Monday, May 12, 2014

Digestion and the Human Body

    I had only planned on doing a short math and reading activity with the boys but we ended up starting our day watching a Disney Nature video called Migration.  We learned all about different animal migration, reasons animals migrate and how migration affects their lives.  While watching the boys used the Magnet blocks to build different creations.  Evan sorted the blocks by color and size and made sure that he had 5 triangles of each color and then put them together in order.  The older boys worked together to build a super, complex, house.  They got so involved in their building that no one was watching or listening to the movie anymore so I offered to turn it off and just return into the library.  They all agreed and I figured if it wasn't holding their attention it wasn't a good fit for them. They went on to design and redesign the house many times and Evan started delivering the blocks to them on the toy forklift. 
Evan matching up and counting triangles

The first building

The extension Alec built for the first building

Alec makes a pyramid using the triangle blocks

The finished second building-- Alec and Ian walked me through
the whole building and all it's features. 

Evan delivering blocks to his brothers
The finished building with added roof tiles to
keep the snow off of the cars and people below.



     The boys all laid down on craft/ drawing paper this morning and let me trace their bodies onto paper.  I pulled out the Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body book and showed them the huge diagram of the human body that the class worked on and I explained that over the next few weeks they'll be making their own human body.  We read the book and got a good overview of the entire inside of our bodies.  The boys told me we had the movie of the Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body and so we watched part of that instead of our nature video. The boys wanted to focus on the stomach and digestion for today so we watched "The Magic School Bus for Lunch" and then did a few hands- on activities.  We digested a cracker in "stomach acid"-- using a Ziploc baggie the boys each crushed up a cracker or two just like the teeth break down our food.  We then added just a bit of water like our saliva and saw how it made our food into a paste that could be easily swallowed.  We then added lemon juice (though I read several digestion activity guides and found some teachers use sprite, some use orange juice, some use vinegar so pretty much anything acidic).  Once we added our juice which works like our stomach acids we continued to kneed the bag like our stomach muscles and saw how the crackers just about dissolved.  You could take the activity further and bring the food into the intestines as many teachers do using pantyhose and oatmeal but since the boys really wanted to make our own puke we stopped this activity for today. 
crunching our crackers

Making paste with the addition of some water

our digested crackers

  I really DID not want to do this activity. As you know from my previous blog I'm a total wimp when it comes to this kind of stuff and making fake puke that looks (and I was warned even smells!) like the real thing was making me queasy just thinking about it.  Luckily it was a beautiful, sunny day and I suggested we move this activity outside.  In a bowl we mixed together 1/4 water, 1/4 milk, 1/2 of a mashed banana, 1/2 cup grated carrot, 3 crushed crackers, 1/8 cup vinegar and 1 tsp. baking soda.  It was so gross but the boys LOVED it.   They all assured me it didn't smell THAT bad but I refused to even take one small sniff.  We poured it out in the woods and went back inside.  I then helped the boys find and draw the esophagus & stomach onto their bodies.  I had printed out a few worksheets for reference that I had found on The Homeschool Den's website (I also stumbled upon many MANY more wonderful ideas about human body activities).  They each studied the sheet, thought about where their mouth would be, how big the esophagus probably is and where they thought their stomach would be by comparing their drawn bodies with that of the one on the worksheet.  They did a pretty good job too. 
Mixing up our batch of vomit

Grating carrots into the mix

our finished product. 


Working on our body drawings

Ian's drawing. 

      With science done (and taking up most of our day!)  We flew through reading and math.  The boys took their 12 times table math minute and I had them play fraction war; they flipped over two cards each, made a fraction (for today's lesson I told them to put the larger number on the bottom) and the larger fraction won that round of war.  I had our fraction tiles and a scrap paper available so they could draw and compare the fraction if they needed and we only used the number cards 1-9 to make it a bit easier.  Alec knew that the larger the bottom number the smaller the fraction and that the higher the top number the more pieces you had.  He had no trouble figuring out the larger fractions at all.  Ian struggled a bit but usually only when he was trying to compare odd numbers that we didn't have tiles for (like 7th and 9th). 

     While they were playing their war game, Evan and I played sight word bingo and re-read Lots of Spots.  He did a really good job figuring out (or remembering) sight words and new words.  I was pretty impressed and he was having fun playing.  By the time we ended our work it was lunch time.  I was amazed that we finished all of our schoolwork within two hours.  The boys wanted to eat outside and so I offered to set up a blanket for a picnic and read Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets to them while we ate. 

    We read the first two chapters together and stopped a few times; like when the 5 helicopters flew overhead and we wanted to watch them or the time when the two little black birds were diving at the hawk flying over head and we remembered a guide at the Ecotarium telling us about how small birds will gang up on the birds to prey to try and scare them away from their nests.  We enjoyed the story very much and the boys realized that a lot of details are being left out of the movies.  Something that has become more and more abundant as we've finished up the 6th movie and started the 7th movie.  I had to stop and pause them many times to explain what was happening. 
    After we were done reading the first two chapters we headed to the library to drop off lots of different books and movies that were due back today.  On the way there and back we listened to some more of The Mark of Athena.  Alec also played scribblenaughts and worked on his spelling skills.  The boys begged to be allowed to go swimming when we got home since it was near 80 today. 
    I agreed to let them go swimming and they spent the next three hours playing in the water.  They fished using nets and bread and caught a ton of fish; some pretty big ones too!  They swam, jumped, snorkeled and used swim flippers on their feet.  They pretended they were scuba divers, Poseidon, demi gods and gods, and anything else that struck their fancy.  Alec remarked that it was harder to swim with fins on and asked me how scuba divers do that.  They helped me sort through our old summer things and decide what to keep and what was no longer working.  While they swam I spent three hours bringing out patio furniture from our basement and sweeping the patio off to get everything all set for spring and summer.  I had felt bad that the boys had really wanted to eat lunch on the patio and only settled for a picnic as the next best thing.  Hopefully, it will be nice again tomorrow and we can have lunch on the patio now. 

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