Saturday 23 June 2018

Project 40: Cartoons

After two weeks of history we decided to study something a bit lighter, and explored the topic of cartoons. We looked at political cartoons, comics, and some animated cartoons.

We explored political cartoons with the British Cartoon Archive, searching for a variety of different terms, including events, people and objects (e.g., Lego), and discussed who was represented and what they were showing.

Although Solomon has read some graphic novels, we introduced him to the traditional British comic and took him to a comic store to see the American superhero style. He instantly loved the Beano, and we got him to draw his own comic strip in a similar style.
Solomon's first Beano

Solomon's 'Crazy Baby' comic strip

Many of the early animations are now available online, including Fantasmagorie, which is considered the first animated film and reminds me of the CBeebies DipDap:
We also watched Steam Boat Willie, and took the opportunity to introduce Solomon to many of the Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters that he's not come across yet.

We wanted to go to the Cartoon Museum - but unfortunately we caught the train to London only to find the museum unexpectedly closed, and we're still not sure why!

Next week's project: Britain

Update 23/07/2018: We finally made it to the Cartoon Museum for Project 43: Museums.

Monday 18 June 2018

Project 39: The Saxons

To accompany the previous week's project of The Vikings, we looked at the Saxons. Unsurprisingly there is a lot of overlap between the projects, and many of the books we used were the same: History of Britain: the Saxons & Vikings, Great Stories of British History, and Horrible Histories: Smashing Saxons. We also looked up what was happening in the local area in local history books, and overlaid an old map of the area showing a Saxon burial ground with a modern map, showing that there was a Saxon burial ground at the end of our road!
Saxon burial ground at the end of our road
BBC Bitesize have a wide range of guides on the Saxons, about their culture and kings, and Solomon enjoys the fact that they are more interactive than the usual videos and books. 

We haven't really had many project-based trips in recent weeks, so it was good to have two for the Saxons. Firstly, we had a day trip to London, to visit the British Library and the British Museum, and then we went to the Peterborough Heritage Festival

We ostensibly went to the British Library to look at the sorts of manuscripts the Saxon monks would have been working on, but the treasures gallery is full of interesting items and objects, from Ada Lovelace's 'first computer program', Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks, to Beatles lyrics. Like all small children Solomon enjoyed the interactive elements - the touchscreens and audio recordings - as much as the objects. He particularly enjoyed the recording of Beowulf and Alan Bennett's recording of Alice in Wonderland. 
We went to the British Museum to see the Sutton Hoo collection, and other items from the Saxon period. We last went to the British Museum as part of the project on Ancient Egypt, but with so much to see there, it's always good to focus on a specific collection. 
Hoo's on first?
The Peterborough Heritage Festival covers a wide range of historical periods, from Romans to World War 2 with a bit of Steam Punk thrown in on top. Solomon enjoyed the vikings, and even had a giant game of Nine Men's Morris (introduced in the Board Games project). 
Nine Men's Morris
Saxon Viking Camp
Next week's project: Cartoons

Sunday 10 June 2018

Project 38: The Vikings

The Vikings is another of those obligatory home education projects for young children, and Solomon picked it as this week's project. As we had had a few days in York earlier in the year (visiting the Jorvik centre etc), we focused on discovering the Vikings through books, videos and song, looking at the history of Vikings in Britain, and Viking myths and legends.

The history of the Vikings made use of a number of books: History of Britain: the Saxons & Vikings, Ladybird Book of British History, and Horrible Histories: Vicious Vikings. We also coupled the 'proper' history with some relevant stories from Great Stories from British History, about kings Edmund, Swayne and Canute. Solomon was thrilled to discover a recipe for conker soap in the Vicious Vikings, but disappointed that it was the wrong time of year for conkers. As well as Solomon's favourite The Story of Britain animation, we also watched some BBC Teach clips with Neil Oliver.

We also made use of BBC resources for learning about some Viking myths and legends. They have a number of Viking saga songs, to form the basis of music lessons, as well as the usual animations. The Thor and the Giants tale has also been made into a TED Ed video:

Most importantly this week, we also compared the classic cartoon Vicky the Viking with the more recent Vic the Viking, and came to the conclusion that the original was better!

Of course no Viking project would be complete without a picture of a longboat:
Solomon's Longboat
Next week (on a similar theme to coincide with the Peterborough Heritage Festival): The Saxons!

Sunday 3 June 2018

Project 37: Metals

We had already got Science-files: Metals from the library, so decided to use that as the basis for this week's project. Using a host of online videos, and A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table (previously used in Project 19: Science and chemistry), we explored: the bronze age, iron age, industrial revolution, precious metals, modern alloys, and recycling.

Solomon's reaction to the first video, showing the smelting of copper on an open hilltop in Israel, was that he wanted to do that this week, and was a bit disappointed that we had to say no!

He particularly enjoys BBC Teach: Story of Britain videos, watching the whole series rather than restricting himself to those on the bronze age and iron age.

Hands-on experiments with metals are a bit limited with a 5 yr old, but we did explore the hallmarks on some of the 'precious' objects in our house:
Birmingham palladium and Sheffield platinum
And the magnetic properties of the change in our pockets, and how this has changed along with the composition of UK coins.

Next week's project: The Vikings!