Friday, 30 March 2012

Botany - week two

Our Botany unit this week focused on classification of plants.
I collected samples of the different types of plants and used them to discuss the classification process.

We then moved onto studying the differences between monocots and dicots (which provided a great excuse to go flower shopping). We cut up a tulip and a rose stem to view the differences in the vascular bundle arrangement,
studied the differences in the leaf shape and vein pattern
and counted the petals,
then placed them in the correct location on our chart.

We also identified a few flowers we found in the garden (please excuse the dandelion - the girls seem to think they are a wonderful flower and I regularly get bunches shoved into a pot as a gift)

We used the monocot/dicot exercise from Montessori for everyone which comes with a great explanation of the differences between monocots and dicots.

and they finished by writing up their notebook pages.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tree Art

We looked at the shape of trees for art - first we made a tree shape from copper wire and then they drew it and compared it to a leaf skeleton they'd discovered in the garden.

and played a couple of games of storm the castle - this is a free maths game from Ellen McHenry and is a great way to practice maths while having fun

Science Trumps

I've posted previously about a great card game we have called Chemistry Trumps.
Lilly and Sunflower love to play this game, however Lilly is getting frustrated that Daddy keeps winning, so true to form she decided to do something about it.
I got up this to find her hard at work making revision sheets so she could learn all the facts (year of discovery, atomic number, melting point, danger factor etc.) and win!

I love independent learning : )

Friday, 23 March 2012

Botany - Week one

We stated our botany unit this week. Our first port of call was to study dirt, we read the 'Jump into Science Dirt' book - it is a basic level but gave a good starting point. We explored the different types of sediment,
looked at them under a microscope
and tested which was the best at absorbing water.

Then we moved onto seeds - we looked at the structure of a seed (booklet from Montessori Print Shop) and dissected a seed.
don't know if you can spot the epicotyl (two little leaves) in this photo but the girls spotted it and it lead to a great discussion on monocot and dicot plants.

We also looked at the life cycle of a seed.

(from Montessori Print Shop), which included building a seed viewer from an old CD case so we can watch how it grows.

We then looked at the needs of a plant and the effect of salinity on growth.

While the older girls wrote up their note book pages, Rose worked on sorted seeds by type.

Poetry Sheets Download

We've been working through the book 'A child's introduction to poetry' and my mum has kindly created some worksheets to review the work we'd covered (available on my download page)

My favourite worksheet is actually not related to the book but a standalone poetry sheet to help find rhyming words

Lilly worked on a cute little poem using this sheet as a help.
One little ladybird
sat upon a twig,
then she saw a creature, very very big.
She jumped from the twig
for the creature was a pig!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Action Alert TOS Review

Action Alert offers a quick and easy way to control internet access, time online, sites and content filtering. It also provides keystroke logging, chat and email logging and activity video playback - Alerts can be sent to a mobile or computer.

To be honest my girls don't currently have unsupervised access to the internet, due to their ages, however that will change as they get older and do more research online. I like that Action Alert provides me with the peace of mind to leave them to it.
My favourite aspect was the email alert function for questionable words or phrases - it's great and you can even customise and add additional words as well as having the option to shut down the computer from a remote location. The Safe Search filter is very comprehensive, it blocks sites containing inappropriate materials or viral threats and again you can add additional criteria to suit your needs.

Action Alert can record up to 60 hours of screen shots and playback videos - I can see how this could be useful when they get older and need to be accountable for their online school hours. It also shows both sides of IM chatting (what your child types and the responses) which is a fantastic protection tool.

I found the program very easy to install (took about 5 mins) and so far haven't experienced any problems with the program (we run on Windows Vista).

I love the ethos of Action Alert and the fact that the company provides the basic program for free just proves their integrity. The basic free version of Action Alert can be downloaded here. The Maximum Protection version (multiple user protection, fully customizable, and has full social network monitoring) is $29.99.

To see what the other crew members thought visit the TOS Blog. Action Alert has also been featured on the Today Show, as well as receiving awards from Disney Parenting.                                               

Disclaimer: I received a free Maximum protection version for the purpose of giving an honest review.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Structure of Bones

In answer to a query the girls had, we spent some time exploring bones.

After doing our research we decided to make our own bone to test its strength.
We took a piece of paper and stuck drinking straws on it (the paper is the periosteum and the straws represent the compact bone/Haversian canals)
once we rolled it up we stuffed it with cotton wool (for the spongy bone) wrapped around a string (marrow).

They matched the labels to the bone model
then wrote up their notebook pages.

The favourite part of the activity had to be testing the strength of the 'bone' - it held 2 large hardback dictionaries :) 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Teaching contractions with plasters

We had a fun little lesson with contractions this week.

I started by asking what a contraction was and Lilly remembered it was two words that joined together but couldn't remember much else. I presented a word strip (I am) and proceeded to cut it up 
problem was they couldn't get the I and the M to stay together,
so in came our plaster to 'fix' the problem. I drew an apostrophe on the plaster and explained the apostrophe stuck the words together in place of the missing letters.

this resulted in much play (and a shortage of plasters) 

Lilly and Sunflower both did a worksheet (free from Teachers pay Teachers
(I love the little comment sentences underneath - my favourite was 'you're lovely Mum', closely followed by 'we'd tidy our room for pocket money').
While Rose and Tulip worked with me on some contraction strips (pinterest).

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