Tuesday 31 March 2020

Project 128: Charlotte's Web

After overdosing on films for Project 127: Biomes, we wanted something a bit more sedate this week, and decided to read Charlotte's Web: the classic tale of a pig who is saved by a spider.

Both the children loved the story, and it was the ideal level for a week's project. We had been a bit wary about the topic (Wilbur's potential death and Charlotte's actual death) but the book (and the film which stuck faithfully to the book) dealt with it sensitively.

As well as reading the book, and watching the film, the children created their own spiders on a web:
Charlotte's Web and our Spider Web Plates
Following the suggestion in the book, they also drew their own 'word webs', with tricky words that they needed to learn. Charlotte's Web reminded me a bit of Lemony Snicket in the way tricky words are introduced and then explained.
Word Webs
We finished the project with the quiz from the back of the book - although it could have done with a few more questions!

Next week's project: Life in the Oceans

Monday 23 March 2020

Project 127: Biomes

Following on from Project 126: Water, we decided to focus on some of the world's biomes.

After introducing the topic, having the children colour in some maps, and completing some worksheets on biomes, we looked at five biomes with the help of children's films.
Solomon (top) and Monica's (bottom) biome maps
Deserts - Rango
Deserts were introduced in a SciShow video, before watching Rango.
We also got them to make a cactus picture.
Solomon (left) and Monica's (right) cacti
Savannah - The Lion King
We watched an episode of the Africa TV series on savannahs, and made use of the The Lion King activity pack that was released for the recent live action version of the film.

Rainforest - Tarzan
We watched an episode of the Africa TV series on the Congo and the Disney version of the film.

Oceans - Finding Nemo
We explored oceans of the world, and rewatched Finding Nemo.

Antarctic - Happy Feet
Finally we watched Happy Feet, which the children enjoyed so much they insisted on acting out their own version of the story.

At the end of the week we asked the children to pick their favourite biome, and write a bit about why: Solomon picked the arctic, and said he would like to be a polar bear; Monica said she would like to live in the ocean because of the colourful coral reefs.

We are expecting a few more films in the weeks ahead as society becomes more self-isolating due to the spread of coronavirus, but we have to admit five films in a week was probably a bit over the top!

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Project 126: Water

This week's home ed project was picked to coincide with a workshop on 'Pirates' at the local country park (originally meant to be about rivers) and the subject of the Church of England's #LiveLent reflection for the week.

The workshop consisted of making a raft that floated, testing it on the lake, and then a treasure hunt around the park. It wasn't necessarily as water-focused as we'd have liked, but the children all had a fun time.
Pirates rafts at Ferry Meadows
We also made use of a number of Twinkl resources this week. We used the Ways to Save Water activity sheet, to explore ways we could save water at home. We revisited the water cycle and explored changing states of matter. Finally we did an experiment to see how fast an ice cube melts under different conditions: room temperature, palm of your hand, under a hairdryer, and in a fridge.

Ice-Cube Experiment
Along the water theme we also picked the 1970s classic film (based on Charles Kingsley's book) The Water Babies. 

Next week: Biomes

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Project 125: World Book Day and 1,001 Arabian Nights

It was our third home education World Book Day (see also Project 75: Charles Dickens & World Book Day and Project 24: World Book Day and the Wizard of Oz) and we thought we'd introduce a classic from a different culture in the form of 1,001 Arabian Nights. We made use of the Geraldine McCaughrean version as we've enjoyed her work previously (see Project 115: Christmas and The Pilgrim's Progress).

1,001 Nights is a collection of stories, so the fact we didn't have a chance to read the whole of the book this week didn't matter: we read the first and last chapters, and a selection of the most notable tales (including Sinbad, Ala al-Din, and Ali Baba and the forty thieves). Nothing quite emphasises the impact of the tales on Western culture than the large number of films based on the tales that have been made, and we watched five!: The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad  (1958), Aladdin (1992), The Return of Jafar, (1994), Sinbad: Legend of the seven seas (2003), and Aladdin (2019).

Of course we didn't just watch films (although the children might if you let them). The children completed a number of worksheets from Twinkl on Aladdin and Ali Baba, explored Islamic art, learned about the golden age of Islam, and designed their own flying carpets:
Solomon and Monica's Flying Carpets
Next week's project: Water.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Project 124: Fruit

This project was picked solely on the basis that Solomon is a big fan of fruit and he requested it.

We started by exploring the different types of fruits, the difference between the scientific term and the term in general types of use, and bought a variety of the more exotic fruits from the local supermarkets.
The fruit haul

Solomon also wanted to put some satsuma pith under the microscope, and repeat the extraction of DNA from the strawberries experiment we did last year (see previous Project 105: Harvest Festival).

Orange Pith

Extracting Strawberry DNA
We also compared the browning of a generic Tesco's 'sweet apple' with one of the supposedly non-browning Opal apples. Unfortunately in this case both apples browned at the same rate, albeit extremely slowly. Both looked perfectly edible after an hour, the photo on the right was after 6 hours!
Opal Fruits

The children also had to draw a fruit of their choice, and explored the artwork of Giuseppe Arcimboldo using Twinkl resources. In a nice coincidence we watched The Tales of Despereaux this week, which also had an Arcimboldo style character.

Kiwis and Fruit Portraits

Next project: World Book Day and 1,001 Arabian Nights