Friday, 25 March 2016

weekly wrap up 3/25/16 -- high school biology

FireDrake has been steadily working on her Biology text, we are using EO Wilson free iBooks.  My husband has really been the force behind this and is doing an amazing teaching job with Firedrake.  Such as providing Firedrake with the homework questions and the exams.  I have been more responsible in helping Firedrake complete the experiments in the book but we are finding some of them to be very long, tedious (many take several days to complete) and have very mixed results.  So as I have done in the past with Science I am starting to research on the web and find other experiments that relate to the topic and do them instead.   We will occasionally use the books experiments but will be expanding outside the book as necessary.  Some may disagree with me or think the things I choose are too simple, but I think the point of science is to be fun and get kids to think and retain information.  My daughter is not a huge science fan her brain prefers more creative pursuits so I need to find a balance to keep her engaged:)!

Firedrake worked on making a poster to help her remember the mitosis process

Next we did the Oreo cookie mitosis project which I found on the web and completed the worksheets.  We used cake pens and sprinkles to represent various stages.    we added this to her biology lab notebook and the best part was eating them when she was done:)

I thought I would show you how we are keeping track of Firedrake's labs for high school biology since that is a requirement for us. All her labs are documented with the results.

It is a suggested recommendation that we keep a lab book and document all science lab for high school credit

Here we put pictures of Firedrake completed the experiments along with written notes

At the end of many lab we have her answer additional questions regarding the labs and the results. 

So far this process seems to be working out for us.  Some lab only require a single page or two for notes and questions others are much longer but everything can be found inside this notebook.  We plan to use it for both Biology level I and II.

At coop a parent brought in their pet parrot for the kids to see.  It was a well behaved bird and sang lots of songs for the kids:)
My husband surprised me with a trip to San Antonio where I will be meeting up with an old friend for 4 whole days!  He will be staying home with the kids.  So I will have wonderful pictures of all the places I go to to show you next week!    My friend and I chose San Antonio as we both love history and neither have been there so we will be doing lots of adult field trips to Spanish missions in the areas.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Weekly wrap up 3/18/16--meeting an bridge engineer

MarioFan has been learning all about movable bridges this week.  Draw bridges, swivel bridges and bascule bridges.  We have been finding some very interesting movable bridges on you tube to watch.  Then we set out to create a few movable bridges of our own:)

MarioFan got out his K'nex kit and built a draw bridge

IN our travels we have seen many of these types of bridges

A successful build:)

Next we saw a simple way to contract a swivel bridge in our bridge book and decided to give it a try 

We use a box and an old plastic tub to construct.

And of course after assembling we had to test our bridge and play for a few minutes. 

This week we met a Bridge engineer at a local historical bridge and MarioFan got to see and ask lots of questions. This bridge was build in the late 1800's and moved to this site and it stands between two other bridges that we also got to look up close to.
A fellow homeschooling friend of MarioFan came with us and learned about Bridges too. 

MarioFan was thrilled to see in the water a bridge caisson that we learned about a few weeks ago

Jeff Boyster was wonderful with the children and answer lots of questions and pointed out lots of various components of bridges. 

 Not far from these bridges we were told there was a old Covered bridge that we could go see.

There was an great information board there that gave a lot of details about covered bridges.  I didn't realized there are 4 covered bridges still in the state of MO.  

While there we saw a wedding in progress:) 

Once the wedding party left we were able to get up close to explore and examine the bridge.

this bridge is a Howe Truss Cover bridge which was the most common built

oops hiding from the wedding photographer:)

and of course you must examine the stream

and throw a couple of stones:)

It was beautiful and we learned quite a bit.  I had no idea there was so much history to covered bridges.

Near these bridges was a famous restaurant called the Blue Owl, it has been on the travel channel, food network and listed as Oprah's 100 best:)  We had lunch and thought all the praise on this establishment was well earned:)

Next up Mario Fan will be learning about Bridge erosion and that will conclude our study on Bridges.  We will be preparing for the Project fair coming up in less than a month and putting together everything we have done to learn about the bridge engineering.

Friday, 11 March 2016

weekly wrap up 3-11-16

The last two weeks the weather has been crazy, we have gone from beautiful sunny days to cold snowy days and everything in between.

It was so beautiful two weeks ago the kids were dressed in shorts when we went to the park for a nature walk

That night we had a massive hail storm

with pretty good size hail

Just a few days later we had 5 inches of snow fall, the largest snow fall in our area for the year.  Of course my husband was out of town so it was up to us to shovel it all.

Kids getting their exercise in

and collapsing from exhaustion after all the snow shoveling:) 

Then the weather went back to being in the high 60's and we had another gorgeous weekend.  It has been a crazy ride weather wise around here!

FireDrake went to a dance held by our Homeschool group!  I chaperoned and assisted with the refreshment table for the evening.  

She had fun meeting up with all her friends and even got on the dance floor a few times!
I spoke to someone at coop who mention that the city park has lots small examples of different types of bridges that we could examine up close so on one of the nicer days we grab our bikes and headed downtown on a bridge scavenger hike and found all the ones we have been studying over the last few weeks!
arch bridge 

beam bridge 

suspension bridge 

  This truss bridge was built in 1885 and was one of the first bridge built in the park:)

Next we will be learning a little about moving bridges and then wrapping up our Bridge unit as we prepare for the project fair at the coop.

I haven't mentioned in a while our history lessons.  I create my own history program and as we have finished up talking about the Industrial revolution and the Gilded age in the cities we have gone back in time to discuss how the west was lost to the Indians.
I have gathered up many books on some of the famous Indians of that period that resisted being forced onto reservations and we have been reading many.  We are also watching documentaries and movies that address this time period.

At the start of our unit, MarioFan built an Indian teepee from a kit I found at a local store

MarioFan looked online to find some simple Indian teepee designs to recreate on his teepee

The finished project:)

If you are interested some of the documentaries and movies we are watching on this topic include
How the west was lost by Peter Kater
The West by Ken Burns
Geronimo: An American Legend
Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee
The last of his tribe (the story of Ishi)

If you know of any other great movie for this time period feel free to let me know:)!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Weekly Wrap UP--Truss bridges 3/4/16

MarioFan and I are continuing to explore and build the many different types of bridges found around the world.  So far we have looked at beam, arch, and suspension bridges. This week we are looking at Truss Bridges and understanding which shapes are stronger and why.

A simple experiment is to use popsicle sticks and binder clips, and make a square and triangle.  I then ask MarioFan which shape was the sturdiest.  While MarioFan was able to (without removing the clips) change the square into a diamond shape easily he was unable to change the shape of the triangle.  This happens because of  what engineers call the degrees of freedom.  The square truss has one degree of Freedom, which means it can move or rotate in one direction, the only way to stop this is to have very, very strong joints.  The triangle on the other hand has zero degrees of freedom, which means the joints can not rotate even when held with simpler joints.  We discuss why engineers would want to use which shape and how it effects building and weight of bridges.
Next we got to work building several different types of truss bridges using various supplies.
First we built a bridge using toothpicks and marshmallows

We used graham crackers for the road.  We tried to place a toy car on the bridge but it wouldn't support it.  Then MarioFan ate it:) always the fun part of any school project

Next we got to work on making a popsicle truss bridge --

There are many patterns that can be found on the web, some very complicated and others very simple.  We came up with our own patterns after looking at many many patterns

He enjoyed driving his Mario car over the bridge.   This bridge did much better supporting the toy car 

Next we got out our bridge modeling kit and built another Truss bridge 

and added it to our bridgemodel stand

Then we got out our K'nex kit MarioFan decided to build a K-truss bridge after looking at the many different types of Truss bridges.  

First we built the beam bridge and tested its strength.  He noticed how easily it bent in the middle

We added the Truss beams 

and tried to bend the middle and this time it didn't budge.

Can you see the K's in the beams

Lastly we decided to turn our popsicle truss bridge into a covered bridge after looking at some truss bridges on the web.

MarioFan decided to paint it red.

We had a lot of fun learning about Truss Bridges and understanding why Triangles are a stronger shape and why engineers prefer to use then on bridges.

I just got word that we will be meeting up with a real bridge engineer in the next few weeks and looking at a local historic bridge.  Both of us are excited about this opportunity and looking forward to learning even more about bridges from an expert!