Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Under the Sea Unit Study - Starfish

Introducing our next unit study  - Under the Sea!   This was always one of my favorite topics to study in school, and its fitting for a summer unit study, especially because we have the ocean 2min away for some hands on exploration.   There are plenty of ocean resources here in Florida, so I expect that we will be spending some time on this one.

First, we went to the library (of course), and maxed out our 50 book limit with a stack of books about the ocean. 

We started out by learning all about starfish!

I used the sea star lapbook from Homeschool share for some of these activities. 

Starfish are fascinating creatures for such simple looking creatures.  
Levi decorated a starfish with cornmeal, representing their spiny exterior.
We talked about symmetry, and the difference between bilateral and radial symmetry.  (I hadto think about that one before I could explain it!).
We watched a youtube video that showed the anatomy of a starfish (a dissection).
Then one of the books we checked out had a whole section on regeneration,with pictures to explain it.  The lapbook had a printable with a moveable arm to demonstrate this.
I explained how starfish move, and we practiced "walking like a starfish", I also had him look at some suction cups to show what a starfish's tubular feet look like.
A little math thrown in - counting by 5's using starfish cut outs, they have 5 arms, so that helped to explain it more.  This is a skill we've been working on in his Life of Fred math book as well. 
And the last lapbook element was a little tab book I made, about what an Echinoderm is -
  -  they have no head
  - body plan based on a 5pt star with a mouth in the middle
  - they have tube feet for moving/gathering food
  - they have a hard skeleton under their skin
Levi did a little craft project as well.

Sandpaper Starfish

  1. Paint a piece of white construction paper all over with just water.
  2. Using a few shades of blue/turquoise, paint the paper with wavy lines.  Let it dry.
  3. Color sandpaper all over using oil pastels (crayons will work too, but pastels are really fun on sandpaper)
  4.  Cut out a starfish shape and stick it to your background. 
 Levi was funny because he was so thrilled to be coloring on sandpaper - he said he couldn't believe anyone could every think to do that!   He has never been much of a color-er, but lately he is more into it, and I think fun textures like this help make it more fun for him. 


The finished work!

 We also learned all about how starfish eat.  They have two stomachs, one for grabbing their food, and one for digesting it.

Levi explains it here:

In starfish mode, I made a set of cute starfish for The Little Sewing Shop

You can purchase them here.

I also learned how to make this picture:

Into this:

Kinda fun.... I'm still not the best at taking pictures, but I'm working on it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cothes Pin Schedule

My mom has been saying that she thinks Levi should have some sort of schedule to his day.   For me, this is hard, because I am not a "schedule person".  I either get bored with the repetitiveness, or get thrown off with unexpected changes. 
So my compromise is to try it, with a schedule that shows Levi what needs to be done each day.   Its easy to change up at any time, and I can add more activities quickly when I think of them!

This set up would also be great for timeline activities! 

Clothes Pin Schedule
You will need:
 - 12 clothes pins
- yard stick
- paint chips
- printer for images
- hot glue gun/glue sticks

  1.  Heat up your hot glue gun, and while you wait figure out your spacing for your clothes pins.   The ruler makes it easy!  Mine are 2.5" apart.   
  2.  Glue them on, I lined up the metal bit on the clothes pin with the edge of the yard stick. 
  3.  On your computer, find some clip art for your schedule items.   I just googled the key word for what I was looking for + "clip art" to find everything under google images.   I also found images of some of the work books we use.   You can also use photographs (I used one of our dog for dog walks).    Size them how you want them (mine are not all the same, the are around 2-3" though), I made a chart and put them in that.   You can add text underneath if you want (like "eat lunch" or "relaxing time")
  4. Print them out, cut them out, and glue them onto paint chips.  cut them out again leaving a boarder all around.  
  5. Attach it to the wall at eye level for your child, so they can see it!   I just used blue-tack.

You could paint it if you wanted to, but I kinda like it in its natural state. 

After finishing each activity, just flip it over!    This is helping me with record keeping as well, at the end of the day I can look at the flipped over cards to review what we did and write it all down. 
I also though it would be fun to put a little happy face sticker on the back of each, I just haven't found any yet.

Here are some more of the cards I made.  Its easy enough to print out more when you find later that you've forgotten something.   I made one for going to the gym this morning. 
The images are from clip art, our chuch's website, a photo of our dog, pics of the front of workbooks, and a pic from the Honda website that looks like our car. 

And thats it!  Super fast, easy and cheap way to make a schedule. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My website is up!

Check out the new website!!!


I'd love to know what you think of it!  I will be adding more each day, so keep checking back. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Green Meadows Farm Visit, and Our Finished Farming Unit

We finished up our unit on farming today by reading the rest of Charlotte's Web (again!), and then watching the movie (picked up at the library today after super hero training).  We also went on a field trip to a place called Green Meadow's Farm.  Its a petting farm that has all sorts of animals, a hay ride, pony rides and a train ride.  They do continuous tours, so you just jump in when you show up and keep going until you've done everything!   It was a nice way to check out all of the animals we've studied and more.   The only drawback is that you had a limited time at each stop, I wish we would have been able to spend more time at some.

The first animals we saw were Zebu's which are a type of cattle. 

 Next were the Llama's.  Levi thought it was interesting that they are often used as "guard dogs" on farms.  They also have the 'under bite' because in the wild, they use those teeth to strip bark off of trees. 

Next was a hay ride.  Levi took the opportunity to take some more notes, the whole day he wrote notes in a little book I made for him, listing animals, drawing pictures, and writing down new information that he learned.  

The tractor that pulled the hay 'wagon' had giant tires.  

Next were the turkeys.  Levi learned that they are territorial, and that only the males gobble.  They were 'showing off' for us.   The big brown one is the dominant male.  I though it was interesting that the bigger their 'beard' is, the older they are - it grows as they age. 

Next was the pony rides, this is Butterscotch.  I got to lead him around for Levi's ride.

 And then there was a train ride

 Next we walked over to a building that held a collecting of antique items - some cool farmhouse stuff, and some smaller animals.

Outside was a big tortoise. 

Guinea pigs


Old school desks - all different sizes

Then we saw the baby cow and his mama.  The mama's name is Sweet Lips!  Cows give 6-8 gallons of milk a day, so they drink 10 gallons of water a day. 

 MOOOO!   (both the cow, and the random guy in the background!)

Elmer the water buffalo likes being sprayed with the hose.  He is around 1800lbs, and water buffaloes were often used for plowing.  This is also the type of buffalo that makes mozzarella cheese (well, not this particular buffalo, he is a boy!)

Tigger is a "Zorse" - half zebra, and half horse.  Tigger's dad was a zebra, which makes the first part of "zorse.   Hybrid animals like this one are sterile.  They have beautiful stripy markings!

Next was sheep petting, they were nice and soft. 

The bison, Peanut is smaller than ones in the wild at around 900lbs.  Males usually get up to 2200lbs!  He is loosing his winter coat, which is why he looks a bit shaggy.

Next up was the babies!  Baby chicks, who were about 6 days old, and baby ducks.  They put them in a basket and passed them out for us to hold.  The little chick fell asleep while Levi was holding it.  

 And Levi took a picture of me with the little bitty duck!


 The the kids got to feed lettuce to the baby pot-belly pigs.  These guys can be house trained and are as smart as dogs.  Apparently, they make good pets!

The goats!  There were a lot of babies, including twins  that were only 4 days old

The 4 day old baby! 

 There were also many wild peacocks around.  Levi kept calling them 'pecans'.  They warned the kids that if they chase the peacocks, the peacocks will chase them back! 

 Then we got to spend some time with the adult chickens.  Levi managed to catch and hold a few of them (very gently of course).  There were several different kinds, including some funny looking ones with no feathers on their necks called 'naked necks' 

This one had eggs it was sitting on. 

While learning about chickens earlier in the week, we put an egg in vinegar:

This is the result after 3 days.  It turned to "rubber" because the vinegar disolved the calcium in the egg shell, leaving the membrane intact. 

An ostrich egg is the same as 10 chicken eggs and takes over 2 hours to hard boil.  And if you get too close, they will steal your shiny things! 

 They had several tractors, and other farm equipment that the kids were allowed to climb on. 

 I like this quote they had near the entrance.

It was a fun trip!  

 And then we finished up Levi's lapbook.

We did some different painting techniques to make some decoration of the backgrounds.  For the bird pages, he used a feather as a paint brush. 

And here is the finished lapbook.  It turned out HUGE with 2 file folders, and several page extensions.  I also used brads to attach a couple page protectors, to add pockets for pictures and other little things.

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Super Hero Training Camp

Another fun library activity- Super hero training camp!   It was raining this afternoon, so perfect timing.   I think this whole idea would be fun for a birthday party as well.

Getting himself in superhero mode! 

The kids arrived and got a list of tasks to do:

First of all, Levi decorated his mask.  It was made of fun foam and they used stickers and glitter glue.

Then was the ROCK OF STRENGTH!   He lifted that huge rock right above his head!

In another feat of strength, he lifted 2 large weights up and down

He did a maze made from tape on the floor, and then crawled through the tunnel

Next he saved a "baby" by crossing a burning lava pit:  (teen volunteers helped with this whole event, here they are making sure no one falls into lava)
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My little superman:

And the most fun of all, was smashing through a brick wall!

They had to rebuild it for every kid, sometimes more than once each, they loved it!

And Levi will get a certificate for completing all of his tasks.   What an exciting way to spend the afternoon!

And of course, Levi needed a new shirt for the occasion.  I had these sleeves cut out of yellow sitting in my sewing room, so I used them with the blue to make this slim fit lap-t style shirt, it fit over Levis big ol' head perfectly!

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