Plant Study - Collage

We have been sick, a nasty bug zapped all our energy. 
With 40 degree temperatures outside we decided to crank up the airconditioner (not looking forward to the next bill) and camp in the lounge room.
We had to postpone our plant study presentation for friends, but we managed to make this collage before we fell ill.
I used anything I could find...paper plate, old streamers, rope, old book paper, blu tack(for water) and masking tape.
The boys liked seeing themselves as miniatures on the blackboard.
 While we were sick our little seed sprouted in the test tube - amazing!

Plant Study - Day 4 Photosynthesis

 Today we started with what we had for breakfast - cereal, a plant!
 I asked " why do we eat cereal for breakfast" and luckily the boys replied "because we need food for energy". Hooray!
Energy is important for life and the sun gives us energy in heat and light.
We talked about how the leaves take in the sun energy along with water from the roots and carbon dioxide in the air and convert it to sugar energy to use for growth. While this is happening oxygen is pumped out those factory smokestacks in the leaves (stomata).
We went over photosynthesis in a few different ways, using different words and I introduced respiration and the carbon cycle to J. 
The simplest way I could explain the process worked ok, we had some worksheets/questions to answer and it all seemed to sink in.
I talk in both simple terminology (for H) and try to use correct jargon for J, rather than do two separate lessons. 
These lessons are not long, maybe 20mins to go through a topic. I figure H will take in as much as he can and will get the rest in a few years.
After the lesson and worksheets (separate level for each) we did a mosaic pumpkin with seeds and lentils.

 It was an appropriate 40 degree day in Perth, perfect example of the power of the sun!

Now we will look at making a display and giving a little talk on the subject to friends.

Australia Day 2012

Plant Study - Day 3 Review

 I decided to use today as a review day.
We went to the library to find some books on what we had been learning so far and we spent time brainstorming and writing poems to help reinforce some of the new ideas.
J gave us a little presentation on the board (which confirmed what was in his knowledge bank).

At the end of the day we did some more art.

Pumpkin Watercolour Still Life

I couldn't resist joining in the watercolour activity, at first I thought it would be quick session, but as it turned out I had trouble getting the right pumpkin colour.

Plant Study - Day 2

 I thought it best we start the week by having an in depth look at what a pumpkin is exactly (well enough info for a 4 and 8 yr old).
I don't think about the pumpkin being a fruit because it is called a vegetable. Our first exercise to learn how a pumpkin grows from a seed-sprout-plant-flower-fruit.

We then discussed plant parts, some of these we eat every day (ie peas are seeds, carrots are roots, celery is a stem) and then their roles.

 (from the school zone activity books)

Things we did -
-Estimated how many seeds are in a pumpkin and then counted in groups of ten to reach 463.
-Asked why are plants important? why do we need them?
-Planted seeds and discussed what a seed needs to grow, what would happen if we put one in the dark cupboard?
- I dipped paper towel into water to show how nutrients travel up the stem
-We pretended to be a seed on the floor breaking through the coat and turning into a plant with flowers and fruit.
-We discussed the partnership between plants and animals.

 We finished the day with a reading of the parable of the sower...

[I like to explain scientific things a little differently to the boys because of their age...
I described an imaginary world of miniature workers in each of the parts of the plant to help explain what is going on inside, ie. in the roots there are workers with little buckets of water and nutrients sending them up to the stem, and even H suggested the stem was an elevator (going up, first floor leaves!).
In the leaves we have a factory, complete with chimneys for waste products such as oxygen. There are little workers with sunglasses taking golden nuggets of light energy from the sun that slide in through tunnels in the leaf. Others with gas masks taking Carbon dioxide balloons to the mixing tank. Of course there are pipes and hoses coming up from the roots/stem/leaf to add water and nutrients controlled by mini firefighters! etc etc ,I add as I go, I wish I could illustrate what I see!]

We touched briefly on the idea of Photosynthesis and cycles without getting caught up in the big words...that comes tomorrow!

Our Study of Plants - Day 1

To begin our week long study on plants,I decided to begin with a pumpkin.
Over the week I will cover maths, science, literature, social studies, art, history, and health, but we start with some art...

We begin simply by looking at it, measuring it, weighing it and using our five senses to describe it. 
After some pencil sketching, we study the colours and how we can use a blue/purple background to highlight the orange pumpkin.
We look at Van Gogh paintings and how he sometimes used short strokes. 
Oil pastels were used from light to dark, then blended and we tried to add movement by altering the direction of our pastel.

Vincent van Gogh's Sower, The Painting
The Sower by Van Gogh.

Typing and Handwriting

 We are extremely new to the world of "Apps", but are embracing some of these new technologies to add variety to our learning day.
Handwriting is fun with "English cursive letter practice" and "I write words".
 At night we have been going outside and using the "Go sky watch" to view stars and planets (cool) and I think the "Show me" whiteboard app will be very handy for presentations.
We do like the new "Reading Eggs" for 7 yrs up, lots of fun there.
The boys are also using the BBC Dance mat typing lessons and they are lots of fun...

There are probably so many great games and apps for education that we yet to discover, but we look forward to discovering more.

Art with H - Colour and Emotions

 Today we spent a little time looking at colours and how they can compliment each other and express emotion in art.
The above is a quick paper plate colour wheel, but if you have more time a collage like this would be good.
After a look at some Van Gogh (a favourite of mine yes) paintings displaying a variety of emotions (such as sadness, joy, rage etc etc) we discussed what emotions we felt the colours suggested on our colour wheel and what we would use for anger, calmness, fear if we were going to do a painting.
I then asked H how he would draw a face to show different emotions...
 Fairly straight forward.
 I asked him to look at how my face changes for this one and I think he got it just right.

This is funny, the wrinkles on the forehead!
You could then go on and colour the faces based on the emotion/colour match discussion.
Drawings by H (4)