Monday 26 October 2020

Project 155: Light and Space

After the children enjoyed Project 146: A Wrinkle in Time we thought it would be a good idea to look at some theories about light and space a bit more closely. Although we have done projects on light (see Project 107: Light) and space (see Project 8: Space and the Planets) previously, this was a project more about our understanding of space and light, and the change brought about by Einstein's theory of relativity. 

It was a project that made use of a lot of videos and a lot of books, although we did finish with a some practical gravitational experiments at the end of the week. 

There were a number of different strands to the week's work. 

1) We looked at the lives of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein with two accessible biographies aimed at children: Isaac Newton; The scientist who changed everything, and Albert Einstein. As well as an online BBC introduction to Einstein

2) We explored the theory of relativity and some of its unexpected behaviours as you near the speed of light with The Time and Space of Uncle Albertmultiple online videos, and the classic 1980s film The Flight of the Navigator.

3) We explored alternative perspectives on higher dimensions with Edwin Abbott's classic Flatlands.

4) And finally we read about, and did some simple experiments on, our more usual experience of gravity with Usborne's Junior Illustrated Science Dictionary and 100 Science Experiments

In the back of The Time and Space of Uncle Albert there was a quiz on the theory of relativity, and the  children's combined efforts achieved a score of 15 out of 18, so we can rest assured they picked up something over the week. Obviously with children aged 4, 6, and 7, we don't expect them to remember everything, or come up with a theory of everything, but we do like to put certain ideas and concepts on their radar for future reference.

Next project: Mushrooms and Fungi. 

Monday 19 October 2020

Project 154: More Board Games

 Like a lot of people we've ended up with far more board games than we generally have time to play, so we decided to have a week of playing board games. We last had a board game project back in Solomon's first year of home education (see Project 32: Board games), so it was a good opportunity to introduce some games to Sam, and hopefully clear the cupboards of some of the most childish games. In the end, however, the project stretched over two weeks, we still didn't have time to play all the games we wanted, and only managed to persuade the children to give one game to the local charity shop. 

Week 1

We set off at at good pace in the first week, and managed to play 41 different games, from simple snap card games suitable for everyone to more complicated strategy suitable only for the big two. 

  1. Mousetrap
  2. Tummy Ache
  3. Mr Men Card Game
  4. Guess Who
  5. Snap (animals)
  6. Snap (numbers)
  7. Dominoes
  8. Hare & Tortoise
  9. Operation
  10. Pass the Word
  11. Frozen Memory Game
  12. Paddington
  13. Rummikub
  14. Pass the Pigs
  15. Memoir '44
  16. Rockin' Robot
  17. Wall Game
  18. Junior Scrabble
  19. Upwords
  20. Destination Norwich
  21. Mastermind
  22. Pop Up Pirate
  23. Connect 4 Flip
  24. Monkey Business 
  25. Picture Tri-onimoes
  26. Don't Rock the Boat
  27. Countdown
  28. Where is Moldova?
  29. Frozen Labyrinth
  30. London Underground Game
  31. Top Trumps (Marvel)
  32. Monopoly (Despicable Me)
  33. Ants in the Pants
  34. Spinergy
  35. Around the World in 80 Days
  36. Timeline
  37. Hungry Hippos
  38. Dobble
  39. Ticket to Ride First Journey
  40. Catan
  41. Mario Match

Week 2
We found we couldn't quite keep up the pace in the second week, and only managed to play another 28 different games, partly due to playing pandemic three times. 
  1. Shopping List
  2. Mario Monopoly
  3. Carcassonne
  4. Snakes & Ladders
  5. Pandemic
  6. Kerplunk
  7. Picture Lotto
  8. Scotland Yard Jnr.
  9. Tell the Time
  10. Backgammon
  11. Loopin' Chewie
  12. Stratego
  13. Fortnite Monopoly
  14. Ramses Pyramid
  15. Downfall
  16. Staying Alive
  17. Scrabble
  18. Ticket to Ride
  19. Robochamp
  20. 3 in a Row
  21. Flag Dominoes
  22. Cubeword
  23. Boss Monster
  24. Bugs in the Kitchen
  25. Othello
  26. The Peterborough Game
  27. Risk
  28. Subma-Fight

Pandemic was the only game we bought specifically for the project, and everyone enjoyed it. We think Monica was particularly attracted to the collaborative nature of the game, rather than having to face the competitive nature of her older brother, so we'll definitely look out for more collaborative games in the future. 

The children were asked to pick their favourite top 3 games out of the 69 played over the two weeks.

Monica's top 3:
  1. Frozen Labyrinth
  2. Mastermind
  3. Monkey Business*
(* mostly picked because this one was designated for donating to the charity shop)

Sam's top 3: 
  1. Risk*
  2. Subma-Fight 
  3. Marvel Top Trumps
(* also Solomon's favourite pick during the first board game project)

Solomon's top 3: 
  1. Pandemic
  2. Subma-Fight
  3. Memoir '44
Subma-Fight, picked by both of the boys, is a 2-player submarine strategy game that Solomon designed for his mum's birthday; it was high praise for Pandemic to knock Subma-Fight off the top spot. The Peterborough Game is another game you won't find in the shops, a game from 1992 that we picked up in the local charity shop; it actually turned out to be an interesting game with some novel elements, although it's a bit tricky to win, so now mostly being kept for historical reasons. 

Next week: Light and Space

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Project 153: Stuart Little

Our first book project of the school year was picked because it was suitable for all the children, from the youngest to the eldest, and they'd all enjoyed the author's work previously (see also Charlotte's Web). 

Most of the week was spent reading the book and watching the three films (Stuart Little 3 was on Amazon Prime).

As a small craft activity the children created their own little mice on sticks.

We also spent some time learning about mice and mouse-like creatures. Solomon particularly liked the sound of the grasshopper mouse, while Monica pointed out that jerboa appeared in Into the Jungle, so we read that section of that book too. 

Next project: More Board Games

Thursday 1 October 2020

Project 152: Autumn and Harvest

It didn't feel particularly autumnal at the start of the week, whatever the calendar said, but it nonetheless seemed a good time to bring together topics covered in previous projects for the younger members of the group.

The children started the week by putting on their autumnal shorts, t-shirts, and sun hats, and doing a nature walk:

They learned about the seasons (see also Project 12: Time and Calendars), the harvest (see also Project 105: Harvest Festival), revisited the different food groups (see also Project 6: Nutrition) and even watched a bean start to grow (see also Project 80: Plants and Flowers). 

By the end of the week it had turned a bit colder, and the children helped make a stew and some bread rolls (see also Project 50: Bread!), which they all enjoyed. 

Next project: Stuart Little