Thursday, 13 November 2014

Learning about the muscular system

We are continuing our studies of the human body going over every system.  We finished up learning about the skeletal system and the joints and have spent a week or two reviewing the muscular system.  I am doing my own curriculum finding resources on the internet and at the library to try to make our unit studies interesting.

First we watched this video:

We are loving the crash course biology lessons, very thorough.

I am requiring the kids to remember 12 of the largest muscle groups and we did a work sheet.  We continue to review the skeletal bones, joints, movements and now muscles briefly every day.

We have talked about how the muscles work and did a simple experiment that I found on the internet

Recreating the arm joint using popsicle sticks and rubber bands help to demonstrate the contraction and extension of the opposing muscles groups.

We then decide to dissect a chicken wing to take a closer look at muscles, tendons, ligaments as well as reviewing bones, and joints.

There are many videos or slide shows on the web demonstrating how to dissect a chicken wing...this is the one we used

First we examine how a chicken wing moved and decided we had the left wing

I removed the skin (and have decided I need to buy a dissecting kit as a kitchen knife is just not adequate for this type of job)  I didn't allow the children to do this part for fear of them cutting themselves as my knives are not very sharp

Removing the skin was harder than it looks but we examined that the skin is called fascia which is a fibrous tissue we saw a great example here

Next we look at the muscle and tendons and several times moved the wing where we could clearly see muscle contraction 

and muscle stretching

We observed and located several tendons 

located a muscle group and was able to show the children  that if I pulled the muscle the wing flexed

Looked at joints and examined the difference between bone and cartilage found at the top of  the bone and discussed the purpose.

Examined the difference between fat and muscle, tendons and ligaments.

Identified ligaments

MarioFan is a little squeamish about handling the raw meat due to sensory issue but with encouragement  tried it for a few seconds.

This wraps up our unit on muscles and we will move on to the Nervous system:)

Monday, 10 November 2014

Making Posters for History lessons

This year for History we are studying the making of America.  Again I create my our curriculum finding books, living history books, DVD resources, field trips and other activities to make history fun and exciting for the children.

Currently we are enjoying HipHughes history series and have watched many of them to introduce a topic.  I added one to show it to you in case you haven't heard of this series.

One of the things we have done this year is create posters to hang in our school room to reinforce what we have read and learned to review back to when needed.  The kids and I decided what needs to be added, remembered and create posters.

Here we created a poster on how each of the original 13 colonies came to be 

I saw a similar picture of this on the internet that we copied to show the  events leading up to  American Independence

We took a look at the Articles of Confederation and wrote the  Pros and cons of the document

We just finished watching a series of videos from HipHuges on the constitution and  came up with a poster to describe the checks and balanced of the first three articles as well as the responsibilities of each office.

Next the children and I are working on a poster to help us remember the Bill of Rights.  I am finding that the children are referring back to the posters regularly to aid in their learning and it helps them to retain information better then in doing just worksheets.  Every evening we discuss our knowledge with Dad.

Some other things we have done to learn more about this period:
Toured Mount Vernon this past August
Watched the series John Adams
Toured a Frontier home (Thornton) from this period
Read books about George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson
Write note booking pages on the first three presidents
Took a Minecraft class on the American revolution here 
We have a trip to Philadelphia scheduled in Nov to visit many of the sites where all of this history took place.  We are very much looking forward to it.

While it times a lot of work to create my own curriculum, I enjoy it as I am learning or relearning things that I had forgotten.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Target shooting at the range

We now own a rifle!  To say that I am surprised by that is an understatement.  I am THAT Mom who has never allowed the children to play with guns.  We own not a single toy gun of any type and my kids are almost teenagers.  Bows and arrows or swords are fine but not guns!   But recently my husband has been saying how much he would like us to ride a motorcycle or maybe own a gun for target shooting.  I had a quick decision to make as I also hate motorcycles (as in my past life I was an Occupational Therapist and have seen what people look like after a motor cycle accident) and I wasn't about to agree to riding on the back of one! So we went gun shopping instead.  Of course we went shopping to just look and that same day came home with a 22 rifle!  My husband was even shocked at that.  To say purchasing a gun takes almost as long as purchasing a car is not much of a stretch.  We were there a LONG time, so long that I wondered off to explored the store and found a lovely outdoor rocking chair to sit in until my husband called to say we were almost done...but really not!  I think he just wanted someone to talk to while we waited for all the paper work to be processed.  Several hours later we walked out of the store with our new gun and ammunition.  My husband was excited whereas I was a little apprehensive.  The store informed us that there was a shooting range only 15 minutes away from where we lived.  

My husband has shot some guns before, whereas I have never shot a fire arm other than at boy scouts camp and that was a BB gun.

Our first day at the range and I laughed at seeing our little car next to all the big trucks.  I think this says we are out of place here:)

Shooting range is outdoors and very nice.  We were given a quick instruction of how to be safe on the range .
see our tiny gun at rack 17 and then compare it to the monsters guns to the left.  We  felt a little inadequate with our gun purchase 

This was the set up for the guy shooting next to us....oh and it was loud too.  The stores said we could get by with simple ear plugs, but no way, I flinched and jump every time this gun went off.  The next time we went to the range we came better prepared with proper ear protection.
Since this was the first time either of us have shot this gun so we only worked at the 25 yard as we needed to sight our scope. To say we had no idea what we were doing is a understatement.  We quickly removed the scope and just used the iron sights  and actually we both did very good:)  We have since gotten advice and fixed our scope so it is more accurate, and can shoot at the 50 yard line.  Each time we are moving further away:)

Husband shooting 
My turn
I kept each of our first bullet casing as well as target page--I will save anything:) 

My husband is pointing to my target, yep I whooped him on the range:)  beginners luck :)

Getting home and showing the kids how to clean the gun and discussing the family rules and responsibilities of gun ownership.
We intend to take the children target shooting eventually but I first want to find some programs for children on gun safety and shooting.  We have heard of several programs in the area and are investigating our options.  For now my husband and I are enjoying the 2 hours  each week where we go alone to the target range and practice without the kids tagging along.  I will even admit I enjoy it:)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Halloween cooking

The kids have always enjoyed having a small Halloween party where they plan on cooking lots of spooky but yummy Halloween treats.  We missed this last year as we moved and didn't know anyone to invite but this year we had a few folks we have met and again resume our Halloween tradition.  The kids spent several days hunting thru cookbooks and magazines looking for special recipes that they could create and serve at their party.

My Mom sent the kids a Brain Jello mold several years ago and it is a favorite to bring out and make brain jello
We added some plastic bugs to the jello

Both kids took turns turning chocolate covered pretzels into skeleton or ghost faces depending how you see it.
Kids added M&M's for eyes and placed a cranberry in the mouth.

They made red velvet cupcakes
We found some candy knives at the store and added a bit of red frosting with a knife  at the center

Next they created bugcookies 
We found some candy eyes we could add to the face

My mother sent the kids a pumpkin mold and we made rice krispy pumpkins
and decorated them

We made a fabulous cheese dip
Definitely saving this recipe for use on other occasions it was tasty:)
I made a sloppy Joe Jack o' lantern pie
We made a lovely green slime punch that tasted very good

Our decorated table waiting for our guests to arrive
The kids decorated some pumpkins for the party--I have had these  funny face pieces for years and the kids still enjoy using them:)

We had a fun get together, although a few invitees ended up sick and couldn't make it :(  But don't worry the family manage to devour the left overs over the weekend.