Thursday, October 13, 2011

adobe ovens, week 1

Our little cultural projects co-op began yesterday. A big part of the Enki cultural units (the part that makes up the actual Science work) is based on longer-term, larger scale projects. My friend T is leading our first project, which will ultimately be an adobe oven.

The timing of the start of this project is perfect for us (purposely), because this week we've been reading stories about Abraham and Sarah, and in the stories Sarah bakes bread in her adobe oven.

In the first photo, T is just helping the kids get a feel for the landscape and materials available to the ancient Hebrew people.

Then we went outdoors for the real work. Our first job was to find clay. Fortunately, T lives on an old river bed, so her yard is just FULL of clay, and the kids didn't even need to dig all that deep to find it. They were pretty excited with how much clay they were able to dig up and collect in a fairly short amount of time.

Next, they came up with "recipes" -- different combinations of amounts of clay, sand, and composted soil. They mixed up each of the recipes, adding some water along the way to create enough moisture for it to stick together well.

Then they formed their clay recipes into test bricks (in our case, the bricks are just informal balls rather than molded bricks).

The whole point of this activity is discovery learning -- the kids are making various ratios of clay/sand/soil to determine which is the optimum mixture for constructing our oven.

Then they laid out their bricks to dry. Next week, we will drop the bricks and see which ones hold up the best, then use that recipe to start building our oven.

Our recording sheet to keep track of the recipes we used. Next week we'll fill in the results.

The entire scientific focus for this year is ecosystems -- in particular, determining what is needed for the human species to survive, and discovering how these ancient peoples went about providing these things for themselves. Right now we are working with "food" -- after we're done with this half our our semester, we will switch to working with "shelter" and will construct a nomadic tent from goat fiber.

1 comment:

Bea said...

this sounds like an awesome class , looks like ecosystems will be one of Dessi's topics in science too. I lve how you address the subject. We learn about different ecosystems in our "neighbor hoods". We are taking a botany/birding class to do that .
Keep up the good work!