Tuesday, September 20, 2011

monday homeschool classes

Our fun Monday Homeschool Classes co-op started up again yesterday, and the kids were all thrilled to be "back to school" with their friends.

First class of the day for my kids was about Flight. After discussing the historical beginnings of flight, they made their own hot air balloons from lightweight plastic trash bags, then heated the air inside with a hair dryer, then let them go! It was amazing how well these things floated!

Next they created a more complicated flying machine out of a latex balloon. They used a washer on a piece of string as a weight (to keep the balloon upright) and the hair dryer to provide upward lift. After experimenting with their wobbly creations, the teacher showed them how (and where) to add cellophane tape fins to make the balloon spin, which added stability. The kids then practiced flying their creations and landing them in plastic cups.

Really, really cool class.

Next was one of my offerings, a class called "Ancient Israeli Crafts" which I designed to support our Torah study unit this fall. We started the class by looking at some maps and satellite photos of Israel, so the kids had an idea where in the world it is, and were able to determine (from the satellite photos) that there is a predominate desert climate there. We also looked at photos (from library books) of what the desert looks like, and identified the sorts of plants and animals that could survive in that ecosystem. Then we brainstormed about how people could survive there without any of the technology we have today. We soon discovered that the Ancient Israelis depended quite a bit on their goats, and we created a few products like they may have used for survival -- a folded leather pouch for carrying food, and yarn from goat fiber (mohair) which they made tents and clothing from for shelter. Next week we'll build ground looms and weave tent strips on them.

Lunch was held at a nearby park, complete with glorious weather, a nice play scape, tennis courts and ball fields, and a small river to wade in. And, most important to me, picnic tables in the shade of a big tree.

Last class of the day was my Fun With Fractions class. This is a really "lite" introduction to fractions, comparing what fraction of whole things the kids themselves are a part of. The worksheets to the left of the photo provided some questions that we answered together in class, like "What fraction of the class are you?" and "What fraction of your family are you?" This week we just dealt with fractions whose numerators are 1, we'll deal with multiple numerators next week. The craft project, to the right in the photo (J's above, Zoo Boy's below), was a huge hit with the kids, who all loved cutting their half of a half in half to create an eighth. Also a huge hit was dividing our round coffee cake and our square coffee cake into fractions to feed the class.

If only I could remember to take photos while the class is running! But I get too caught up in teaching and can't seem to remember to click the camera, despite the fact that it's sitting next to me on the table.


Chuck said...

I just told Ariel about this. Hopefully she will remind you and while you are teaching she can snap a couple of photos of the active class for you!

Harvest Moon Farm said...

Thanks, Chuck -- what would I do without Ariel?!