Friday, 28 July 2017

Weekly wrap up 7/21/17 Lots of field trips this week

We had lots of activities this week!  We were up early, 7 am 4 days this week, that is very rare for us:)    A local group sponsored the Spokes math and science team and we joined in for two days of fun!  If you haven't heard of Spokes it is a team of students from MIT and Harvard who bike from Washington DC to San Francisco stopping along the way to hold Math and Science classes for kids.  You can explore this year's group and activities here.  Our local group sponsored them for four day, which means we put them up in a home and supplied all meals for four days and in return they gave one and half days of classes to our kids for free and they supply all the supplies for the classes!

Meeting the team and learning about the four stations they had plan for the kids.  The kids could pick one activity in the morning (about 3 hours) and another class in the afternoon (also for 3 hours)  the next day they could pick a third activity.

MarioFan choose to do the Math/critical thinking seminar.  the first activity was to figure out as a group how to untangle from the friend ship knot

there were several worksheets completed requiring the kids to think outside of the box
here they are working on geometry magic turning two paper circles into one large square.  If you want to do this at home there are several you tube videos online that explain how it is done!  

Next the kids played the game SET.  It was quite challenging and the kids were quite competitive.  MarioFan came in third place

While MarioFan was in his seminar, Firedrake decided to do the biology  session looking at optical illusions and dissecting a cow eyeball.

Learning why some saw a black and blue dress while others (including me) saw a gold and white dress

looking for the optic nerve and learning the parts of the eye
the student running the seminar were polite, knowlegable and very patient with the kids.  
finding the optic nerve

We did this activity a couple of years ago and I remember how hard it was for my kids to even touch the organs.  This time around Firedrake drove right in and love it:)

For the afternoon session the kids decided to to the same workshop--Physics, magnets and electricity

reviewing levers and since MarioFan just completed this last year I was please to see he remember most of the information so it was a review for him:)

Kids worked on building a catapult of their own design and they then played games to see who's catapult worked the best. Firedrake won one of the games and MarioFan won the other:)

Practicing with their catapult designs and getting ready for the games

Final design

MarioFan's version

Next the kids learned about electricity and did several experiments 

learning about magnets 

looking at a magnetic field using iron filings

playing with a compass and a magnet

Last activity was building a homopolar motor using strong magnets, a battery and cooper wires 

after several tries both kids were able to get theirs to work but not without a bit of frustration!:)  Again if you want to give this a try at home there are many you tube videos online :)
 The kids really enjoyed these seminars and our group is going to host another spokes team this time from Stanford in August.  We can't wait to see what activities they will come up with:)

Lastly we volunteered at the city food bank with yet another homeschool group.  I try to get the kids to volunteer throughout the year with many different activities.  We had the 9-12 shift and we worked very hard!

This food bank serve over 350,000 people per year and handles over 44 tons of food

The back warehouse

Getting our instructions and job assignments

We were assigned to fill Senior boxes for the month of July which included 15 items of food put in a box

Being shown how to pack a box to make sure everything fits ,  items included cereal, milk, vegetables, fruit, peanut butter, juice, can meat and noodles.  What goes in a box changes every month.

MarioFan was assigned to place the peanut butter into the box as it moves down a conveyor belt.

The box as it progresses down the line

end of  the line where boxes are taped and stack and placed in the warehouse to await pick up

Firedrake was assigned to help pick up cardboard boxes and tear them down and place them into a compactor.
It was hard work I must say and we were all tired by the end of our shift:)  We were told our group successfully packed 672 senior boxes which was over 9 tons of food:)   We hope we can sign up again to help out soon!


  1. Awesome! I love all of the activities you all did.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Looks like you had a great week.