Monday, 30 April 2012

Botany Week 5 - Photosynthesis with buttons

I didn't have time to post this last week, so apologies and here it is : )

The girls worked on the structure of leaves, identifying different leaf shapes

and photosynthesis.

I showed the process of photosynthesis (using buttons to create the different molecules)
We started  by making Carbon Dioxide and discussing how the plants absorb it,
then discussing how plants absorb water and made the water molecules.
Plants use these raw ingredients combined with the light energy and chlorophyll to create glucose 
at this point I mixed them all up and remade in the form of glucose
with the remaining Oxygen and Water produced during the process released from the leaf

then, realising its a little hard to remember which colour was suppose to be oxygen and which was hydrogen, I labelled the buttons and left the girls to have a go.

While they wrote up their notebook pages, Rose worked on counting - she had to match the correct number or leaves to each flower.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Critical Thinking Company - TOS Review

I'll be honest  - I came into this review biased as I LOVE The Critical Thinking Company and this was no exception. Anything to stretch their minds and encourage new ways of thinking gets a big thumbs up from me : )

Inference Jones: Beginnings is a workbook, aimed at 3rd & 4th grade, to teach children how to analyse  information (they also sell another book aimed at 5th & 6th grade). It really makes you interpret and think about the  higher level content, the cause/effect and encourages you to draw your own conclusions.
The activities encourage reading comprehension as well as literary analysis. Topics covered include: analysing character traits, identifying a theme, identifying settings, sequencing events, distinguishing fact vs inferred details and reading for detail.

The book consists of 18 activities - a short story (approximately 20 sentences) and an average of 10 questions. Some questions require you to consider what is explicitly stated (true, false and unknown) other questions ask you to 'infer' and give a reason why you think that. 

The girls thoroughly enjoyed the activities and I loved that there was no teacher preparation required (bar printing) - the book is even perforated for easy copying and comes complete with an answer key. 

I received a pdf version but you can buy the Inference Jones: Beginnings book for $11.99 

You can read what my crew mates thought of the Inference Jones and other products from Critical Thinking Company here.

Disclaimer: I received a free pdf version in exchange for an open and honest review.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Stamping Plurals

Tulip has been working on plurals this week. We started with the normal plural box

and ended up with a reading/stamping exercise - she had to read the words and stamp the correct number of stamps (i.e. one 'sun' stamp and two or three for 'dogs')

Friday, 20 April 2012

Botany Week 4 - Pollination and seed dispersal

For Botany this week we studied pollination - looking at why pollinators are attracted to flowers,

how the pollen gets transferred between plants (Sunflower was our pollinator in this photo, with some sticky tape on her finger)

and looked at the different types of pollinating animals. We also looked at the stages of plant fertilisation.

We followed this by looking at the different methods of seed dispersal. I tried to get a real life example as well as a hands on example (so Velcro dots to demonstrate how burrs work)

Zoochory - dispersal via animals (i.e. burrs that stick to an animals fur, seeds that pass through the gut and animals burying nuts for later consumption)

Anemochory - wind dispersal (like dandelion seeds blown by the wind and maple seed helicopters) The balloon was filled with flour so they could see how it would disperse when the 'seed pod' burst and the grass had some flour on that they could blow.

They did make paper helicopter seeds - unfortunately I didn't have a real life example for this one but I think they got the idea

Hydrochory - water dispersal (seeds that float on currents to new locations.)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ocean Workshop

We spent a lovely day yesterday at a Home Ed group - we worked to an ocean theme.
There was a wonderful drawing table (the kids got to take home some mermaid purses and some fish eggs from this table)

Fish dissection - the all loved this : )

A water pressure experiment and looking at the golden ratio/ how it is used in nature, specifically in the Nautilus. They even made an origami nautilus.

A look at the different creatures living at various depths,
a barnacle study,
and a great art activity - a 3D ocean picture

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Christian Kids Explore Physics - TOS Review

I was offered a chance to review Christian Kids Explore Physics by  Bright Ideas Press. This is part of a Christian-based interactive series that makes science fun.

The Physics book is a complete 1 year curriculum. It is aimed at grades 4th - 8th but can easily be adapted for younger children. It includes 30 lessons designed to be used 2 days a week - the units cover Foundation of Physics, Matter, Mechanics, Matter in Motion, Energy in Motion and Electricity and Magnetism. Each unit contains 4-5 lessons and each lesson includes a scripture verse, vocabulary list, discussion, review questions, colouring page and an activity. S
upplemental reading is also encouraged.

It comes with a resource CD containing lesson plans, materials list, lesson reviews, activity charts, literature guide, colouring pages, bibliography, glossary pages and printables. It also includes a literature study guide for a book about Benjamin Franklin. The study contains vocabulary and comprehension questions as well as questions requiring deeper research.

We've only just started delving into this book but the girls have enjoyed their experience. I like that the chapters are short, easy to read and understandable. The hands-on activities are simple to pull together and fun (an advantage is the experiments use common or easily obtainable supplies). Overall a great multi-age Physics curriculum that doesn't take a lot of prep work!

Christian Kids Explore Physics sells for $39.95.

You can read what the other crew members thought of this (and the other books in the series) at the TOS Blog

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of the Physics book/CD so I could give an honest review of the product.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Botany Week Three

This week we explored vascular bundles and why/how they draw water up the stem. We started by placing a bag around a leafy plant (with a separate control bag) to see that plants release water through their leaves.

Then we placed some celery stalks in red food colouring, the next morning they were nicely coloured so we cut the end of to look at the vascular bundles

and gently broke the celery to take a closer look at the xylem tubes.
We discussed how when the water evaporates through the leaves it creates an area of low pressure (like sucking on a straw) so more water is drawn up from the root hairs, through the tubes and into the leaves. This was followed up by watching a great video on You Tube.

After we had discussed the three types of transpiration and drawn a poster,
we looked at how the waxy cuticle on the top surface of a leaf helps reduce water loss,
they coloured a paper square with wax and left the other unwaxed, dropped the same amount of liquid on the centre of each and compared the results.

They also looked at the parts of a flower in more detail - dissecting two different types of flower, matching them to their 'parts of flower' cards and comparing the differences between the two types.

Rose has enjoyed looking at our homemade felt puzzles for parts of a flower, tree and leaf.

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