Monday, April 7, 2014

It's EGGciting!

      I told them they could have free play time this morning after they got all ready for the day and did one cleaning chore each.  Ian vacuumed the downstairs while Alec and Evan cleaned all the bathroom sinks, counters, and mirrors-- happily, without complaint!  Soon after finishing his chores, Ian decided he'd rather head outside and play in the sun.  Who could blame him?  We've had really nice weather for a few days now and it's nice to enjoy it after the long, cold winter.
      We started our school day with a walk in the woods.  I had a craft activity planned for the day and we needed some sticks and branches.  It was a bit cool out still but we had a nice walk around in the woods following our trail.  We walked over to the brook and watched the running water, examined what we thought were some skunk cabbage plants (and later confirmed were indeed skunk cabbage with the help of the internet), and found that we have some cedar trees nearby!  Ian was mystified when he pulled a small dead stick off the bottom of a tree and found that it was pink inside.  I smelled it and had all the boys smell it too and explained that it's a type of wood called cedar and that many people will have closets made of cedar to help preserve their clothes.  We had a great time!
playing with the water
inside of a skunk cabbage plant
Skunk cabbage
a "natural" teepee
counting the rings on the tree to see how old it was
Green wood-- literally green!
Looking at red/pink wood inside the tree!
taking a short break
   Once home we decided to start right in with our craft project.  I gave each boy a plate of jelly beans and told them to take a bite of the bean and then stick it to their tree branches.  After we all worked for a bit and got most of the jelly beans to stick we combined them together in a vase and made our own jelly bean tree.  It was fun (if a bit frustrating at times when jelly beans didn't stick or fell back off).  I love how cute they look together and several times throughout the day the boys commented that all the sticks put together look like one big tree.  It would have worked better with hot glue but then the boys wouldn't have been able to do this activity by themselves.




Our jelly bean tree


    After our craft project we checked on our dissolving bunnies one last time before throwing them away and we all agreed that though the vinegar won this time, the hot water would have won if we had kept changing the water out to keep it hot.  Evan and Alec then decided to try running their own science experiments and threw a few of their jelly beans into a cup of water.  In no time we saw the candy coating breaking up and floating to the top.  We noticed that the colors settled to the bottom of the cup and once Alec poured out all the water the kids decided that the middle clear part they were left with looked a lot like rice. 

our bunnies-- vinegar, water, and vanilla extract

see our "rice bean?"


    Alec and I went to work on the computer and finished his geography fair report.  We worked together to paste everything onto his display board and then breathed a sigh of relief.  While I was working on the computer with Alec, Ian was working on his 5 math pages and Evan was working on filling in his 100's chart activity I had made up over the weekend.  I printed out two 100's charts a while back; one was plain white with the numbers in black and another was white with the even numbers in red and the odd numbers in blue.  I cut apart the chart with the colored numbers and hid two numbers inside each plastic egg.  I piled them into a bucket.  I then took the chart with the black numbers and taped a piece of contact paper to it sticky side up.  For today's activity Evan had to crack open the eggs, match the numbers to the chart and stick it down.  After a while I asked him what patterns he noticed and he told me that he noticed all the 1's were in the same column, as well as all the 2's, 3's, 4's, etc.  He told me that all the red were even numbers and the blue were odd numbers.  He told me that all the numbers go up on when moving in one direction and down one when moving in the opposite direction.  He found lots of patterns in the 100's chart!


finding the matching numbers

seeing our patterns

   We broke for lunch and watched Families of Mexico and Disney's Science of Imagineering Magnetism.  We compared the two girls in the Families of Mexico to one another and their lives to ours.  One thing I've noticed watching these movies is that the kids really start to be thankful for all that they have.  We talk about the advantages and disadvantages to living in other countries and in the United States.  We talk about job opportunities, food, culture and more.  The boys re-watched the Magnetism movie and I was pleasantly surprised at all they remembered from our last time watching it.  They also were able to relate aspects of the video to our magnet experiments and play from a few weeks ago as well as the magnet exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center. 
   Once the movies were over the older boys sat down to take their math minutes tests and were both laughing when they discovered that they got the exact same score: 18 out of 21.  They're getting so close!  While they took their quiz Evan worked on finding some sight words.  I squirted a few drops of paint into a Ziploc bag and taped it down onto a white sheet of paper that I had randomly written sight words all over.  I then re-wrote the list of sight words down the side so he could cross them off as he found each word.  He had a lot of fun with this activity but soon realized he'd be done faster if he tried to uncover all the words so he started using the marker to squeegee all the paint out of the way.

found our first word!


looking for more words


scraping all the paint out of the way to find them all

    We finished up our day with Evan reading a book to me while the older two boys went outside.  Ian wanted to play with this trucks in his quarry while Alec brought the binoculars out to look for birds.  Once Evan and I were done reading we headed to the library.  We listened to the last of The Lost Hero along the way and talked about our predictions for the next book.  We checked out lots of new books and Alec read two more chapter books before dinner!  That kid just LOVES to read!  The book he was reading had a few mad libs in the back that we took turns "filling" out.  Since it was a library book we couldn't really write in it and had to remember what the other person said to fill in the story lines.  We were laughing and having fun.  The book also had a message/ riddle written in secret code that he had do de-code and a few other fun puzzles in the back.  So we ended up getting a few spelling and grammar lessons added into our day.  
   

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