Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Recap, Writing, and Interest-Led Learning

Doodlebug spent the weekend with my mom.  He had a good time, though he now understands why I used to come home exhausted whenever I'd visit my grandmother before she moved - he spent a fair bit of time in the kitchen cooking, doing laundry (she took him thrift store shopping and he bought some clothes for next summer), etc.

Boo spend the weekend recovering from her bike wreck.  She enjoyed not having anywhere to go, though she was - and is - still devastated that I had to reschedule a sleepover that was originally planned for Friday night.  She's not looking forward to answering all the questions everyone will inevitably ask all week.

I got my hair done and made applesauce and apple butter (note to others who have never made it - use the crock pot! The recipe in my Ball Blue Book didn't mention it takes 8-9 hours to simmer a batch down to the right consistency.  That would have been handy to know before I started cooking it at 3:30 p.m.).


The kids asked today if I had posted their reports.  I said I hadn't, and they wanted to know if I would.  So, without further fuss, here they are.  I'll post Doodlebug's first, then Boo's.  Age order.  Next time it'll be ladies first.

     Imagine that you are a carver in Olmec times. When you get up you have breakfast of maize tortillas and catfish. Then you go to the temple decorated with beautiful pottery to make a giant stone head in honor of a late ruler or ballplayer.
     Think back to breakfast. Those maize tortillas that you had were made from maize that was roasted and then ground into a paste and cooked.The catfish was caught in the local river. You might have clams or turtles for lunch. If you are very lucky you might be able to afford some crocodile for dinner, but that is mostly for the rich. The rich also drink an expensive drink called cacao, which is a bitter drink made from the cacao plant.
      Do you remember the pottery? If you looked closely, you would see that the pieces have holes in the back. You are not a potter so you don’t know much about making clay pots, but you know that the hole in the back means that the piece is hollow and the potter did not want the piece exploding during firing. Most of the pottery is human-shaped. Another common figure is a were-jaguar.
      Now you reach the head you are carving. It is called a Colossal Head, and it is made from the porous stone basalt imported to your city. It stands for a late ruler or ballplayer. You don’t know which; you’re just carving the stone head that the priests told you to build. Little do you know that about 2000 years later archaeologists will have found the stone head you carved, along with 16 others.
      Finally, you go to bed to do the same thing tomorrow until the head is finished. Soon you will have another project.

       Living in ancient Egypt was not very easy, but people tried to make their lives beautiful. They did did that by decorating their homes and wearing pretty clothes.
       Egyptian homes were not very complex. One family wrote a list of the furniture that was in their house. There were two beds, a tool chest, and a foot stool. Most homes had three rooms. They were the living room, the bedroom, and the work room. One home decoration was cups and jars. They were colored with bright patterns. All ancient Egyptian houses were built from mud bricks, even the pharaoh’s palaces.  The only building that wasn’t built from mud bricks were the pyramids.
       The royal ancient Egyptians wore transparent linen.  The Egyptian slaves were almost naked.  Women wore long tunics that came down to their knees. Men wore skirts as pants with belts. Young children often wore nothing.
       Egyptians liked pretty things. They really did make pretty pottery,  and they really did use limestone for jewelry.


Today we started our interest-led week.  We went to the library and picked up a crapton of books I'd requested for the kids on their specified subjects - Boo is studying jellyfish and Doodlebug is studying DNA/RNA/amino acids/chromosomes/genetics (he'll have to narrow that down, but for now he's just garnering information).  Then I let the kids read and take any notes they wanted to make and they searched on the Internet at the library for even more info because hello multiple computers so nobody has to wait for a turn before we came back home.  Boo is extremely excited about her project and can't wait to get started; Doodlebug was frustrated because he hadn't realized exactly how difficult and complex his topic was, but I think I got him to relax and enjoy himself when I pulled out the Zometools Biochemistry set and let him start building some of the proteins he'd been reading about.  He was really, really happy to build phosphate and SEE how the universe's elements work together in a chemical setting as part of biology.  It all started to click.  I'm curious to see what he'll do the rest of the week.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

1 comment:

Gillian said...

I love their reports, and that Biochemistry kit looks awesome!

When I took public speaking for my degree several years ago, I did a research project on jellyfish... still one of my favorite creatures!

Have fun with the interest-led learning!