Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Human Body - 5 Senses

To continue our study of the Human Body, we studied the Five Senses.  This ended up being a lot of fun since we did lots of experiments and activities.  First we read some books and discussed the senses all together.  We read The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses, My Five Senses by Aliki and a Senses booklet from Science AtoZ.

The first Sense we explored in depth was Sight.  We read The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss and checked our Science Encyclopedia for information.  We also looked at and read some pages on seeing from The Learning Page.  Then we did an experiment from Science Experiments for Young Learners but I modified it some.  The experiment called for scattering candies in different color wrappers in a marked off section of grass outside.  We are having some torrential rain today and our grass hasn't quite come in yet so this wouldn't have worked very well.  I saw on a blog (I don't know which one, if anyone has any idea, let me know) about hiding candies (M&M's or Skittles) in tissue paper.  I ended up buying blue Easter grass to use and hiding mini M&M's.   We had discussed tools which help us to see (from The Learning Page) so each of the kids had a magnifying glass.   Then we discussed what we could see.  We decided that the orange and yellow candies were the easiest to see.   The blue and green candies were hardest to see, especially the blue ones since they were the same color as the "grass".   Then we jumped ahead to tasting as the kids ate the candies.

Next we did the sense of Smell.   We read What's That Awful Smell by Heather Tekavec to start off.  Then I took five cups and put different items in them to smell.   This was another experiment from Science Experiments for Young Learners but I just used some plastic cups instead of closed containers and didn't have them match the scents.  I did just one of each scent and we discussed whether it smelled good or bad and why.  Both kids disliked the smells of coffee, italian dressing, cinnamon and garlic.  The only one they liked was chocolate syrup. (I used things I had around the house that had strong smells).   

Mmmm, Chocolate smells good.

Vicki thinks coffee smells BLECH!

We discussed other smells and decided popcorn, chocolate, bubble bath, flowers ("smell good as a daisy") and books smell good.  According to George - "books smell a little good but bad if they are in the library" and "everything smells good at the grocery store where we buy apples, bananas, chocolate chip cookies and M&M's, then we come back home because that's all the stuff we need to buy."
Bad smells included coffee, garlic, skunk, Vicki's diapers and Daddy's feet.

Our next sense was hearing.   We read Sound All Around by Fay Robinson and some hearing pages from The Learning Page.   The kids decided that discussing hearing required music so George played the laundry basket drum while Vicki played her radio.

We did an experiment from Science Experiments for Young Learners but once again I had to improvise a little.  I couldn't find opaque containers to use so I ended up cutting some paper towel tubes in half, putting the objects inside and sealing the ends with paper and tape.  They didn't look pretty but they did the job.  Inside I put bells, rice, paper clips and cotton balls.  I made two of each sound and then the kids shook them to find which ones matched.   Vicki was much better at this then I expected.  After finding the matches, we played music with these new "instruments". 
Our next sense was Touch. I set up a Sensory Bin with objects of different textures in rice.  I had feathers, rocks, emery boards, pompoms, velcro dots, buttons and gave them spoons and funnels to explore with.    We  searched for items than classified them using a data sheet from Science Experiments for Young Learners by "something soft", "something scratchy", "something hard", "something fuzzy", "something smooth" and "something rough".  We decided that pompoms were soft and fuzzy, cotton balls were soft, velcro was scratchy, emery boards were scratchy and rough, the rocks and buttons were hard and smooth.  The feathers were classified as "soft but feathery" and the spoons as "swoopy, hard and smooth". 
As soon as the feathers were found Georgie gave up on the search and started blowing feather in the air.  Vicki loved the Sensory Bin and continued digging for "treasure" for over 30 minutes, until I took it away when she started throwing rice around the room.  I had never done a sensory bin before because it just seemed so messy (and something in me rebels against wasting all that food) but I'm glad I decided to start one.  I have found ideas for using it all over the internet and the kids both enjoyed it. 

Our last scent was Taste.  This was actually the hardest to come up with an activity since George is an EXTREMELY picky eater and never wants to try anything.  We read some pages from The Learning Page on taste and discussed what would taste sweet, sour, salty and bitter. 

We finished up with a review.  I put a bag of popcorn in the microwave then had the kids tell me when they knew what I was doing and how they knew.  The first thing they noticed was the smell (Daddy had bought the Super-Dooper Butter Flavor popcorn instead of the 94% fat free that Mommy usually gets so it had a way stronger smell than usual).  Then we could hear in popping.  Once it was done, we saw it in the bowl, touched is as we grabbed handfuls and then tasted it - YUMMY!  (My kids love popcorn.)

We did an activity from The Learning Page discussing what senses we would use the experience the following items:  an alarm clock, flowers, telephone, popcorn, television, doorbell, chocolate cake and sandpaper.   The kids both had a pretty good grasp of the senses and had a lot of fun with all our experiments.

To see what others are doing visit Preschool Corner & 5K too at Homeschool Creations.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Human Body - Systems

We are currently studying the Human Body.  This week we went through each of the body systems and next week we are going to cover the 5 Senses.

For each system we used a Science Encyclopedia, watched a Magic School Bus video and used a body systems activity from the Evan Moor Giant Science Resource Book.   I also recently downloaded the first few lessons of REAL Science Odyssey as part of their Try It Before You Buy It preview.  I printed out the description pages and read them to the kids.  I liked their descriptions better than the ones in our Science Encyclopedia since they were much easier for them to understand. 

We started the week by hanging and coloring the body from the GSR.

We read From Head to Toe by Eric Carle and played along with the story to get ready.  We started with the skeletal system.   We read The Skeleton Inside You and used a mirror to look at our ribs (at least the kids did, my ribs are not currently easy to see).  We felt along our arms and hands to feel the bones.  We tried to make a tent by using just pillows and blankets and then added support from chairs and tables, to show how the skeleton supports our softer body parts.  We added the skeleton from Giant Science Resource Book to our guy and colored it in.

The kids weren't awful about coloring together but there were a few fights. George has gotten very meticulous about his coloring lately and usually has a (very colorful) plan.  So I also let him color in a skeleton exactly how he wanted without his sisters help.

The other body systems we covered and activities we did were:
Muscular System - felt muscles in our arms as we moved it
Circulatory System - exercised and then felt our pulse in our neck
Respiratory System - breathed into a paper bag to show how lungs expand and contract
Digestive System - pulled a tape measure out to 15 feet to show how long the small intestine is and then folded it to show how it fits in the body.
Nervous System

For each one, we added and colored the body parts for our Giant Science Resource Book guy and he looked quite interesting by the end.

We finished up with a review of all the body systems using a game from the December 2009 Teachers Book Bag.   George glued the pictures in the correct categories. Vicki just made a collage with all the pictures.

Next week we'll be going over the 5 Senses.

To see what others are doing check out Preschool Corner & 5K too at Homeschool Creations.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Art - Part II - Lines, Artists

We continued with our Art unit without doing any actual art.  Neither of the kids was interested in sitting down to do arts and crafts but both were very interested in reading (the complete opposite of how it usually is).   So, we skipped the hands-on activities I had planned and did reading and discussion instead.

We read Harold and the Purple Crayon and pointed out all the different lines he used.  We named curvy, straight, wavy, horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.  We looked at People and Dog in the Sun by Miro and The Purple Robe by Matisse and read the appropriate sections in What Your Kindergartener Needs to Know.  

We discussed warm and cool colors by looking at Tahitian Landscape by Gauguin and Hunters in the Snow by Bruegel.  George had a little trouble with this concept but enjoyed making up stories about the paintings.  He thought it was cold in Tahitian Landscape because of the clouds in the sky but then decided the mountain was a volcano which was going to explode.

We did MEP Lesson 8 for our Math.  I used Unifix cubes to make number strips and discussed how many 2's in takes to make a 4, how many 3's to make 6, there's two 4's in 10 with 2 left over, etc.  After doing the Lesson, I just let George play with the blocks and he did some on his own including some subtraction  (if you have 10 and take away 2, you have 8).

To keep Vicki amused and mostly out of his hair I gave her some of the Unifix blocks that had numbers printed on them.  She would take one and match it up to the number lines we have posted then call out "Mommy is this a seven?"

We did some scissors practice using paint cards (I don't remember where I found this idea).  Georgie usually resists using scissors but he loved this.  He liked the idea of cutting on the white line in between the colors.  I did get him the Kumon Cutting book but he's been so resistant that I wanted to get him some general practice before giving him the book since I didn't want it to be a total waste. 

After lunch we took a walk and looked for signs of Spring.  It's a beautiful day in the 70's so absolutely perfect.   We saw lots of squirrels, which Vicki called "very pretty chipmunks" and heard lots of birds including mourning doves (about the only ones I can identify by sound), a woodpecker and something going "tweet-hoo".  Vicki loved stopping to listen every few feet to "hear the birdies".   We'll have to check with Grandpa Charlie (our family bird watcher) on what some of the most common birds are that we hear around here.   We had to take down our bird feeders last year because of the bears but hopefully we'll be able to set up something this year.  We saw a robin.....

some flowers just beginning to grow, and some crocuses already in bloom.

Vicki kept bringing me interesting things she found including an acorn cap, pretty rocks, sticks and leaves.  She was much more into the nature walk idea than Georgie.  He just wanted to "win the race" even though noone else was rushing.

By the time we got back home (we walked about 1/2 mile, part of it with Vicki riding piggy-back) we were ready for a rest.

Everything we read today:

To see other Preschool and 5K ideas, visit Preschool Corner {& 5K too} at Homeschool Creations.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Funny Moments

Daddy was taking Georgie and Vicki to the park today.  It was a beautiful, sunny day so he had some of the windows in the car down.  Vicki started saying something that Daddy couldn't understand so he asked her what she needed.  Georgie told Daddy "she's saying abajo which means down, she wants her window down".  So, Vicki is starting to speak Spanish and Georgie is translating.  Thank you Dora the Explorer.

Art Part I - Primary/Secondary Colors

We started our Art Unit by talking about Primary and Secondary Colors, and color mixing.   We read the stories A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni and Mouse Paint and discussed how red and blue make purple, red and yellow make orange, blue and yellow make green.  Then we did a dabber paint rainbow (from Making Learning Fun) using only the Red, Blue and Yellow dabbers.  The only bad thing about the page was there wasn't a arch for purple. 

Then we made pictures using only Red, Blue and Yellow paints.  Georgie painted..."a dancing alien.  That's why his foot is up, he's doing a dance with one foot up then the other.  Like a penguin.  He's a penguin alien."

We used color paddles I had from Oriental Trading to make different colors (red paddle and blue paddle make purple, etc.) and also to view different parts of the room and see how it looks.

We watched Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow which discusses how white light shines through a prism and is separated into all the colors.  It also shows how light will bend when it hits a mirror or reflective object and how objects are different colors because only that color is reflected for us to see.

We played with a prism trying to make rainbows on different parts of the walls and table.  It wasn't easy to shine it in a specific place since we were using the sunlight from a skylight but we were able to shine it so we could observe the rainbow.  We discussed how many colors we could see and what order they were in.  We discussed whether the order of the colors changed when we moved the prism around.   Georgie kept sticking his hands (and face) in the rainbow.

We finished up by doing a science experiment from Science Experiments for Young Learners about categorizing objects based on how much light shines through.  We looked at: a clear plastic cup, a light colored plastic cup, a dark plastic cup, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, waxed paper and tissue paper.  We held each item up to the light and decided whether it let through a lot of light (transparent), a little bit of light (translucent) or no light (opaque).  We then looked around the room to find other things for each category.  Transparent (windows, fish tank) and opaque (just about everything) were easy.  Translucent was harder.

I'm trying to make sure we do Math and Reading everyday.  I reviewed greater than and less than with Georgie by playing a slightly modified version of War.  We each had approximately half the deck of cards.  We'd each put one down and then he would choose which symbol would go between them =, < or >.  He did really well with this so we moved on to finishing up our MEP Lesson 7.  Instead of having him write on the worksheet I let him use stickers on a large piece of paper to do the assignment.  He had to put the correct number of stickers in circles to make the symbols true.  He did really well with this also. 

For Reading, I took some of the sentences from our current Progressive Phonics book and made a poster to hang on the wall.  We will be able to review these frequently throughout the day.  We also played our Short A sounds UNO that I downloaded from Kellys Kindergarten.

Our final activity for the day was Physical Education.  After 4 straight days of rain, we had a gorgeous sunny day so Daddy took the kids to the park.   I found the first crocuses popping through the mud.

To see more fun Preschool Ideas visit Preschool Corner at Homeschool Creations.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bugs/Insects - Day 3 - Butterflies, Caterpillars

We ended up finishing up our Bug Unit a few days late.  Our last topic was Caterpillars and Butterflies.  We started by watching The Magic School Bus The Butterfly and the Bog and doing an activity from the Magic School Bus Activity Guide.  We talked about how the coloring on butterflies protects them from predators and then colored our own butterfly with protective coloring.  

We painted some butterflies, made a pom pom caterpillar which we then added wings to and made it into a butterfly which we decorated with foam stickers.

The kids were still very excitable and distracted.  Georgie is going on vacation with Granny Franny next week and he's been counting down the days.  I didn't really push to do formal schoolwork since I have a ton of cleaning to do before they get here on Thursday.  I also just signed up for a body fat reduction Challenge at the YMCA so I'm trying to get back into the habit of going to work out everyday. 

I'm going to re-work our schedule for when Georgie is back.  Currently, math and reading are in the afternoon and we often don't get to them since the kids get tired or hyper.  I've rearranged things so that Math and Reading are done everyday in the morning (or at least early afternoon on our class days) and the Theme activities come after.  They are usually more excited about the Theme activities since there tends to be a lot more craft and creative stuff there.  The kids are still really young for us to worry too much about formal activities and schooling but I'm using this time to experiment with what works best so that when it is time to get serious, we know what to do.

Another Snow Day!

We didn't stick with our new plan for very long.  Thursday and Friday it was snowing pretty heavily and Daddy didn't go to work.  Even though we don't need to take Snow Days when homeschooling, with Daddy home the kids weren't too interested in doing too much school.  We did manage to do a few readings about ants, watch The Magic School Bus Gets Ants in Its Pants, Go Diego Go It's a Bug's World and color a Fact File from The Learning Page, but that was about it as far as our theme went.  So, we pulled out some games.....

I recently downloaded some learning games from Kelly's Kindergarten.  We played Cliffords Words, where you match the words on bones to a mat, and Word Uno.  Her files are Word documents which makes it very easy to customize them.  I changed the words she had on the Uno cards for the short A words we are working on. 

We had a lot of fun playing both games.   The rules were left behind pretty quickly for Uno.  I ended up removing the Wild and Draw 2 cards and Georgie just kept reading the words and putting cards down.  For a while we matched (like your supposed to), then he began just putting words down, then we started trying to find rhyming words.  Since he was reading the words and having a great time doing it, I didn't emphasize the rules.  

When we play Candyland, Chutes & Ladders and some of our more traditional games, we emphasize playing according to the rules much more than with the learning games.  We played Candyland for a while, using plastic bugs as game pieces to go along with our theme.

After Candyland ended, Vicki played one of her foam games - this time it was shapes.  She would jump on the shape I called out.  After a while, she just jumped from one shape to the next.

Then Daddy finally took them out in the snow to play.  We finally (after how many snow storms??) had some snow that was decent for building a snowman.  He ended up with tomato eyes and a celery nose (which disappeared within an hour of them all coming inside).

If it looks like the kids snow pants are huge, it's because they are.  They had so much fun in the first snow storm we had back in December that I broke down and bought snow pants, boots and gloves for both of them.  Since I didn't want it to be a total waste of money if we ended up not getting any more snow, I bought them big for both of them.  Of course, that ended up not being a worry at all.