Sunday, May 12, 2013

Studying Wind

We read Gail Gibbons book Catch the Wind! for science. (As of the time of this post, I am not an affiliate of Amazon, I'm just including the site for book reference.) The book is all about kites. My kids loved it. They each took turns pointing out different things about the different kites on each page. I was impressed that Miss E actually let her brother point things out. They both started thinking about how they were going to decorate their kites when we made them.

To start off our study of wind, I did a little experiment with the kids. What I wanted them to understand is that wind is just the movement of air. We took a Coke bottle and put a balloon on the top. 
I put a little bit of water in a skillet and warmed it up. 
I then put the bottle in the hot water and we watched the balloon expand. Pretty much like magic in the eyes of my kids!

We also made wind socks. We used a small paper sack, some crayons and colored pencils, crape paper, yarn, and tape. The kids decorated their sacks. Then they tapes pieces of crape paper around the opening. I punched a hole in the bottom of the bag and attached the yarn. We then took our wind socks outside.

Our front patio is pretty protected from the wind. The kids did see that a slight breeze did move their wind sock as they held it but there was nothing too exciting.

 I was not going to let the kids go outside our gate because they were in their jammers (and I didn't want the neighborhood kids to think we had a ton of time to play). However, I knew that the wind was blowing and I knew that the kids would see it better if we were not in our protected front yard. So, out we went. There was a pretty good gust of wind that make their wind socks take flight. They started to run around like they were trying to make a kite take off. I later learned that I was supposed to cut off the bottom of the sack. Oh well, the kids had tons of fun anyway.

Of course when you read a book about kites you have to make a kite!! Using the directions in the back of our book, we made a Flat Kite. This is what we did.

I had some large packing type paper and had the kids paint their kites. I do believe Miss E ended up helping Little Man with his at the end.

Miss E's
Do you see Fox In Sox??
Little Man's 

After the kites dried we worked on making the frame for the kite. I just used small dowel rods, kite string and glue. I quickly learned that I'm really not the DIY type person. If it wasn't for the help of Daddy, I don't think we ever would have finished the kites.

The finished kites...

We headed off to the park. I just said that I'm not a DIYer and I had no faith in our kites, so on the way to the park we stopped at the Dollar Tree to buy a kite. I had to have a plan b. When we arrived at the park we were in for a surprise. First it was the hottest day of the year and second there was absolutely no wind or breeze or anything when we first got there. I didn't think we were going to get our kites to fly at all.

The kids kept asking when they would be able to fly their kites and I kept telling them we had to have wind. Finally the wind kicked up and we took our first kite a test drive.

We did get it in the air for a couple of seconds and then it started to fall apart. We then pulled out the kite I bought and it didn't fair any better. We'll have to try flying kites again some other day.

My good friend, Allison over at Train Up A Child did a great tutorial on making kites, check it out!

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Literature Fun with Author Jan Brett

With our umbrella school, we did a literature unit on The Mitten by Jan Brett. For several weeks we read books by Jan Brett along with doing some fun activities. Jan Brett has a really neat website with a ton of activities that go with her books. Check it out!!

I also found a wonderful literacy packet for several of Jan Brett's books at Most worksheets were purchased from Sarah Paul's store at TeachersNotebook.

The Mitten

Lapbooks are very popular with some people. I have thought about making one with Miss E on several occasions and have never really followed through. Here is our first lapbook. We did a sequencing activity involving the different animals found in the story. I found a great printable here. I had Miss E color the animals. She chose to go with more of their 'natural colors' instead of making everything rainbow. Then every time we read the story, which was several, she would put the animals in the mitten in the order of the story. The mitten on the front of our lapbook was decorated as she wanted it to be.

One of my favorite websites for finding project ideas is homeschoolshare.
I did not use their entire lapbook, but they have great resource for putting together a lapbook for The Mitten. You can find it here. We only used the animal description matchbook activity. Miss E had fun matching up the different animals with the different descriptions.

We did two 'literature' activities with The Mitten involving worksheets, Read & Sequence and Cause & Effect.

For the read and sequence worksheet we just cut out the prompts and pasted them in the correct order of the story. I made two copies of the worksheet. One we cut up and the other we pasted on. If I was to use this as a sample for my umbrella school, I have a full sheet of paper and not a half sheet. Not that it really matters.

We talked about about the 'cause' and then I had her tell me what the effect was; what happened next. After she gave me her answer I had Miss E fill in the answer. I helped her with spelling, but she did all the writing. I get really excited watching how much she has grown. She does not like to write and our core curriculum has very little writing. She however did enjoy this activity.

Berlioz the Bear
I found the following worksheet on Jan Brett's website here that I had the kids color before we read the story. After reading the story I found this video.

The Hat
All activities for The Hat came from here.

We did a similar activity involving Cause & Effect like we did with The Mitten. We talked about about the 'cause' and then I had her tell me what the effect was; what happened next. After she gave me her answer I had Miss E fill in the answer. I helped her with spelling, but she did all the writing.

I had Miss E decorate a hat, you almost have to with a book like this one. After she decorated her hat, we talked about the word 'ridiculous', what it meant and other words we could use that mean about the same thing. We also looked at the picture at the end of the book and talked about what the different animals were wearing. She filled in the blanks to the following sentence: The ________ looked ________ in the ____________. She then drew a picture to go with her sentence.

The pony looked silly in the pants.

Annie and the Wild Animals
I found a recipe for Annie's Corn Cakes, here. So, we made some...
When I usually cook with my kids I usually have them in the kitchen with all sorts of ingredients scattered everywhere. It usually means that we make a huge mess, someone ends up in tears because they didn't get to add the ingredient they wanted to, and it is just plain crazy. I decided that this time I would get all the ingredients measured out for them in these little bowls, they would see exactly how many ingredients we needed and they could take turns. It turned out to be a great experience for everyone. However, when my husband got home and saw all the dishes in the kitchen he asked what we did. He was not overly excited about washing all the little cups. Oh well, I won one battle and just laughed at the second one.

We started by adding all the dry ingredients in no particular order to the large bowl. The kids took turns in both adding and stirring.

 They then added the wet ingredients. Stirring became a little bit harder. Team work was awesome!

I decided that little muffin cakes would be better than a huge cake of corn bread.

 Done!! They were good. Not as sweet as I prefer but good none the less. I made my grandpoppies sweet butter to go with them. Little Man loved them. Miss E ate about half of hers and left the rest.

After reading several of Jan Brett's books. I asked Miss E which one was her favorite, she really liked Hedgie's Surprise.

Thanks for reading about the fun we had with author Jan Brett.

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