Monday, February 22, 2010

Now Contributing to Love2Learn with Little Black Ant on Park Street, as the web site says, is a place to find "favorite resources for Catholic homeschoolers and others who 'love to learn.'" I heartily agree, and I am honored to announce that I am now a contributor to the site. In fact, I posted a review for the book, Little Black Ant on Park Street by Janet Halfmann. You can read the review on Love2Learn here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MIT Edgerton Center Field Trip

If you live anywhere near Cambridge, MA, the Edgerton Center at MIT offers several free LEGO kit science classes. I arranged for our homeschool support group to participate in the Car Rally class because that one allows for the broadest range of ages. Two other moms and I brought in 14 kids; Dh personally escorted us directly to the Center. Here they are heading towards the Infinite Corridor.

Kids were broken up into groups of two and given Lego kits with which they built cars. In order to earn points, they first had to put the cars on a tilt board; the higher the board could be tilted without the car falling off, the more points you got.

Next the kids brought the cars to the track in the hallway. The further the car went, the more points they got. They needed to try the cars both forward and backward--often backward worked much better! Then you went back in to fix your design and try again.

The class ran for 3 hours, including a 30 minute lunch break. Since we all left our lunches in the vehicles we went for 2.5 hours straight through. Only the youngest two showed any signs of wear; the rest we had to almost wrestle parts from their hands!

Amy, the class facilitator, is at the tilt board. Below is the track in the hallway. I highly recommend the classes if you can get 6 or more kids of the right age for them. MIT offers parking passes for $12 per vehicle if public transportation won't work for your group. We bought 3 passes and that was still less than $1 per child. It was well worth the expense.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

-:|:-In His Grip-:|:- Loni from Hearts-In-Training gave this wonderful award to me--thank you so much for the honor!

Here is what I do...

Thank & link to the person that gave you the award
Done, with great pleasure!

Pass this award onto 15 (or only 7) bloggers you think are fantastic. (I follow many more beautiful bloggers...)
Talking to Myself
Art Lessons for Kids
School for Us
Totus Tuus Family & Catholic Homeschool
Mountaineer Country
Of Great Mind
Learners At Home

Contact said Blogs & let them know they've won...will do now that this post is done.

State 7 things about yourself.
  1. I just left my job of 16 years at the hospital to teach at a university.
  2. I really need a haircut but can't seem to find the time to get one.
  3. I rarely miss the daily Mass on EWTN.
  4. A long time ago I lost a lot of money booking Celtic folk bands and selling tickets to the concerts...but it was loads of fun!
  5. I came home to the Catholic Church 5 years ago because of the Eucharist.
  6. I wear wool wristers and a thin wool shawl while working at the computer in winter.
  7. I really would like a minivan.
  8. I secretly hate science (just kidding, lol!!!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Journey North Update

We completed the first two weeks of data recording. From the beginning until the spring equinox, all you need to do is record sunrise and sunset data, calculate the photoperiod (amount of daylight), and graph the data. Photoperiod reveals the latitude of the mystery classes since it is different for every latitude yet constant along that latitude around the globe. This gives you several weeks to explore related concepts.

Week 1 we investigated globes, maps, and the longitude and latitude lines on them. This information is readily available in most atlases. The National Geographic Xpeditions site has a lot of great information and related activities. I printed a copy of the world map for each student and gave them coordinates to mark to show how longitude and latitude gives you a global location. I assigned the program Globes and Their Uses on Discovery Streaming. We also learned about dividing a circle into 360 degrees as part of this lesson. We used the diagrams from the program to illustrate.

Week 2 we investigated the Reasons for the Seasons, watching the video of the same name on Discovery Streaming, and reading the Let's Read and Find Out book. There's a nice interactive on Teacher's Domain, too. They figured out why classes 3 and 8 (both of which Ds#2 has) have photoperiods of 0 and 24 respectively and near the equator is 12 hours. From that they learned that photoperiod indicated latitude, that north of the equator the photoperiod was increasing, and south of the equator it was decreasing. I even caught two math errors in photoperiod because the trend didn't fit that pattern. And now that we have a line drawn on our graph, the overall pattern makes sense to them.