Monday, April 22, 2013

Panning for Gold

        We have lots of new toys around the house and Ian could not wait to dig in and try them all out.  He started creating with  clicks blocks and made a bionic arm for himself and a foot for his brother.  He has used these blocks before  and they are great versatile blocks that come with zero instructions so the boys really have to use their imagination.  I love them too and Ian has so much fun creating with these blocks but already wishes he had more of them.  We were joking that he could make his own Halloween costume as he has hopes to make two arms and cover his feet all the way up to his knees to make boots. 

        Ian asked if he could try out his panning for gold kit.  He was getting a bit frustrated and stressed out that it wasn't as easy as the men on Gold Rush and Bering Sea Gold made it seem but the kit comes with a great "starter" bag to practice.  The starter bag has slightly larger pieces of pyrite so it's a bit easier to see them.  We let him pan in the sink (though I wasn't sure if this was best idea for our septic/pipes) and after he tried panning through once we drained the water and found a few small pieces of pyrite in the sink so we scooped up all the remaining sand and pyrite and let him try again.  The kit comes with tweezers to pick up the pieces of gold, a vial to put them all in and a magnifying glass too as well as an advanced prospectors bag for when he's really got the hang of panning.  I tried to help him a time or two by showing him how to shake the pan and make ripples with the water to carry the top sand away and reminded him over and over that this was a practice bag.  I know he was getting frustrated with himself that he wasn't getting it perfect the first time through since he's a perfectionist at heart.  He was also getting very frustrated with his brother who, not only looked over his shoulder trying to tell him how to do it, but also lost a piece of pyrite when it went flying out of the tweezers.  I reminded him over and over that this wasn't real gold and the whole point is to have fun while learning how to pan for gold.
      The boys settled down to watch a library movie called The Best of Beakman's World.  It was a fun science video, if a bit silly.  We tried an experiment or two and got many ideas for others to try.  They loved making two forks balance on top of a toothpick.  It was pretty neat and I have to admit I couldn't get it to work, but Ian did!   The boys really want to make a bottle rocket like they did in the movie and so I offered to find a cork.  

     After breakfast I read our King Aurthur the tale of the Sword in the Stone book to them and we read a story book called Seeing Symmetry. They quickly started drawing the lines of symmetry with their fingers on each of the pictures.  Alec really got the hang of it very quickly.  Ian, who supposedly learned this in school, didn't remember anything about it and was struggling a bit but seemed to catch on by the time we were done the book.  Evan was having fun with this concept too.    I then had them do a quick hunt for symmetry around us.  My hope is they'll be pointing out all day and perhaps even all week.  But we'll see. 
        They all pulled out Ian's Gold Mine game and started playing.  They refused to read instructions but somehow managed to play.  They built the mine, tunnels, and had to buy bats, get gold nuggets, etc.  Ian finally read all the instructions and they played together rather nicely until it was time to clean up.  A bit of arguing ensued and I was ready to start yelling at them when I calmly said "You know what?  We have trampoline in a bit and we need to leave.  I haven't paid for the next round of classes yet so if you all aren't ready to go we just won't.  I'm not going to yell; it's not my trampoline class."  I walked away and they all scrambled to clean up.  There was some yelling and fighting but I figured it was getting cleaned up and I didn't have to raise my voice. 

      After all that it was time to get dressed and head out for trampoline.  We're starting our last session before summer vacation/ break.  It still feels so cold here lately that it's hard to believe it's almost the end of April already. While we were out and about we listened to some more of the Magic Treehouse Books on CD in the car and stopped at the library to drop off some books and movies and pick up new ones. 

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