Friday, March 20, 2015

The End of the Week...

Part 3, Week 12 March 16, 2015

We always go into the week with more technical expectations. We focus on the Montessori materials and work on the lessons we wrote down in our work plans. By the end of the week, we kind of get away from the albums a bit and start exploring our more improvised areas of interest. There is more book reading, biology exploration, and other work that can't simply be categorized as lesson X. This works for us and I find it all is a nice way to slip into weekend mode.
I figured out that you dissect things on these...dissection trays. (These are Home Science Tools.) Here we are dissecting flowers. I had originally thought that we'd be dissecting specimens and then labeling parts during this lesson, but we never got to the labeling. The dissection was just too much fun. There were a lot of "ohhhhs" and "woahhhhhs" and "wows." The general consensus was that this activity was really cool. (Our dissection kits are from Home Science Tools too.)
T and S were just learning their way around the tools. I personally have no formal dissection experience. I have taken apart flowers, informally, for other projects like gumpaste flowers for cakes or making watercolor coffee filter flower arrangements. In my untrained opinion, the child needs a good sense of dimension and a steady hand, but not much more, to dissect successfully. 

I helped a bit, I demonstrated a bit, and prepped slides a bit. But mostly I asked questions and kept out of their way. I was amazed at how well they adapted to the tools, and how they really used their new dissection kits as tools and not like toys. I was particularly pleased to see that no one was in any danger of cutting through their finger with these REALLY sharp scalpels. I am excited that we have such enthusiastic junior scientists in our midst.
This is the cross section of a daisy.
These are some slides with stem sections and pedals.
We need to focus a bit more on keeping our work space organized.
Afterward, we had a lesson on how to care for our tools, clean everything well, and put away all of our gear.
In my mind, we are way behind in the geometry sequence. This was one of the areas I largely ignored last year so that I could gain a foot hold in math and language. This spring I am trying to catch up a bit. This is the first lesson about angles. 

Above is S's label for an "acute angle." She labeled how she pronounces, "cute." 
We drew acute angles, obtuse angles and right angles on our paper. (Here the paper is covering our cork-board. Our wooden geometry sticks have holes in either end. You stick a tack through the holes of a couple of stacked sticks and affix the stick sandwich to the board. Then with a pencil, you can poke its end through the other hole in the stick and swing it around in an arc to draw your angle.)
We also have these right angle yellow triangles for measuring. After we drew our angles on paper, the kids wandered around the classroom and measured tons of right angles. S had to go to the bathroom half-way through and yelled to us that there were even right angles in the bathroom.

This was a re-cap of the polygon lesson and the fact that polygons only have straight sides and no side can be curved.
More polygon re-capping.
And this was some, "let's make D into an acute, obtuse, or right angle and measure him."

This was just an introduction to acute, obtuse and right angles. The next time we'll explore the different triangles angles.
We did this lesson about the Changes in the Winds Caused by the Seasons a while ago but I didn't get the chance to photograph any of it. 

The charts above, illustrate how the temperatures of the land masses vary with the seasons. The chart at the top of the shot is during the summer months in the northern hemisphere. You can see that the land masses in the northern hemisphere are largely warmer and the land masses in the southern hemisphere are largely cooler. The cool spot in the northern hemisphere north of India is the Himalayan mountain range.

The bottom chart is the temperatures of the land masses during the winter months in the northern hemisphere. The reason it is much colder in the northern hemisphere during their winter months than it is in the southern hemisphere during THEIR winter months is because there is a lot more land in the northern hemisphere. Land cools much quicker than water and therefore the northern hemisphere gets colder than the southern hemisphere during their respective winter months.
This chart illustrates the variable and steady winds around the world. The stead winds are between the tropics and flow toward the equator. The variable winds in the northern hemisphere blow in all sorts of different directions because they are always bumping into land masses. The variable winds in the southern hemisphere blow in one direction because there is very little bumpy land that interrupts their flow.
These charts illustrate how the steady and variable winds are affected by the changes in season and how this affects rainfall over land. 

In the top chart, where it is summer time in the northern hemisphere, in south east Asia, where there is a lot of land and water, the stead winds have turned and now blow away from the equator. During our summer months the suns rays are more perpendicular to the earth's surface and the air over the water in this part of the world heats up and gathers a lot of moisture from the ocean. The air over the land in south east Asia rises because land heats up quickly with the sun's summertime perpendicular rays. This hot air rising will create an empty space over the land and this will pull the ocean air in over the land where it will drop its moisture in the form of rainfall. This is why this area of land gets heavy rainfall during its summer months.

The second chart depicts rainfall when it is summer time in the southern hemisphere. During this time, northern Australia is experiencing elevated levels of rain fall. The steady winds in the southern hemisphere are now flowing south. The winds heat up over the ocean and gather moisture. The air over Australia heats up and rises pulling in the moist sea air over the land. This air will drop its moisture over Australia in the form of rainfall which is why during these months (their southern hemisphere summer months) they get a lot of precipitation. 
Today, we did the lesson "Rain," which covers a couple of other conditions that can cause rain. The illustration above shows how sometimes land formations can cause rainfall.

The chart above illustrates how warmer air blowing along the surface of the water can pick up moisture and when this warm air flow hits a mass of raised land, like a cliff, the hot moist winds are pushed upwards. As the hot moist air rises higher, it cools off, moves over the land, and then it drops its moisture in the form of rainfall over the land.  
In places around the equator, the sun rays are mostly perpendicular to the earth's surface most of the year. In the places around the equator where there is a lot of water, the air over the water is heating up all day. Moisture is picked up by the warm air over the water and it gets pushed on shore. After a time, the air cannot "hold" any more moisture and usually it is in the afternoon when the moisture will drop down to earth as a torrential downpour. These rains are called equatorial rains.

Our next work will be the Work of Winds Chart where we will review the direction of the warm winds and the cool winds around the globe. (A quick but very sincere thank-you to the KotU boards for these charts. I was able to print and laminate these, rather than spend hours trying to figure out how to re-create them.)
T has officially started the Squaring and Cubing section of the elementary math album. This is the first lesson, Transformation of a Square. Exercise 1 is transforming the square of 10 into a binomial. 

I have a first introduction using the square of 10. In the shot above, you can't see our golden 10-squares. Sorry, I just didn't get a shot. The same lesson can be done with all of the other bead squares as well. You CAN see the blue square of nine in the photo above, so I'll go through our explanation with that example. 

We took the bead square of nine and made the square of 3 with rubber bands. T also noticed that we had made the square of 6. The squares are all always on the diagonal, and there are always two additional rectangles that are equal. T said that the rectangles were both 3 taken 6 times. 

So then we wrote this down on paper and verified that all of our squares and rectangles add up to the 9-square, or 81. T wrote down 3^2 + 2(3x6)+6^2= and then solved the equation using his order of operations. 

The album suggests that the children continue to explore this lesson with other bead squares and continue to verify that the equations are equal mathematically. The next lesson will be transforming the square of 10 into a trinomial. 
D managed to construct the trinomial outside the box. Incorrectly. His top layer should be his bottom layer. I am not scrutinizing though. Maybe this was the last time he working with this material?

And finally, S read Mama Panya's Pancakes, by Mary and Rich Chamberlin, because we received some more coins from Kenya in the mail yesterday. She put on a waist "wrap" and then stuck two coins inside just like Mama Panya did in the story. 

D decided to get in, or under, a basket that was bigger than him. We have a picture of an enormous Zulu basket in our card collection. The basket he is inside is a clothes hamper.

And that wraps up our week. Now I need to find my work table underneath all my Montessori materials that are still "works-in-progress." Have a good weekend all!


  1. Hahahaha! Let's make D into angles!!! I LOVE that! ;)

  2. I hope nobody tries to make ME into an angle.