Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last Days

We have been enjoying these last days of school.  Our school year officially ends Friday although I do sneak a few weeks in during the summer when my kids aren't looking.

In fact we are already looking forward to one more week of school when we go camping in Maine.  It doesn't seem like school but it is our opportunity to finish up our weather unit with a big finale and focus on survival skills a little, nature journaling, hiking, some life skills and cooperation as we work together to set up, keep and then break down camp.  We are praying the WEATHER will cooperate with us this year.  LOL Last year when we used this trip to finalize our ocean unit we had rain all morning while we broke down camp.  It was a sad state of affairs to say the least.

So very soon we'll be preparing for our trip.  We'll be looking at the weather maps and forecasts.  We'll be deciding what kind of weather gear we should bring.  We'll be making lists, grocery shopping, checking the camping gear, baking and packing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Greenhouse Effect

My daughter describes the greenhouse effect to me as follows:  "Water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane surround the earth and trap the sun's heat which keeps the earth warm and keeps us alive.  Without these, the earth would be a very cold place."  She just finished up module 10 in Apologia Biology and conducted a cool no, hot experiment to help us visualize the greenhouse effect which incidentally, lined up perfectly with the weather subunit I am doing with the younger two this week.

First she took the temperature outside in the sun then she placed that thermometer inside of a gallon sized zip lock bag and left it in the sun for about fifteen minutes.  When you try this at home you will see a difference in temperature.  The plastic bag is our acting greenhouse.  Now to amplify this and show the way carbon dioxide retains heat she took it one step further by filling the bag with carbon dioxide, sealing it withthe thermometer insde and then leaving it in the sun for another fifteen minutes.  Wow!  Big rise in temperature!

Here are the steps to getting the carbon dioxide in the bag as per Apologia.  (And it is much easier than some of the web recommended methods.)  You'll need:
  • empty 2 liter bottle
  • vinegar - enough to fill it about a third of the way up
  • 3 tsp. baking soda
Pour vinegar into your bottle about a third of the way.  Next pour 1 tsp of the baking soda into the vinegar in the bottle.  Wait until the bubbles stop fizzing and then pour the second tsp of baking soda in.  Before you pour the third tsp of baking soda into the bottle get your bag ready.  Get all of the air out of your bag by flattening it out and leave it unsealed just enough to fit over the top of the 2 liter bottle.  You'll have to do the final step very quickly so be ready!  OK, ready?  Pour the third tsp of baking soda into the bottle and very quickly get the bag over the opening of the bottle "sealing" it with your fingers to keep any air from getting in or carbon dioxide from getting out.  Hold the bag there until the fizzing stops and tadah, you have a bag full of carbon dioxide.  Now quickly get your thermometer back into the bag and seal it completely.

This week at co-op we will be discussing temperature and the effect it has on weather, the Earth and everything on it.  We'll also be putting together terrariums so we can have mini greenhouses in our homes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hands On Homeschool Blog Carnival May 2011

Welcome to this Spring edition of the Hands On Blog Carnival.  I hope you all had a wonderful and heartfelt Mother's day yesterday!  I'm so excited that spring is finally here.  Not just here on the calendar but the weather is actually beginning to act springlike.  We've been taking advantage of the beautiful weather to go outside with our homeschooling.  Our favorite thing to do every spring is to take a good book outside and read on a blanket spread out on the lawn.  My little kiddos all sprawl out alongside Mom and we get totally absorbed in the likes of Little House on the Prairie, Homer Price or Swiss Family Robinson.

Hopefully you too are getting outside for some relaxed schooling.  I picked up nature journals for my two younger kids last weekend at our local homechool convention.  This is a great tool for getting hands on with nature and practicing observation.  Today's carnival is full of examples of other ways to do some hands on homeschooling.  Enjoy!

Wendy presents The work of our hands posted at loving learning.

Shelly presents KONOS Unit #2: Stewardship - Africa posted at Count It All Joy.

"Dramatizing a play makes History come alive! (And it's a sneaky way for me to get the girls to memorize some facts!)"  I totally agree Nadene!!!  Here is how she does it: Playing the Mayflower Girls posted at Practical Pages.

Heather, a fellow KONOS mom, presents Becoming Butterflies... and Knights-in-the-Making posted at Cultivated Lives.

Denise says, "I need your help to finish my books of homeschool math games."  Here she presents Working on My "Let's Play Math!" Books posted at Let's Play Math!.

Margot shares two posts with us today including Terrariums   and Explore the Universe and Contribute to Astronomy posted at Learning Beyond The Book.

I love field trips because they are the ultimate in hands on learning.  They really put you in the midst of your subject of study.  Pamela has spent some time in Arizona and shares her trip with us in her article Saguaro and a Shoot Em Up posted at Blah, Blah, Blog.

Jane plays a sweet game of Magnetic Fishing for All Ages, a game I used to play with my kids except it was a letter version, posted at Mama Pea Pod.

Ritsumei has a fun way to Play With Your Food and she's also sharing a giveaway in her post about Owl Puke Pellets  posted at Baby Steps.

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