Monday 28 October 2019

Project 107: Light

This was one of the few projects where we've broken from our usual one-project-per-week approach, and spread it over two weeks. This was because we had a six day trip to the kids' grandparents planned, and wanted to make use of some more of the North East museums. As Joseph Swan, one of the inventors of the light bulb, came from Sunderland, we decided to make Light this week's project. 

As well as the usual pages from the encyclopaedia and science dictionaries, and watching YouTube videos we visited two museums with light related exhibits. The Light exhibition at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle provided an interactive area for engaging with the properties of light, including an infinity mirror, a black mirror, a polarised light spinner, prisms, and cabinets showing the evolution of the light bulb. 
Light at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle
The miner's safety lamp display at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens provided another, more practical, perspective on our changing relationship with light over the years.
Safety lamps in Sunderland
The project also provided us with the opportunity to do our own experiments with the reflection and refraction of light:
Refracting light with a glass of water
By far the most visually impressive experiment was splitting light with the prism we bought:
Prism splitting sunlight

Finally, for the craft part of the project, the children followed a YouTube video to make their own kaleidoscopes
Solomon's Kaleidoscope
Next project: The Great Fire of London.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Project 106: Boy -Tales of Childhood

Every now and again we like to do a project focused on a single book*, and for this week's project we decided on one of the few Roald Dahl books for children that the children hadn't read yet: Boy-Tales of Childhood. The book is a series of anecdotes from Roald Dahl's childhood almost 100 years ago, and with tales of caning, fagging, and boarding school, it is a very different world to our children's home education.

As well as reading the book, we introduced them to a few of the more traditional sweets they hadn't come across before from the Sweet Barrels in Loughborough (including aniseed balls, liquorice and pear drops):

Some old fashioned sweets
We filled out another country profile on Norway (where Roald Dahl's parents came from), and got the children to write some anecdotes from their own childhood: Monica wrote about our summer holiday in Great Yarmouth (Project 91: The Seaside), while Solomon chose to write about a trip to the London Transport Museum he went on with his Dad:

Worksheets and anecdotes
Finally, we made our own sugar mice, in honour of the real mouse Roald Dahl put in a sweet jar when he was a young boy:
Sugar mice
There are also plenty of lesson plans for Roald Dahl books on the Roald Dahl web site, although unfortunately we didn't get to do as much as we would have liked as Solomon was a bit poorly for a couple of days. We will have to revisit one of his other books on a future occasion. 

Next weeks' project: Light.

* See also:

Sunday 6 October 2019

Project 105: Harvest Festival

As it had been the Harvest Festival service at the cathedral at the beginning of the week (Sunday 22nd September), it seemed a good opportunity for a harvest project: being thankful for the food we have, thinking about where it comes from, and how plants grow.

We considered where some of the foods we have in the cupboard came from, and marked them off on a map. Unsurprisingly, following the recent project work on the environment (Project 99: The Earth), there was a lot of discussion of food miles. The children were far happier than the adults with the suggestion that we should stop buying coffee!

Mapping some of our food miles
We also looked more closely at the growing of plants and the topic of DNA, following some videos and worksheets on extracting DNA from some strawberries. We had first tried extracting DNA from an onion, back in Solomon's first year (Project 35: Biology), but the strawberry experiment was much more successful.
Extracting strawberry DNA
We worked through the Junior Illustrated Science Dictionary and the KS1 Science Revision Guide on the parts of plants and pollination, revisiting some of the work that had been covered in Project 80: Plants and Flowers. Finally we dug up some of the carrots and parsnips that had been planted in the plants and flowers project.
Harvesting our own vegetables
Next week's project: Boy -Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl.