Sunday, 28 September 2014

Maps and Mapping

We started our mapping study by re-reading Me on the Map by Joan Sweeny.  We did several activities years ago with this that you can read about

This time L made a map of her bedroom.  I love how she drew her chair from a bird's eye view!

We also read the fantastic book Follow that Map by Scot Ritchie .  The book follows a group of children looking for their pets through all different types of maps.
I brought out of a map of our town and L and I took turns giving each other compass directions to different places.  We also looked in our family atlas (which happens to be from 1965!!!) and enjoyed seeing how different countries had changed names and borders.  The population maps were also very interesting!

Next up was making a treasure map.  We found some wonderful tutorials on Youtube that we followed.  Below is L's treasure map.  She wrote the directions to the treasure on the back of the map.

We talked about topographical and physical maps and then prepared to make a physical map of Africa.  Once again looking at the atlas and maps on the Internet L sketched out different landforms on a small map of Africa.

I then drew an outline of Africa on a big  piece of card stock and L added in all of the landforms.  She used modelling clay for the mountains, embroidery thread for the rivers, felt for the lakes and sparkles for the deserts. So much fun!

After she completed the landforms she made a legend and labelled all of the major rivers, lakes, mountains and deserts.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Human Anatomy-The Respiratory System

Getting back to human anatomy the last system we studied was the respiratory system.  

We started off at lunch with a bunch of grapes.  I explained to L how our lungs are like a bunch of grapes in that the stem looks like the bronchi to one lung, the smaller branches are like the bronchioles and the grapes are the air sacks or alveoli.

We played some fun games blowing a feather across the table using different strengths of breath and felt how we can breath low down taking big breaths.  We experimented with how big deep breaths can calm us down and relax us.
I then set up a game for L using bean bags as oxygen.  We wrote labels along our deck of mouth, lungs and muscles.  L had to grab a bean bag(oxygen) from the mouth-take a deep breath in and then run to the lungs and then to the bottom of the deck where the muscles were.  At the muscles she did jumping jacks until she was out of breath then she dropped her oxygen and had to run up to the mouth to get more.
This was a fun way to burn off some energy while learning about how our muscles need oxygen and the harder our body works the more oxygen it needs.

L added in the lungs using bubble wrap and straws for the trachea and bronchi.  She drew in the bronchioles in the lungs with a marker.

This was by far the coolest.  Making a human lung model.  Super easy to make.  We cut the end off a plastic bottle, cut the top off a balloon and attached it to the end.  We then attached another balloon to a straw and pushed it down into the bottle.  We sealed up the top with play dough.
L pulled down on the bottom ballon (diaphragm) and the balloon lung filled up with air!  
So simple yet effective.  It was eye opening seeing how really important our diaphragm is. It really doesn't get enough credit!

The last thing L did was an experiment using different age family members.  L recorded our breaths for a minute at rest and then again for after a minute of exercise.  She did this with a 2 year old, me, herself, daddy and granny.
What she found out is that younger people take more breathes in general and everyone takes more breaths after exercise.
She recorded all of her data in a double bar graph.

Next up the muscular system.....

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Salmonids in the Classroom

The whole reason we started studying human anatomy is because we wanted to dissect a salmon!  Yup L's daddy is a super fisherman and we are usually up close and personal with fish all summer so salmon dissection was a natural thing to want to do.  I figured it would be best to learn about human anatomy so we could compare and contrast.

While searching for info on salmon dissection I just happened upon this amazing program called Salmonids in the classroom.  It was created by the Canadian department of fisheries and is an online collection of lesson plans and experiments covering everything you could possibly ever want to know about salmon.  For free!!  Here is the link.

The best part is that we teamed up with another homeschooling boy(A) of the same age who also went through Montessori.  We meet each week and go through different topics.

First off we talked about the salmon life cycles and compared it to other life cycles.  We discussed what salmon need to survive compared to other species.

Next we learned about how fish are shaped and experimented with making clay models of different shapes including an excellent fish shape created by A.  They children compared how each shape moved through the water and the overwhelming answer was the fish shape.  It really was incredible how easily the fish moved through the water and how it easily could be moved up and down.

Next was learning about the salmon external anatomy.  We did an experiment on how gills work using coffee grains and water in one cup poured over a paper towel into another cup.  The coffee grains represented the oxygen in the water and how some of it was absorbed by the paper towel(gills) while the water and other oxygen was passed through.  
Did you know that salmon use their sense of smell to find their home stream?

After external anatomy we delved into internal anatomy.  The children wrote labels for each part of the fish to use for the dissection and we compared salmon body parts to humans.  Fascinating!  Do you know what a swim bladder is? We do now!

The day of the big salmon dissection we invited A's family over for a BBQ.  L's daddy did the dissecting the all the children were right in there.  They labelled all of the parts and then went through the organs one by one.  Our fish turned out to be a female and had tons of eggs!

It was such a wonderful hands on learning experience for everyone and the best part is that we ate the rest of the salmon for dinner!
Up next salmon scales, eggs and so much more.....

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

First weeks of Homeschool

Well homeschooling for us has "officially" started and I had no idea how busy we would be!!  September seems to be absolutely crazy busy with activities, beautiful weather, playdates and relatives visiting.

We are still managing to do tons of amazing things though.  Here is a summary of our first few weeks of homeschooling.

I haven't had a chance to take too many pictures as we have been so focussed.  We have been working on basic math facts and counting money.  L and I have a school store and we each take turns being shop keeper.  L is now adding up two items and giving change.  This has really helped her confidence with numbers.  We have also been measuring perimeter and area of objects with non standard measurement.

We recently listened to the book The Rescuers by Margery Sharp and Lina completed her first book report on it.  She absolutely loved doing this and is looking forward to doing another.

The beauty of homeschool is you can throw all plans out the window if something more exciting comes up.  On one of our morning walks we came across a perfectly intact dead dragonfly.  What excitement!! We brought it home and spent the morning studying it.  I printed off the dragonfly booklet and a part labelling booklet for L from Montessori Print Shop.  L studied each part of the dragonfly first with the magnifying glass and then with the microscope.  Once she'd learned all of the parts she made up her own booklet.

The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous so we having been taking full advantage in the afternoons.  One afternoon last week we took a picnic and headed up to Mount Washington.  Sooo beautiful.  L and I took the opportunity to do some nature journaling.

This Koi fish painting was a fun effective art project.  We followed the tutorial from Art Projects for Kids.

We are slowly finding our groove and both thoroughly enjoying our time together.  These are just a few of the things we've done.  I'll be posting about the other projects in separate posts.