with Stone Soup

perfect for kids who come in cold and tired after
a morning spent playing in the snow

these friends lay out the collection of silks to create habitats
"this is the dry desert"

and carefully place all of our animals in their correct spot
including the animals in our board games!
Pengoloo penguins and Snug as a Bug in a Rug bugs

outside a snowman takes form

and they made a snowball so big they couldn't roll it any more

sitting in boxes is a hot trend right now

so is coloring on the boxes

this friend loves to hide like a kitty cat

movement verses at Circle Time
"Bear Has a Snout" from The Breathing Circle

our beautiful rainbow of beeswax colors

making rolled beeswax candles for our little clay lanterns

Natalie likes making the calendar artwork too
these are her pretty little wine cork stamped ladybugs

science experiment for Conductors & Insulators
three cups:  plastic, paper, and Styrofoam
which one keeps water coldest?

organizing our data into a bar graph

the final Temperature activity:

carefully setting out the muffin cups

using the kitchen scale to measure our sugar in grams

carefully measuring flour and getting it just right

time to measure the chocolate chips
and get your picture taken helping with the recipe

100 grams

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