Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Rocks/Crystals: part 3

More on rocks and crystals!  
We have been talking about the different shapes crystals can be.   We looked at close up pictures of salt and sugar, and we looked at the crystals we grew from Borax with magnifying glasses.  

This is a model of a crystal we put together:  (green thing is an eraser)

Levi tried out the "scratch test" on the back of a tile he found in the garage.   He was disappointed to discover his "big chunk of gold" was fools gold!   It had a black streak, not yellow.  

And, lots of fun, he hammered geodes.    I got these at a garage sale a long time ago, but they can be ordered online lots of places too.    We talked about how geodes are formed:   water containing minerals seeps into "bubbles" in rocks,  the water evaporates, leaving crystals behind.   Sometimes the process happens multiple times leaving layers of crystal that can be different colors.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fort Wilderness, the Wilderness Lodge, and more rocks!

Levi was invited to a bday party at the Disney campgrounds, so we spent the day there enjoying the area, and then having a great time at the party!    It was our first time there and we decided we would like to camp out sometime.     Even on a fun day out we managed to find some learning along the way.  

Boat ride

This guy posed for a picture! 

Levi LOVED playing dodge-ball.   A sport that combines my least favorite things to do - running around in hot sun while balls are being thrown at me.    I just watched.     Levi played the entire time they had a game going and had the "best time ever" according to him.     

We stayed for the camp fire, they had a sing-a-long, with marshmallow roasting (we brought our own allergy friendly/vegan ones).   They do a movie after but we left before it started.  

Sing-a-long face I guess?   

And Levi met his friend Dale.   

And here is where we found some rocks!     At the Wilderness Lodge, they have a display of a bunch of real rocks in a case:

And these rocks match up with rocks that are in layers of the Grand Canyon, which we had just been talking about.   
Even more fun was the giant fire place they have in the lobby next to this display.   It represents the layers of rock, just like a giant model of the Grand Canyon page Levi colored.        It was so big I couldn't get it all in the picture

So even at Disney, you can learn about rocks.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Grand Canyon (start of our rocks/minerals/crystals study)

I've decided to do something a little different with blogging about our current unit study.   Instead of posting all at once when we are done, I will post as we go, so that I don't get overwhelmed or forget anything!  

This unit study is on Rocks, minerals, and crystals.   I'm trying to focus just on those elements so that we can do a "land formations" type study after this one, but there will be some overlap! 

To start, here is my pintrest board of inspiration, resources, books, lapbook stuff, unit study stuff, etc

We are reading the Magic School Bus chapter book, Rocky Road Trip, and using the lapbook from Ye Shall Know that goes with it.  

First, Levi read a book about the Grand Canyon from the series "Adventures with the Parkers" .   This sparked his interest in rocks in the first place.  I  had never heard of this series before, but already we have 2 more checked out from the library and another ordered off ebay.    This series is about 10yr old twins who go to different National Parks.    They are stories, of the kids adventure through the park, but throughout there are "boxes" that include real facts.   The stories themselves are all about actual locations, plants, animals, history, land formations, etc.    The pictures in the book are both real photographs and drawings of the characters and what they are doing.   Its a wonderful mix of fact and realistic fiction with lots of educational value while still being high interest.  

This is the one Levi read

Levi did some artwork, Grand Canyon style.   I found the inspiration picture on pintrest, and didn't realize until we were done that there was a lesson plan for it!   I used to teach art classes in a "step by step" style that teaches different techniques, so I used that method to make my own lesson plan for it.   It came out wonderful! 


Because the Grand Canyon is in both the books Levi read, we have been talking a lot about it, the rocks, how it was formed etc.     Levi did this fact sheet, and we used this idea about erosion/sedimentary rock formation, and the formation of the canyon to do an experiment. 

First, he filled a tray with sandy soil (any dirt/sand should work)

Then draw a line down the center with your finger and add the hose:


You can see the deepening/widening of the canyon/riverbed in the center, watch erosion happen as the sides gradually break away, and see the "sediment" that ends up at the bottom of the river.  

We also did this experiment to learn more about sedimentary rocks with layers of dirt, sand, rocks, and whatever was in the compost.  And we have these geodes starting to form, Levi was anxious to start that experiment!

That's what we have done so far!    We have plans to make our own rocks, and do some other experiments so I will share those as we go.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Valentines Day and Zebras at the Zoo

Happy Valentines day!  (a few days late!)

This is Levi's valentine shirt, made with the only zebra fabric I had on hand, chosen because we got to meet the zebras on valentines day!     I really like this pattern though next time I will make the arms longer.  Levi seems to have monkey arms - I used one size for width and 2 sizes up for length and the arms just fit him in length even though I made the cuffs a little wider!     I'm going to modify it some more to make it work, because the body and shoulders fit him really nicely. 

Embroidery design from Lynnie Pinnie.  This one didn't stitch out quite as nicely as I'm used to with these designs, I'm not sure why but I didn't worry too much for just a valentine shirt. 

He paired it with his "twist and shout" pants.  

Some pre-party crafting: 

We went to the Explorers Club Valentine Party.   He used his metal detector to look for treasure (didn't find any)

And climbed a tree

On valentines day, we went to the zoo.    We got a special invite to see the zebras before anyone else.  The new extension allows you to see the camels, lemurs and giraffes more easily. 

Levi showing off the "love monster" I made him for valentines day.   They gave him zebra ears to wear too!

Jahari (the big male) kept looking at us on the new bridge.  It looked like he was asking us for snacks, now that the new extension goes along the edge of the giraffe area.   Giraffes usually get snacks at the giraffe platform.  

And another giraffe was easily seen

The zoo had a quartet serenade the zebras (both girls)  for valentines day.  They had bouquets of "flowers" made from hay and apples. 

Finally the zebras came out.   They were hiding a bit at first, because they aren't quite used the rhinos who now have to share their enclosure. 

Aren't they pretty? 

More love monsters I made for valentine gifts!  

Happy Valentines Day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Twist and Shout pants

I got to test the new "Twist and Shout" pants by Made by Jack's Mum.   These pants were really easy to make, came together nicely, and have a unique "twist" (literally!).     As you can see, the leg of the pant looks like its twisted, but its really just the way the front and back pattern pieces are shaped.   I used two colors of corduroy, but these will work in one color two, and can be made in other fabrics.   There are 3 different waist options, but I went for the faux fly, which has a snap (or button) that functions, but still pulls up and down with elastic.    They have an "extra long" option as well, which is great for slim kids and gives the option to roll up (so more room for growing)
I also added an "&" embroidery to the leg, as a nod to the name of the pattern!   

Florida Earthskills Weekend

Levi and I attended the "Florida Earthskills Gathering" which was a 4 day gathering to learn "earthskills" (primitive type skills), and spend some time outdoors.    There are many different classes for kids and adults in all kinds of different earthskills, plus typical camping activities like hanging out around the camp fire.   Check out all of the classes here.

We camped out in an area designated as "Family and Elder" camping, which turned out to be a really nice spot because we were close to the kids area and the main fire, which was the central gathering place.     Every morning there was a "morning circle" where activities for the day were announced.   There was a morning and afternoon class each day with many to choose from.  

The kids program had classes for them as well, and lots of games and running around too.   They built a "fairy garden", did tye dye with black walnut,  learned how to start a fire with a bow drill, went on edible plant walks, did some henna tattoos, made natural soda, played a lot of "hand tag" learned about some local fish, did some water critter catching, and had a great time playing outside.   They even played "man hunt" which is something like hide and seek/tag but in the dark with flashlights. 

The classes I took were:   Didgeridoo making (from bamboo), an edible plant walk and bamboo craft (I made a bowl, cup and utensils from bamboo), and stargazing.     I only got to take a few classes because I did "worktrade", I helped with the kids program in exchange for a very reduced rate for the gathering. 

The food was really good - vegan and vegetarian options always, and fresh grown food.    Everything was cooked over the campfire!  

There was a camp fire each night (the last night was a big huge bonfire), and people would sing songs and play instruments and tell stories.  

It was a really fun experience for Levi and I, and we learned a lot of interesting things.   We will try and attend again next year for sure, hopefully with even more friends to join us!

A beautiful description of the Earthskills Gathering by Nettle and Thread here

Morning circle: 

 Levi has a snack from the kids area (they had fresh cut fruit, sugar cane and tea).   The tents behind him were where some of the classes met.

Levi and his new friends carving sticks by the main fire.   Many of the kids spent a lot of time making "hatchets" carved from wood. 

Main Fire

Levi near the kitchen, behind him is an oven.

Kitchen area and to the far right is the bathrooms (which were porta potties, but did flush, so gross, but tolerable!)

Me, our tent, and the didgeridoo and cup I made from bamboo.   (yes, I made the skirt too, I will be making some to put up for sale as I've gotten many requests!)

Some more about the didgeridoo class can be found here from another student in the class. 

Levi on the slackline we set up behind our tent - many kids and adults came and tried our slackline!

(I made this outfit too of course)

Nothing to see here, but this is what the Earthskills gathering sounded like at night.   One is the fiddle music, and the other has fiddle music, drumming, kids having a snack, and the hoe down. 

And as usual, I made Levi some clothes for the occasion, 3 shirts and the "crazy pants" he is wearing in the picture of him carving by the campfire.   

This describes Levi well: 

Camping shirt, of course. 

And this one is a combo of embroidery and screenprint, inspired by this

Some fun on the backs as well.