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There’s No Place Like Space

We’ve spent the day having a fantastic time with friends at a soft play centre. Definitely got our money’s worth with over 4 hours racing up obstacles to zoom down slides.

Sadly this led to sleeping in the car on the way home, and children who are up far too late – how dare they?!!!

We are meant to be bringing our project on Oceans to our Home Ed group tomorrow. E has done hers, not sure it will make much sense when she tries to explain it to others, but she’s done lots of work thinking about it!

H has refused point blank to even think about it. We had a group trip to Weston Super Mare’s SeaQuarium on Monday in order to spark some inspiration. We learned loads about rays:

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Mermaid’s Purses

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Up close and personal with Mermaid’s Purse (Ray Egg)

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Newly arrived (at SeaQuarium) baby rays – 1 yr old approx.

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Adult Ray (thornback?) – approx 10yrs old

and saw lots of other creatures that sparked lots of questions, including a pile of sharks who were not waking up for anyone!

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Pile of sharks

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Fascinating close-up of sleeping shark’s teeth!

H decided last night that her project was going to be on rays, so we looked at google images of them. She was amazed at the different shapes, sizes and patterns of them.

Earlier in the day, we were at our weekly Home Ed social meet, playing with playdough, when H announced that she wanted to make all the planets out of playdough. She carried on thinking about what colour she would have to make to create Saturn, and then how she was going to make the rings.

Today, after our exertions, I was hoping for an easy night. No such luck! She chose a current favourite to read at bedtime: Dr Seuss’ ‘There’s no place like space!’. Every page provoked more questions, and I could see an easy bedtime slipping away! She decided that the planets needed to be renamed after their characteristics. The Earth is now ‘Spinny’, Mars is ‘Sneezy’ because of the dust etc. She understood that the ring on Saturn was made up of rocks and ice, and that you could stand on it, but not on Saturn itself (it’s made of gas, and light enough to float on water), but she wanted to know if you could pick up the ring and throw it. I explained briefly about centripetal forces (compared it to Roald Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile being spun round and round in a circle until it became a blur), and that it wasn’t a solid thing.

We then moved onto the sun being a star, and had to run to the window to see if we could see any stars. L grasping the fact that the tiny stars were big hot suns, just very far away. He thought this was quite funny!

We talked about the moon, and H was eager to know why people used to say it was made of cheese! I had no idea?!

We talked about rockets, and how we know so much about the moon because we are close to it and have been able to land there and learn more about it. Whereas Pluto, in the book, is described as being ‘thought to be covered in ice’. H wanted to know why we didn’t know for sure.

I then escaped, hoping her barrage of questions would lead to deep sleep. Nope. She followed me down, after I’d just had a lightbulb moment.

Maybe there was a way to link the Ocean’s project we need to contribute to tomorrow, and satiate this fascination with space and the solar system. The moon. Ocean tides. Google led us here and it did good:

She watched it. Fascinated. Then I had to explain what a pickled onion was! She then decided to use google to find out more about the sea. She looked at some images of odd sea creatures, until she got grossed out. Then found a video of fishermen at sea, being bashed about by the waves. She asked about floods, and the big floods. I asked if she meant Tsunamis. Turned out she did! She started telling me all about a CBBC programme where they set up a demo of what damage a Tsunami could do, involving a bag of water held by a crane over a shed. The water dropped, the shed was smashed to smithereens. H explained it much better! We talked about Earthquakes, plates rubbing and how these led to Tsunamis.

We then watched the lunar tide video again!

I need sleep, got to be up early to find a chocolate cookie, a smartie, a piece of blue string, an orange and a golf ball before 10am!

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Zip it!

I’m trying a new method of organising myself and making the most of E’s random questions.  Most of the time when we’re out and about, she’ll ask something out of the blue (today’s was ‘how do zips work?’), and usually I don’t know the answer, and am somewhere with no way of answering.  I also have a habit of completely forgetting about her questions by the time I get home, and so does she.

To try and combat this, I have purchased myself a notepad and pen to keep in my bag at all times.  This has mostly been used for noting down things the girls decide they want on their christmas/birthday lists (because I refuse to buy them!), but gradually its filling with useful questions.  The main flaw comes when they ask something when I’m driving…!

So far we have had:

  • what does shark’s skin feel like? (as we watched a reef shark swim over our heads at the aquarium on Tuesday)
  • what does dinosaur skin feel like? (and the pretend skin in our local city museum doesn’t count, says E)
  • what are shark’s teeth like?
  • how do zip’s work? (as E sat in the car zipping and unzipping a pocket on her trousers)
  • what bones are in our wrists and what do they look like?

I’m slowly cultivating a shelf of useful books to refer to when we get home in order to answer these questions!  Internet searches are useful to me, but generally don’t have enough pictures to keep E happy!  The shark questions were easily answered by fishing out this funky little book on sharks we picked up for 5p at a car boot sale a couple of months ago.  Apparently shark skin has the texture of sandpaper, and was used as such in the past.  Many species of shark have several rows of teeth, and regularly shed teeth as they feed, apparently.

The zip question was laid to rest after a delve into my ancient edition of The Way Things Work which I begged my parents to get me when I was about 10 and we’d used it at school.  Its finally coming into its own 😉   E has now explained to B how zips work, and I apologise to anyone else who puts up with E’s zip demonstrations!

Still to work on wrist bones and dinosaur skin!

I’ve also been on a spending spree on Amazon, after getting a dose of inspiration – its catching this time of year, don’t you think?!!  Here are my new library additions:

I am now in love with Amazon Marketplace!  Unfortunately I paid more in postage than I did for the books!  I’ve also downloaded the nectar.com toolbar, so I am collecting nectar points for every yahoo search I make online.  All going towards my Amazon habit…!

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2010 in Home Education, Literacy, Maths

 

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