K's next Volume 4 row included a visit to Australia and many other topics of study. We started rowing The Pumpkin Runner at the end of October and started off the unit with a test of pumpkin buoyancy. K made predictions of which of a variety of pumpkins we'd collected would float and which would sink. It turned out that they all floated, which was hugely surprising to her.
Another activity was an exploration of running and rowing. I thought it would be interesting to explore whether there is a difference between in the best techniques for running a marathon compared to running a sprint race. There definitely is. Apparently it's good to run on your toes in a sprint, as this video demonstrates. Then for comparison, we watched some footage of marathons. I found coverage of the 2013 Melbourne Marathon, and the commentator, of course, has a lovely Australian accent to listen to as you watch the contestants run mile after mile (sorry, kilometer after kilometer) in a much more flat footed style. We also watched some videos of team rowing. Then we went outside and K tried running a sprint on her toes and a marathon of multiple loops around the house.
The book says that Joshua's ranch was 10,000 acres. This being a tall tale, the story describes how he loved to run from one end to the other as he took care of his sheep. One day we took a drive to see just how big 10,000 acres really is. B figured out a nice loop that we could drive outside the city limits, and it was a big area. It took 45 minutes to drive. At about the halfway point we stopped to take a picture. It was cold with a bitter wind, so we quickly hopped back in the vehicle and kept driving.
We spent a couple days learning about the country of Australia, and K enjoyed putting together some of the Australia minit books from Homeschoolshare.com. She was also interested in learning more about the Sydney Opera House and was especially intrigued by how they are able to project decorative designs on the outside in honor of various occasions. We made an Australian meal of lamb chops and pumpkin soup. I added a side dish of red potatoes to round out the meal. It was a tasty meal!
This was a fun book to row. We actually spent eleven days on it, so these were just some highlights of our activities.