Tuesday 28 April 2020

Project 132: Black Beauty

After a week with excessive amounts of screen time, we returned to the more sedate pace of the written word, with a project on Anna Sewell's Black Beauty. 

Unsurprisingly, much of the week was taken up with the actual reading of the book as at 288 pages it  was at the limit of what could be comfortably read in a week with a 7 year old and a 5 year old. The children enjoyed the story, and it's also one that sparks a lot of other conversations, from Sunday trading and animal rights to the Crimean war and the early days of film.

They also explored some famous paintings of horses with the highly recommended Old Masters Rock, did some Black Beauty differentiated reading on Twinkl, and painted their own pictures of horses.
Solomon (top) and Monica's (bottom) horses
Finally we finished the week with watching one of the film versions versions of the story, opting for the 1994 version:

Next week's project: The United Kingdom.

Monday 20 April 2020

Project 131: Minecraft Education

As Microsoft announced they were going to make a lot of their Minecraft Education resources available for free during the Coronavirus outbreak, we decided the children could explore some of them as a project. Minecraft goes in and out of fashion with the children, but as it seems very popular with all three at the moment, it couldn't have come at a better time. Minecraft has previously been the focus of one project (Project 31: Minecraft and Redstone), and incorporated in a number of others, from the Royal Mail to railways).

Over the week we explored six of the worlds that were made available: the Human BodyMarine BiologistInternational Space Station; Mount OlympusBees!; and Logic0. Where appropriate we supplemented the worlds with other book and video resources that we had available.

The most popular worlds for the children were those where you actually had to do specific tasks, for example, scanning the fish as a marine biologist. Whereas the International Space Station looked impressive from the outside, the children quickly bored of it.

Marine Biologist
International Space Station

Solomon and Monica were also tasked with coming up with an idea for their own worlds for educational purposes. Solomon suggested a Viking village with campfires and a longship so you could go off pillaging. Monica wanted to create a giant garden full of flowers: building models of flowers, planting flowers, and even a flower ferris wheel (nb. we explored Bees! after she had suggested her idea for a world).

It was interesting to explore such an eclectic set of Minecraft resources, but it was also a reminder of the affordances of different media. Minecraft Education can be a useful aid, and will undoubtedly get the children's attention, but if you want 'learning' it needs to be combined with other resources.

Next project: Black Beauty (...because we've had enough of screens for a week!)

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Project 130: Easter III

This week's project was prompted by Easter, and was our third Easter as home educators (see Project 29: Easter and Spring, Project 81: Easter II) . While we always do lots of Easter crafts, unfortunately (for obvious reasons) we were restricted to the house this year.

Nonetheless we updated our bunny bunting from last year, made our Easter nest cakes, made some toilet roll chicks, and created some Easter cards to cheer up family and neighbours.
Easter 2020 Crafts
Hopefully things will be back to normal next year!

Next project: Minecraft Education

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Project 129: Life in the Oceans

This week's project was inspired by both Project 127: Biomes and this week's #LiveLent reflection. We had previously done a project on the oceans back in Solomon's first year of home education, so it seemed a good time to revisit the topic again (see Project 27: Under the Sea).

The children followed the BBC Live Lesson and worksheets on the Blue Planet,plastic pollution, and sustainable fishing, and watched some episodes of Blue Planet on Netflix. They also watched Finding Dory and made use of the Finding Dory educators guides on the Walt Disney nature site.

The children were also expected to make use of resources in the house to create their own fact sheets about an underwater creature of their choice. Solomon picked the whitetip reef shark and Monica the (freshwater) tucuxi dolphin.
Some of the worksheets and fact sheets
Finally they made their own jelly fish pictures using toilet tissue and wool.
Toilet tissue jelly fish

Next project: Easter III