Sunday, May 30, 2021

Botany Week II

Continuing with the Montessori First and Second Great Lessons!

Monday, May 24

  • School Meeting: discuss Saturday's box turtle and snake sightings
  • Early Childhood: celebrate Zac's birthday with the Celebration Sun and Solar Jar from Waseca Biomes, Colored Globe of the Continents from Nienhuis, and the 16 hole birthday ring, six beeswax candles, and ten wooden ornaments from Nova Natural

    have fresh pineapple as a birthday snack (this was so sweet because we used some NOS birthday paper plates which my grandmother bought in the 1960s and had in the back of the kitchen cabinet) and set out a portion of the pineapple for the gnomes in our garden

  • Gardening Projects: cut back the hedge in front of house so that it is easier to get to the front spigot, set up a second hose, give all of the hedge clipping to the Early Childhood kiddos to build paddocks for the pretend horses, check on Plant Adoption and water all of the plants, set up Plant Experiments from The Curious Kid's Science Book by Asia Citro (design a plant maze, make a plant grow down instead of up)
  • First Great Lesson: read and discuss "Soup of Elements" from Mythology of Microbes; do "Density Jar" activity from MM binder using water, oil, honey; look at two items with the same mass (11 grams) but one sinks and one floats (wood pencil vs. roof tile from Teifoc kit); explain density as a relationship between mass and volume; recall that sponges always float no matter how full of water they are, icebergs always float

Tuesday, May 25

  • EC: the big event of today was watching the City repair the sidewalk!

    we watched them dig up the loose gravel which had been put down temporarily, tamp down a new foundation, put down the wood frame for the new sidewalk sections, and pour and smooth the concrete!

    I had everyone stay far away from the workmen but, when all of the equipment had left and there was only one worker remaining to smooth out the wet concrete, he gave us permission to go more closely and watch what he was doing; he answered the children's questions and even allowed them to touch the wet concrete since he would still be able to repair any marks they made with their fingers

    it took up most of the morning but it actually went really well with the First Great Lesson conversation we had today about rocks, since concrete is a manmade rock and he told us all of the ingredients in it!

  • First Great Lesson: recall "Soup of Elements" from Mythology of Microbes, look at Layers of the Earth cards from the Rock Cycle Mat by Waseca Biomes, do "Make a Floating Compass" and "Clapping a Beat" activies from the MM binder, add "Soup of Elements" to MLB

    Accepted Half-Lives of Commonly Used Radioisotopes (PDF)

    one child wondered aloud, is the base of < compass >, < pass > ?
    yes, it is!
    com + pass ---> compass

  • Snack: read How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World by Faith McNulty
  • Play: tag, giving horses a bath, magnolia leaf fights (the magnolia is shedding many of its leaves right now in preparation for blooming)

Wednesday, May 26

  • Nature: watching our first ladybugs go into their pupal stage! they are bright yellow when they first transform (and, just like caterpillars going into the chrysalis, they wiggle and look exactly like a kid deep inside a sleeping bag) but then become dull and more camouflaged
  • SWI: adding the layers of the Earth to the MLB has actually been a really useful refresher for one of the three suffixing conventions (consonant doubling)

    Inner Core: the base of < inner > is < in >
    because < in > ends with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, the consonant is doubled

    in + er ---> inner

    Outer Core: the base of < outer > is < out >
    because < out > does not end with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel, no doubling

    out + er ---> outer

    this convention prevents confusion; without it, < hopping > would look like < hoping >
    hop + ing ---> hopping
    hope + ing ---> hoping

    in other words, if there is doubling, you know the base did NOT end with a replaceable e (which is useful for figuring out word sums)

    fatted ---> fat + ed
    fated ---> fate + ed

  • First Great Lesson / Snack: have a student bring in examples of the IL state mineral to pass around (fluorite), look at how fluorite forms octahedrons naturally, consider the relationship between fluorite and the word fluorescent, read and discuss a quick chapter "The Building Blocks of Life" from Mythology of Microbes, read article Freshly Made Plutonium from Outer Space Found on Ocean Floor from NPR, discuss Betelgeuse going supernova in the near (0 - 200,000 years from now) future and look up what scientists believe about the reaons behind its recent dimming

    interestingly, these articles show that heavier elements aren't only formed by stars going supernova... two neutron stars can collide... stars can belch out new elements as an early part of their dying process (one student described this as coughing up creation goo)

  • Unscheduled Wednesday:

    introduce new board games Cauldron Quest (cooperative) and Election Night! (competitive)

    discover that although Cauldron Quest does not require reading it does require an understanding of odd and even numbers so I gave a quick lesson on that to my rising first graders

    follow a chipmunk around and try to find the entrance to his burrow

    first magnolia blossoms today!

    play with Goobi kit

    test all of my eggs from a friend's chickens to see if they have gone bad (which they hadn't)... this is one of Zac's favorite ways to help out in the kitchen and simply involves placing the eggs one at a time in a basin of water (fresh eggs sink and eggs which are bad float)

    give horses a bath

    set up a new sprinkler in the year which is easier to run through than the one in the vegetable garden

    run and run and run and run and run through the sprinkler

    stand directly over the sprinkler and try to catch all the water in your bathing suit

    put a pot from the play kitchen over your head like a helmet to keep from getting wet

    figure out where to stand so that you see a rainbow in the spray of water

    invent sprinkler tag (to catch us, we have to be in the sprinkler range)

    have contests over who is wetter

    figure out how to deal with masks when you're playing in the sprinkler (I'm changing to a paper mask because they don't make an echo when they get wet, which is annoying)

Thursday, May 27

  • EC: lots of free outdoor play, request new ingredients for the mud kitchen (they love new ingredients for sensory play and I love to clean out my spice cabinet this way; I even have a special shelf in my kitchen now for things which I am ready to hand over to them; today it was two lemons, two limes, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning)

  • First Great Lesson: read The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe by Sandra Nickel and have a long conversation about dark matter, get caught up on MLBs
  • Second Great Lesson: read and discuss "The Molecular Machines" from Mythology of Microbes
  • Lunch: play an epic game of What Does Johnny Have in His Pocket?

    (I learned about this game years ago from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic by Betty McDonald)

    here's how far we got before people were ready to quit memorizing:

    • UFO
    • canteen tent
    • ladybug
    • magnolia tree
    • plum tree
    • Ms. Renee
    • leaf
    • McDonald's
    • cheese cup
    • star
    • fork
    • whole world
    • noodles
    • box jellyfish
    • mulch pile
    • yogurt cup with a crack in it
    • milk jug full of forks
    • camel
    • carrot
    • tree that has fallen upside down
    • Christmas tree with a crack in it
    • more leaves
    • mailbox
    • futuristic water bottle
    • universe
    • two gallons of water
    • balloon
    • mule
    • the number "1500"
    • fan
    • expandex pocket
    • trash can
    • silver bell
    • list
    • super giant rabbit
    • flour
    • school
    • the song "It's Raining Tacos"
    • 3 clouds

  • Board Games: Cauldron Quest, Election Night! (today we tried out the multiplication side of the board), and "design your own board game"

    I have to say that Election Night! is a fantastic board game! it has addition and multiplication facts, strategy, Electoral College (plus the number of votes per state is up to date), and US geography (locating each state, the two letter postal abbreviations, and even state flags!)

    designing your own board game suddenly became the hot new trend here and it's been very interesting to watch

    students are making their own game pieces (origami and modeling beeswax are popular options), conceptualizing the theme and designing the board, figuring out the game mechanics for play such as how you move around the board and how you win (plus other details like how many players, what ages, cooperative or competitive)

    for children who get really into this, you can actually buy blank board game boards, spinners, etc.

    I have plenty of dice and spinners left over from old games which we disassembled, and plenty of cardstock for boards and cards; as always, I'm having them make a rough draft of their design first and then come to me with a materials list

Friday, May 28

  • School Meeting: share the new acronym which has replaced UFO

    UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena)

  • EC: lemon volcanoes, mud kitchen, horses, fort building, Quixo, Goobi, tree climbing, tag, lemon soccer, finish sewing Pony Reins

  • Nature: watch a pair of squirrels run from a tree to under a large bush... followed by another pair... followed by another pair... followed by another pair... followed by a lone squirrel (it was very strange)

    the students love to play with acronyms so they would probably have called this USP (unidentified squirrel phenomena) if we'd thought of it

  • Gardening Projects: direct sow our replacement rutabaga seeds; plant sunchoke and horseradish roots in extra large pots because it doesn't look like our pallet garden beds will happen this year; purchase three cucumber starts since our seeds are having trouble germinating and that's a plant we really want to have; notice that I forgot to close the garden gate last night and something promptly ate all of the cabbage, marigolds, lettuce, and celery
  • Second Great Lesson: recall "The Molecular Machines" from Mythology of Microbes, do "Lemon Volcanoes" and "The Usefulness of Membranes" activities from MM binder, read and discuss "Which Came First?" and add "The Ancient War: Membranes vs. Machines" to MLB, do the "Battle Artwork" activity as the illustration
  • Board Games: Election Night!, Cauldron Quest, and "designing your own board game" continue (a lot of real-life math is happening with the board game designs, such as cutting cardstock for playing cards and having to read a ruler and figure out half of 5 1/2)

  • End of the Day: play Rhyme Out!

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