Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who Owns the Sun?

Who Owns the Sun was a different type of book from what we'd covered so far in Five in a Row.  In fact, it was one of the few that T did not want to join us in reading multiple times.  I think that was probably because there was little action in the plot; it is mostly description until the last couple pages.  It is about a boy who discovers his father (and also himself) is a slave.

We very briefly discussed slavery; I basically introduced/explained the subject, then we moved on.  Here were some of our activities:
-K made an illustrated list of things too wonderful to be owned.
-She wrote a story that answered the question "I wonder...".  The topic she chose was how a tree grows.
-We talked about imagry, personification and simile.
-We painted watercolor pictures to show wet-on-wet technique.
-We talked about the seasons and K made a poster showing "To me fall is...".
-We reviewed the five senses and I took K on a blindfold walk.  I spun her around and walked her around the yard.  She told me everything she could hear and feel and then tried to guess where she was.  She found it quite disconcerting to discover she was in a completely different place than what she thought.  Then I had her write down all the things she could see from that spot.

Finally, we spent a couple informative days learning about simple machines.
-We did an experiment from The Mailbox to learn about levers.  We made a lever and fulcrum with a ruler and half toilet paper tube.  K balanced a penny and a nickel on the lever and I challenged her to balance them without moving the coins. (You have to move the lever.)

When B came home later that day, he took the kids in the bathroom and lifted the lid off the toilet tank for an impromptu lesson on all the levers and inner workings of how flushing works.
-We examined the family bicycles while talking about wheels and axles.  Later in the day, T (who was interested in all the simple machine discussions) came to excitedly tell me he found 3 wheels and axles on his tricycle!
-The book How Do You Lift a Lion?  was very informative and entertaining as we learned about pulleys.
-When talking about the uses of wedges, we tested which cuts an apple more easily: a craft stick or a knife.
-We watched this Bill Nye video when learning about inclined planes.  Then we did an experiment, also from The Mailbox where I filled 3 identical containers with different materials to make them each have different weights.  I tied rubber bands around them so that you could hold the container with one rubber band acting as a handle.
 We measured how long the rubber band stretched when you lifted the container vertically.  Then, using a bookshelf propped up on some books to be an inclined plane, K pulled the container up the plane.  She found that with the inclined plane doing some of the work, the rubber band stretched less than when lifted vertically for all three containers.
-We talked about screws.  We looked at real screws and when we wrapped a long triangle paper around a pencil, K was able to see that a screw is really an inclined plane wrapped around a pole.
-We finished our study about simple machines by watching another entertaining Bill Nye video, this time reviewing levers, pulleys and wheels. 
Simple machines are interesting and it was fun to explore this topic.


Dusty said...

I just happened to come across your blog, and wanted to say that you are an amazing mom. You make learning fun!

It's funny, my youngest daughter, is B, my older daughter, is T, and my son, is K!

Joelle said...

You found some great experiments for simple machines!
We're rowing Follow the Drinking Gourd right now. Audrey keeps asking what a slave is and I keep explaining it. I think it makes absolutely no sense to her. I don't remember how old I was when I learned about slaves. Tell Brent 'great job' for using the toilet to explain a lever! Timmy would have loved that lesson - he loves looking in the toilet tank!