Tuesday 30 October 2018

Project 57: Living things and their habitats.

The kids were signed up to a home education workshop on living things and their habitats at Ferry Meadows, so we decided to make that the subject of this week's project.

Solomon taking the ground temperature in a quadrant at Ferry Meadows
The workshop involved looking at micro-habitats, meadow leaves, and bug hunting, and the children got to see a wide variety of insects.

We also went on our own bug and leaf hunt later in the week. We used the Autumn Leaf ID sheet from the Woodland Trust, and did some leaf rubbings/paintings.


Leaf Rubbings
Solomon and Monica were also asked to pick their own animal to explore in more detail. Solomon picked bats, and we explored some of the resources on the Bat Conservation Trust web site, including making a bat finger puppet.
Bat Finger Puppets
Monica picked rabbits, and watched a number of videos about how they lived underground:
This week's project also coincided with the BBC's Autumnwatch being available on the iPlayer, and that kept Solomon enthralled and Monica mildly interested.

Next week: Exercise

Monday 22 October 2018

Project 56: Treasure Island

As the children were off for a family visit to the North East this week, we took it as an opportunity to explore a book in a bit more detail, more specifically: Treasure Island.

Unfortunately the full version was a bit beyond the kids this week, Monica in particular struggled with some of the colloquial language and the transcribed vernacular speech, so we read the Usborne version along with part of the full version.
The full and the abridged version of Treasure Island
BBC School Radio also have a series of accompanying videos, scripts, and activities to accompany the story.

We also got Solomon and Monica to create their own treasure maps, staining the paper with coffee and drying it in the oven.
Solomon's and Monica's treasure maps
As this is now the third map they've done as part of a project (see also Project 52: Battles and Project 2: Maps) there is now a moratorium on map making until one of them declares they want to be a cartographer!

Finally we finished the week by watching an alternative version of the story: Muppet Treasure Island.

Next week's project: Living things and their habitats.

Monday 15 October 2018

Project 55: Putting on a show - Adventures of the Egyptian King

As Solomon was going to the home education workshop at Norwich Puppet Theatre, and we were looking for a project in the humanities this week, we decided to get the children to put on a puppet show.

Both Monica and Solomon have always enjoyed making and playing with puppets. One of Solomon's early home ed projects was on puppets and the theatre (Project 10: Puppets and the Theatre) and he has previously made both an Egyptian king (Project 23: Ancient Egypt) and a big fish (Project 27: Under the Sea) (both of which reappear this week!).

After starting the week looking at the different ways people tell stories on stage and screen, we got them to write and perform their own story with the puppets they have. The result: Adventures of an Egyptian King. 

We finished the week with the other classic film about putting on a show: Muppets Take Manhattan.

Next week's project: Treasure Island

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Project 54: More Chemistry!

Solomon picked chemistry for this week's project, making use of the Thames & Kosmos C500 Chemistry set we bought in the Maplin closing down sale.

Chemistry C500
The project revisited many of the ideas discussed in Project 19: Science and chemistry and Project 37: Metals, and we rewatched some of the videos and played Top Trump Elements.

The C500 chemistry set is a nice introductory set with 28 simple experiments, although it does suffer from requiring a lot of additional 'household' items. If you are not the sort of person who likes to spend their evenings with a bottle of meths and some tea lights you'll need to make sure you are well prepared beforehand.

Creating gases and testing for acids
Solomon showed a lot of interest in the elements this week, and spent a lot of time looking through A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table and The Element: A visual exploration of every known atom in the universe. It therefore seemed an appropriate time to extend our science library, and bought both the Usborne Junior Illustrated Science Dictionary and the Usborne Illustrated Science Dictionary.

Science Dictionaries
The junior dictionary offers an introduction to many scientific ideas, but is one that is quickly exhausted. For example, while is mentions materials and changing states, 'elements' doesn't make it into the index. In comparison, the illustrated dictionary is suitable up to GCSE level showing the breakdown of atoms, bonding, and different element groupings.

Next week's project: Putting on a show!

Monday 1 October 2018

Project 53: Myths and Legends

It was Monica's turn to pick a project this week, and she picked Myths and Legends.

The week started with a discussion of what myths and legends are, and the children were tasked with finding books which fitted the definitions from their bookshelves. Although there were a few false starts, with Beast Quests, modern fairy stories, and The Hobbit selected, eventually we settled on a selection of myths and legends for the week's project. 
A Selection of Myths and Legends
The Usborne young reading series are a great way to introduce classic tales to the children, accessible with colourful pictures, and ideal for them to read on their own. We didn't cover it this week, but Beowulf has long been a favourite of Solomon's from the series.  Great Stories from British History brings together about 100 tales from British history, with some more rooted in fact (e.g., the Higgs boson) than others (e.g., Gogmagog and the exiles of Troy), again colourful and accessible to the children. In particular we wanted to introduce Hereward the Wake, as it is a legend set in the local area. Finally, Norse Myths:Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki is an anthology for older children with fewer pictures, but one we bought to read with them to help them improve their reading. 

As their mother comes from Sunderland, they were also introduced to tales of the Lambton Worm, reading the book, listening to the song, and making their own worms.

Finally, the children were tasked with creating their own mythical creatures: 
Solomon's "Scillyhiggler" and Monica's "Rubbers"
Next week's project: More Chemistry! (Following on from Project 19: Science and Chemistry)