Saturday, September 11, 2010

Projects

M1 has had several projects that he's undertaken over the past month of school.  Some of them, like his "Book of the Months," won't be finished for a while yet.  Some of them have been simple games, coloring pages, etc.  And some of them he puts straight on the fridge because he's so proud of them.


This is one of those.  We were studying the Byzantine Empire, and they touched on mosaics.  An art project suggestion provided in the history workbook was to make your own mosaic.  They suggested religious themes, but I told M1 he was welcome to use a science theme instead - whatever he would want to hang on the wall in HIS room.  So he took sheets of tissue paper and glue and spent over an hour creating this masterpiece.  It is an ant hill.  You can see his Beam of Joy and Pride grin here.  He was even more proud that he had taken the time to contemplate composition and making sure your eye would be drawn to the ant hill in the middle, which was something we had talked about in art a week or two prior.  I love this work of art, and more importantly, so does he.

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Science, obviously, is his main focus.  He's been working hard on learning about the planets.  He knows and could have easily told you more about the planets than most second graders before we even started, but he did learn some things and is quite happy to add to his font of knowledge.  (Random FYI, I found this site while writing this blog post and wanted to share because OMG awesomeness in the form of space dweeb-ology:  SolarSystem.NASA.gov)

Anyway, one of the projects that we did involved mapping.  Except that he wasn't allowed to see what he was mapping.  It was the equivalent of mapping the bottom of the ocean or, in our case, peering through gas clouds at the land on a planet.  The procedure was quite simple.  Poke 12 holes in an egg carton, one over each cup.  Have a chopstick on hand.  For the next step, I was supposed to use checkers, but I don't have a normal-sized checker set (just a giant one on a mat), so I substituted Scrabble tiles.  Then I put 0, 2, 4, and 6 in adjacent egg cups.  Then M1 and I created our control stick by putting the stick into each cup and marking the height - 0 being the lowest land point and 3 being the highest.

Control stick!
While the control stick was being brandished wildly by the boy at imaginary miniature enemies, I removed the carton from sight and randomly placed amounts of Scrabble tiles into each egg cup.  These stacks of tiles became hills and mountains.


M1 then measured each height and marked it on a chart.  Once he had all his heights, we created a 'map' of the surface of the interior of our egg carton.  Finally, he got to open up the carton and see how well he did.  He *really* enjoyed this project!

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Finally... the vegetarianism.  We did break the news to Oz at the barbecue restaurant.  M1 ordered a chicken tortilla wrap, which is as close as you can get to vegetarian at a place that pays great homage to meat and meat alone in a state built on ranches and farms.

Today, Day One, was a surprising success.  He and M2 woke up before Oz and I and got themselves breakfasts of cereal and milk, and M1 got M2 a glass of juice as well.  Surprisingly, even though it was a new gallon of milk, half of it didn't wind up on the floor!  When I said it was time for lunch and opened the fridge, M1 took one look at the leftover brats and lasagna and headed for his bag of vegetarian lunches that I had bought and set aside for him.  He wound up passing on those but cooked himself a butternut squash ravioli frozen lunch instead. 

Honestly, I thought dinner would be his downfall.  We were having pizza.  There were 12 pizzas available, all sorts and kinds, including cheese.  But when Oz asked him what kind of pizza he wanted, he asked for one slice of cheese and one slice of supreme.  I grinned at Oz.  M1 solemnly took his plate, sat down, and promptly picked all the meat (he could see) off of the slice of supreme.  Then he ate the "veggie" slice.

M2 ate his discarded meat bits with relish.  I don't think I'll ever have to worry about her being a vegetarian.  Then again, I didn't ever think I'd be doing this with M1, either!

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