Saturday, December 6, 2008

First day of school in the new house

What a blessing this set up is going to be! I love not having the tv in the same room as our school time. Logan was able to watch part of a Blue's Clues while we were working, and the kids didn't get up to watch the tv once. It was wonderful!

Those windows may prove to be nearly as much of a distraction though. There are SO many animals and birds around here! What a great nature lesson in our own backyard. Already today we have watched squirrels chasing each other around our yard, we have seen 4 stellar jays in the same tree at the same time (it was a little tree too), and seen 4 other different kinds of birds eating at our feeders. I am glad I decided not to skip the Trees Unit Study. Because this will be a good introduction to the nature in our new neighborhood. And that means that my kids won't constantly be in trouble for pointing out the newest animal in the yard, or the trees that look funny, or the bird that just came to the window feeder. Because I have to admit, it is pretty darn hard for me to not be distracted by all the life out there right now... so it is near impossible for them.

Back in Nov we started this unit study with what trees need to survive. But that was over a month ago now, so today we had a refresher on that topic. We wrote up diagrams and talked about what they need and what each one is called (air, sunshine, water, soil, protection (bark)). Then we started a new mini unit of photosynthesis. The best way to learn that is to see it.

This is our photosynthesis experiment. For the next four days, this leaf, on our healthiest window plant, will be covered by 3 layers of dark colored paper. Nothing else is changed... the leaf is not damaged and still has access to air, water, and soil. The experiment will be to see if it is still the vibrant green at the end of our school week. Alex had to write up what we did for the experiment, a hypothesis about what will happen, and at the end, he will write a conclusion.

We have used quite a few books for this unit study already. The best (which we are still using) have been Trees by Mary Julivert, Berries, Nuts & Seeds, and Trees, Leaves, & Bark, (both in the Fun with Nature Take-along Guide series). The "Trees" book is a field guide. They whole thing is set up in two page spreads, much like a good encyclopedia.

Now we are on our way to the Festival of Trees downtown. Not quite related as they are ALL fir trees... but it will be fun anyhow.

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