Sunday 24 February 2019

Project 73: Moana

School half-terms are inevitably busier than usual, with lots of additional meet-ups, so we decided on a simple project this week: Moana.
The children hadn't watched the Disney film previously, and we knew there was an extensive educator's guide online. We used the educator's guide as a starting point for a discussion about natural wayfinding and ocean currents.

We watched some additional videos about constellations, and the children picked a constellation to copy:

We watched videos about Polynesian wayfinding and also wayfinding in the UK, and then went on a nature walk to look for wayfinding signs (unfortunately our home ed budget doesn't run to Polynesian wayfinding trips):
Clues from lichen, grass, and trees
Finally we finished the week by creating our own ocean in a bottle:

Next week's project: Royal Mail

Sunday 17 February 2019

Project 72: The Climate

This week's project was selected to coincide with a home education group on micro-climates at Ferry Meadows, the local country park (the second home ed group we've been to there this year - see Project 68: Birds of the World). We've covered Project 45:The Weather previously, although  this one looked more closely at differences in climate and the impact of climate change.

The Ferry Meadows workshop was designed to show how different micro-climates can exist in a small geographic area. The children had to measure windspeed, light intensity, air temperate, ground temperature, and canopy cover at 20 metre intervals.
Measuring micro-climates at Ferry Meadows

We also explored the differences between our own area and a Scottish island, using resources on the Royal Geographical Society web site.

Finally we explored the issue of climate change, global warming, and the greenhouse effect with videos from BBC Teach:

 Finally, they also made their own climate change posters:
Climate Change Posters
Next week's project: Moana.

Project 71: Another 500 Words!

To coincide with this 500 Words Live Lesson we got the kids to write their own entries for the competition (luckily Monica will just be old enough in time!).

It seemed a bit more of a slog this year than last year, but we got there in the end.

Monica's Flower and the Marshmallow Castle

Flower’s pom-pom dress bounced like a kangaroo as she skipped out of the palace for her afternoon walk. She took her pet bear with her as well. They walked through the forest looking for juicy berries to snack on because they were hungry.  
Suddenly a big swarm of bees flew along and stung them both! They cried in pain, and stumbled through some bushes. On the other side of the bushes they saw a marshmallow castle and it looked delicious. They forgot about how much their stings hurt, and they forgot about their berry hunt, they just wanted to eat the castle! As they walked closer to it,  they heard sobbing, and looked up to see lots of princesses locked up in the highest tower. 
“Move your hairy bum,  we need to rescue them!” Flower shouted to Bear.
“I want something to eat before I do any rescuing!” Bear replied.
Flower stuck her hand into the side of the castle and scooped out a fistful of gooey marshmallow, “Here, eat this quickly, the princesses need us!”
But as bear was wolfing down the marshmallow, the side of the castle started to slip down a bit. 
“Woah did you see that Bear? The highest tower just got a bit lower down when we took out some of the marshmallow wall!”
Bear didn’t say anything, he was too busy licking his lips, “mmmmh”.
“I hope you’re hungry Bear, we’ve got a lot of eating to do!”
Flower and Bear both started scooping out handfuls of marshmallow from the castle walls and gobbled as fast as they could. Their lips were sticky and their cheeks were bursting but they carried on shovelling in pink goodness. The highest tower was now nearly as low as Bear, and the trapped princesses shouted through the window, “Hurry, the King will be back soon and he will turn you into jelly tots if he catches you!” 
“You’re nearly low enough now,” Flower said, “Bear, pull at the candy cane window bars and we can lift them out!”
The candy cane bars easily snapped as Bear yanked at them, so he reached in to lift the princesses out, when the King suddenly came back. 
“Who dares to ruin my castle and steal my princesses!!” the King thundered.
“Why were these princesses locked up?” Flower asked. 
“I was going to put them in my new ice cream chocolate bar to make it sweeter, and now the recipe will be ruined!!” the King replied.
One of the princesses who had just been rescued from the tower ran towards the King and grabbed his Wrapper Zapper from his inside cloak pocket, she stood back, and then pulled the trigger. The King was zapped, and wrapped in a shiny new chocolate bar wrapper!
Bear had been busy eating the broken candy cane bars and hadn’t noticed what the princess had done, and when he turned round and saw the wrapper, he said, “mmmh, that looks tasty!”, and all the princesses laughed.
Solomon's An Adventure in TaKlinkiKlonk
“I want those ones” Sam said to the shopkeeper, pointing to the blue and yellow sweets on the top shelf in the darkest corner of the shop. 
“Those are very special magic sweets” said the shopkeeper “you can only buy them if you promise to just eat one at a time.”
“Yes, I promise.”
Sam pays for the sweets and leaves the shop with the small bag, putting the first of the sweets in his mouth as soon as he gets outside. It was like an avalanche of fruity tastes, and before he knew what had happened Sam put another sweet in his mouth.
Sam suddenly found himself in a jungle! All around him were trees, and in the trees were strange creatures. He could see lions with wings chasing monkeys with wings. An elephant with extra trunks instead of tusks eating leaves from three trees at once. A pink striped zebra with a lion’s mane was singing a song and a wingless parrot was floating in the air.
“This must be a magical jungle” thinks Sam, and just then a whale with legs came crashing through the trees and Sam jumped out of the way just in time. 
“Hello. Excuse me Pink Zebra” he called “where am I?”
“This is the magical jungle of TaKlinkiKlonk, where all the animals live happily except King Roar, a flying disappearing lion. As long as you keep out of his way, you’ll enjoy a lovely visit.” It was too late though, as just then, Sam heard an almighty ROAARRR and King Roar appeared before him. 
“I am the King of this jungle, you do not belong here” snarled Roar at Sam.
Suddenly Sam was lifted into the air by the invisible lion. The King’s sharp claws dug into his skin as he was lifted high above the trees. Sam tried to wriggle free but Roar had a tight grip on him, and flew him to his castle where he threw him in a cage and locked him up. 
Sam saw Roar sitting asleep on his stone throne not far from the cage. Sam grabbed a magic sweet from his pocket. He was just about to eat it, when he decided to try something different. With all of his strength, he hurled the sweet into Roar’s eye. The lion woke up and roared an almighty ROAAARRR, but it was too late, the lion was starting to fizzle and shrink. Steam was coming out of the lion’s ears and he looked terrified! After 2 minutes, all that was left of the lion was a pile of claws. 
After eating his last two magic sweets, Sam returned home to the real world. He skipped down his street, happy that he defeated Roar of the magical jungle of TaKlinkiKlonk. He opened his front door excited to be home and safe, “You’re late for dinner!! No dessert for you tonight!” shouted his mum. 
‘Oh well,” said Sam, “you can’t win every battle.”   
Next week's project: The Climate

Sunday 3 February 2019

Project 70: Fabric crafts

This week's project was designed to coincide with a home education workshop at the local Peterborough museum called Fabric of Society, to coincide with the exhibition of the same name.

Unfortunately the workshop itself had very little to do with the Fabric of Society exhibition (at least for the younger group). In the first part they were read a story called Welcome, with an unsubtle message about climate change and refugees, and the children then had to create a picture associated with the story with the craft materials available. In the second part they were told to look at the Just Be Normal Exhibition, and then make a person with the craft materials available  

Workshop creations
Workshops relating to a specific exhibitions are a great learning opportunity, but of course they should actually relate to the exhibit!

We also bought a number of craft kits to introduce Solomon and Monica to crafts they wouldn't have tried previously. They made pom-poms:
Pom-pom Trolls
They sewed hand puppets:
Pirate Puppets
And they started some cross stitch key rings - although these are still a work in progress:

Cross stitch key rings
We also bought some children's knitting needles to introduce them to the basics of knitting, but unfortunately there just wasn't time as so much time was spent untying knots with the earlier activities! The Baker Ross craft kits were reasonably priced, and a great introduction to the crafts, but they did require a lot of parental help - especially as the instructions weren't always particularly clear.

Monica in particular enjoyed the craft activities, and it seems likely that she will return to some of these activities in the future.

Next week's project: Another 500 Words!
(see also the original 500 words - Project 21: Writing a Short Story).