Monday, July 1, 2013

Printmaking, shell topping, and cracker math!

    We got a late start to our day as the boys wanted to watch some TV this morning.  Once done they headed outside to play and swim.  It was a bit cool and drizzly out but they didn't seem to mind.  It was probably pretty close to 10 before Alec asked me if he could start school.  He wanted to do an art project today so I ran inside to get white t- shirts, some Styrofoam sheets (I saved some from the grocery store), pencils, paint, and a sponge brush.  All three boys ended up doing this project and it was pretty easy too.  I first had them draw a picture onto plain white paper.  When they had a drawing they really liked I then had them trace it onto the Styrofoam, making sure to press down hard and make deep grooves.  We then spread an even coat of paint over the Styrofoam and pressed it paint side down onto the shirts.  Alec used a bit too much paint and his looks like a giant orange square but Ian and Evan's shirts came out OK.  I was a bit disappointed in the results but they don't seem to mind.  It's their shirts and their art so who am I to judge?  I told Alec he could use a paint pen to trace over the lines of his maze once the orange was dry, if he'd like. 

     It was getting wet and cold and the boys slowly started migrating back inside by the time we were all done with the art project.  The boys wanted to do some reading so we snuggled on the couch to read The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick.  We just love his other books Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and while this one was much shorter, it was fantastic.
    The boys wanted to read some more so I pulled out today's math story and we read Spaghetti and Meatballs for All.  It was a cute story about a family who is planning a reunion.  They serve a traditional spaghetti dinner for 32 people but they constantly rearrange the tables to try and make room for everyone.  It's supposed to be about area and perimeter but the main focus is the story, not the math.  I much prefer a real story that we can relate math to rather than a story that is really drilling home math facts and is a bit lacking in "story" so I just loved this book.  Once we were done reading I had the boys sit at the kitchen table and I pulled out Wheat Thins and graph paper.  We talked about area, perimeter (what they mean, how we find it).  We then compared the area and perimeter of 1 square cracker to the area and perimeter of two crackers we placed together to form a rectangle.  I gave them 8 crackers each to "play with" and a handful to eat while we talked about the different ways they rearranged the tables in the story.  As we talked they moved their crackers around and counted sides.  I then challenged them to figure out how many tables they'd need if only 12 people showed up and encouraged them to find multiple ways to fit everyone around the table.  I even got them to figure out that they'd only need 3 tables if they wanted to save money by renting less tables.  It was a great math lesson and it turned right into lunch.  The kids pulled out hummus, cheese, pickles, and blueberries and ate their fill.



   While eating they asked to watch something for school.  I pulled out a Travel With Kids video but we soon realized we had already watched this one! (oops!  Guess I need to keep better record of what we've been watching).  They settled for some Liberty's Kids episodes we had on our DVR.  Once they were done eating they turned the TV off and started playing. 
    I had told the boys that we could make our own shell topping for ice cream as our science experiment today and they couldn't wait any longer.  Since they had eaten lunch already I agreed to help them.   We pulled out chocolate melts, coconut oil, some measuring cups, bowls, spoons and ice cream and got to work.  We found this simple recipe in my Family Fun Magazine and it was delicious too!  We mixed 1 cup of melts with 1/4 cup of coconut oil and melted them together in the microwave.  once poured over the ice cream it quickly hardened into a nice chocolate crust.  Yum!  Ours smelled (and tasted) pretty coco-nutty and I probably would use real chocolate chips (like the recipe called for-- but hey, sometimes you just have to work with what you've got) and perhaps just a bit more than the recipe calls for next time.  But the boys loved it and we talked about why this was a science experiment.  The coconut oil hardens even at room temperature and so once added to the ice cream it forms a crust real fast. 

    The boys declared school "done!" and took off to go play.  Ian and Alec worked on a world puzzle together (no way was I going to point out what a great geography lesson that was!).   Evan asked if he could play my Kindle once he cleaned up the playroom and I readily agreed.  I had downloaded a new reading game for him over the weekend that I wanted him to try anyway.   It's called Monkey Word School Adventure.  Alec and Ian came in to see what we were playing and they both wanted a turn too.  I turned the game up to the highest setting but it was still ridiculously easy for them as it's mainly a preschool/ Kindergarten app, but Alec didn't seem to care that much nor did Ian.  I guess picking animals to add to your own terrarium (the reward built into the app) is very motivating!    Ian went up to watch a movie while working on his bracelet.  He's more than 1/2 way finished with it already and it's coming out so well. 

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