Monday, November 30, 2015

The Science Behind Pixar; Our Trip to the Museum

We went to the Boston science museum and spent a lot of time learning about the science behind all of Disney/ Pixar movies.  It was awesome!

The boys got to try their hand at programming blades of grass in a field, working with camera placement and focus, they manipulated lighting, toyed with furniture placement in a room, changed lighting color and effects, took 2-D shapes and made them 3-D, and so much more.  They loved it!

When we finally felt like we saw most of it we headed on to see the rest of the museum.

Here are some highlights from our trip:


moving cameras around 

programming grass 

experimenting with lighting 

programming a school of fish 

stop motion animation station

Watching the video they made using stop motion 


We played with microscopes looking at pine cones, butterfly wings, and food.  Then Alec decided to see what his sleeve, scab, and fingernails looked like up close.  The boys asked me to put my wedding rings and my Jamberry Nail wrap under the microscope and we could actually see all of the mini pixels of colors that made up each nail wrap!

We also did tests to see how much sugar was contained in various foods and drinks.

butterfly wing under a scope 

measuring out the sugar in a bottle of Coke 

   We went to the Lightening show and learned all about lightening through use of Van De Graff generators.  We got to see a fossilized piece of lightening and played with plasma ball and tube.

 
plasma tube 

World's largest Van De Graff machine 

two smaller machines playing music 


    We got to see an animal show and learned about the groundhog; all of the names it's known by and how it got those names.  We also learned about birds and dinosaurs too. 
Learning about the groundhog 

Trying to identify birds based on their shadows 

Learning about birds, their calls, their diet, and their habitat

Oh no! A giant T-Rex! 

Checking out the T- Rex footprint 

Learning about the similarities and differences between various dinosaurs

The boys took on a bobsled challenge.  They could compete with all the other kids at the museum (who were making bobsleds that day) to see who could design the fastest and slowest bobsleds.  Out of my three boys Alec's design was the fastest.  There were different fabrics, weights, and pipe cleaners the kids could use to design their sled and an official track. They had a lot of fun! 

Learning the rules 

Testing their cars 

Winner!  (though all the boys got a magnet for participating)

   There were so many areas and so much to see and do that we never even saw everything the museum had to offer!  We did have fun poking around most of the museum though and tried to see as much as we could.  
Watching the way light passes through shapes when they've been
dipped in bubble solutions

Checking out the differences in chair sizes
while learning about proportion and scale models

Comparing their walks to one another on a graph

Changing parameters of a fish tank model to see how it
changes the behavior of the tank 

Trying to line up the ticking sounds like a metronome 

Working with tone and frequency on a graph 

Playing a game that deals with compromise 

Trying to figure out what the scale model represented based on the
clues given 

Learning about optical illusions 

Watching a video about food spoilage 

Learning about science at the park  (and making
friends in the process)

Checking out the globe and learning about
animals of North America 

Pretending to be an astronaut 

Checking out model Viking ships 
     Once it was close to dinnertime we decided to call it a day.  We went out to look at the city and talk about some of the buildings we saw.  I hadn't realized how long it had been since we had taken them into the city.  They really didn't remember anything about our previous trips.  We had a great time looking all around as we drove back home.  It was a wonderful day! 


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Friday, November 27, 2015

Weekly Recap-- It's Thanksgiving Already??

    I knew Thanksgiving was this week; I did.  But somehow I thought we still had more time to do stuff.  I had thought we'd head out on a field trip, finish up our school units before December, and..... well, I don't know what else but somehow I thought I had more time before all the holiday madness.  Luckily, the boys are pretty unfazed when it comes to working before the holidays and even with just a short two day week this week we managed to get SO MUCH done!


History-- We read Leah's Pony and talked about the stock market; what it is, how it works and how it started the Great Depression.  We read Rudy Rides the Rails and learned about the signs hoboes used to communicate with one another.  We read Finding Daddy: A Story of the Great Depression and learned about how many people turned to singing, dancing and acting as a way to support themselves and their families during the depression.   We took a picture walk through the book Years of Dust learning more about what it was really like during the dust bowl.  We read The Gardener learning about one little girl's determination to build a beautiful garden in the middle of the city during the Great Depression.  We read P is for Pilgrim learning about Thanksgiving, the pilgrims, and our nation.  We read Hallelujah FlightUncle Jed's Barbershop, and Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles-- Think of that! learning about what life was like for African American's during the Great Depression (and learning a bit more about segregation too).

Science-- Evan attended a science class over the weekend and worked with a team of students to design their own roller coaster.  They learned about all the math and science involved in engineering.  Ian spent a morning re-potting his plants.  We moved his orange tree into a larger pot and took the apple seed out of it's cup and moved that into the pot the orange tree used to be in.  We were both amazed to see the maze of roots in the bottom of each plant.  I tend to think we'll have to replant them both again soon!  Alec and I have been filling his bird feeder every two days!  I keep joking that I thought we were feeding birds and not pigs.  We do enjoy watching them all come and visit though so it's worth it.  Alec read How to Swallow a Pig; Step by Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom learning how animals catch food, catch a mate, and defend themselves.  We all watched the Wild Kratts Christmas and learned about the difference between reindeer, deer, caribou and elk as well as all the animals they had to rescue.




Math-- The boys played quite a few ABCya.com games this week:  Ian played Math Fact Shoot Out practicing math facts, Fraction Fling (think Angry Birds meet math!), and Dirt Bike Proportions where had had reduce and multiply fractions.  Alec played Hungry Puppies and added decimals, Estimate where he estimated and then added two digit numbers, and finally ended with Creature Capture where he played a fun game comparing fractions.  Evan played Marble Math for 15 minutes straight.  They all worked in their math workbooks too completing a few more pages each.  All three boys went shopping with their money; counting up what they had to spend before going to the store, figuring out their purchase price, how much money to hand over and pay with and even how much change they were going to get back.  Alec and I played Q-Bitz one day; he tried so hard to beat me!

Language arts: Most of the boys played a few games on ABCya.com: Alec played spelling bees and Evan played both Keyboard Zoo and Spelling Practice.  The older two boys completed a writing assignment using some Thanksgiving writing prompts.  Alec wrote about what he'd serve if he was in charge of the food at Thanksgiving.  Ian wrote about what he'd be thankful to never have to do; not all that surprisingly he would be thankful to never have to clean the house again.  Evan worked on a few pages in his Star Wars reading book.

Reading: Ian read Game Changer and continued to read a few more chapters in Divergent this week.  Alec read Fly Away Home, Pinduli, a few chapters in IceFire and The World According to Humphrey  We checked this Star Wars Phonics boxed set out of the library this week and Evan has been working his way through the books.   We read another few chapters together in The Hero's Guide to Storming Your Castle.

Self- Help-- Evan finally learned to tie his shoes!  This may seem like such a small thing but it's been driving me nuts for years that he has no idea how to do that.  In his defense his feet were so small it was nearly impossible to find shoes with laces; he either had slip- ons or Velcro for all these years!  All three boys pitched in to clean the house again this week and at least twice I found the older two boys doing laundry.  We've been working with Alec and Evan teaching them how to load and unload the dishwasher without breaking anything.

Art--  The older boys and I sat down one afternoon and made some beautiful Aurora Borealis paintings.  Evan is not one for arts and crafts so he decided to go play on his own while the older boys and I had a great time getting messy and mixing paints.  I taught them a few new techniques and we talked a lot about color theory and how to mix colors.  You can read all about it here.   Alec, Evan, and I made napkin leaf luminaries one morning too.  I typed up some instructions here.
Alec; age 9

Ian; age 11
Our luminaries at night 

Socialization--  Evan branched out and worked with quite a few new people on his project at his science class.  All three boys were happy to see their friends at karate and we had a friend over to play before Thanksgiving.   We played Disney Scene it and other board games.  We also spent the holiday with family and the kids had fun playing with their cousins.

Linking up with Parent/ Teacher Meet-Up again this week. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Making Mason Jar Luminaries

 It's the day before Thanksgiving and I don't have one single decoration up in our house.  Now I'm not one to go all out on the holidays but I do like to have a wreath, maybe a centerpiece and a few odds and ends on the mantle; just enough to make the house feel a tiny bit festive but without seeming like a lot of work.  So I convinced Alec to help me make a new centerpiece.

We made leaf luminaries and they are just darling!  Want to know how to make them??




To make the luminaries you will need:
  • Mason jars- we used pint size jars
  • Printed napkins or tissue paper in festive colors
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Water
  • Brush
  Step 1:  Cut up the napkin or tissue paper into small pieces.  Our napkins were 2-ply so I pulled the plain white backing off the backside to make them thinner and more c-thru.  We then cut the leaf shapes out of the napkins. 
pulling the napkins apart

The images we cut out 
Step 2:  Mix up some glue and water.  I don't have an exact amount but you just want to water down the glue enough that you can brush it on with a paintbrush but not so watery that it runs everywhere.  I would guess we used two parts glue to one part water. 

   Step 3:  Pick up and jar, select a leaf (or piece of tissue paper) and starting from the bottom of the jar lay the paper down, brush over it gently with the glue/ paintbrush until the paper is securely in place.  Add more paper; making sure to overlap each time until the entire jar is covered.  We had some blank spaces toward the rim of the jar but we knew we'd be adding bows once the paper dried.  
Gluing down the leaves 

Evan participated too!
 Step 4: set jar aside to dry making sure to rest the jar on the lid/ mouth of jar to prevent the bottom of the jar from sticking to the table.  Once dry you can add a bow out of ribbon or raffia and then  add a tealight inside and light it.  Like these:

Our completed luminaries 
With tealights in them (in a dark corner)
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