Monthly Archives: October 2011

Civil War Battles

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Happy Halloween!  Today was the most spooky and awesomely creepy Halloween yet!  There were no trick or treaters at our house, being on the third floor and all, but that meant that there was more candy for us!

More school related, today I studied the most popular and influential battles of the Civil War.  The one I found the most interesting of them all was the Battle of Fort Sumter, which was not meant to be a battle at all.  Major Robert Anderson called Lincoln saying that they did not have enough food at the fort.  Lincoln sent war ships filled with supplies to the fort, but the Confederacy saw the war ships and thought of it as a threat.  This battle was the first battle of the Civil War, and the Union’s first defeat.  This was the battle that sparked the other battles, really starting the Civil War.

Less school related: Was the Civil War a civil war at all?  If the South seceded from the country, then how was it known as a civil war?  A civil war is when people from the same country fight, so if the South became its own country, then it wasn’t really a civil war at all.

I love learning about the Civil War, even though it was bloody. 

Have a scary cool Halloween!  ❤

– Grace

The Week in Pictures

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We had a great week with lots of excitement. 🙂  Panning for gold, cooking dinner, enjoying the Spooktacular, and playing with our new microscope are just a few of the things we accomplished this week.  Check out the slide show for pictures.

Sorry some of the captions don’t show up very well…I’ve not yet figured out how (if it’s even possible) to change the color of the captions.  If you would rather see a “gallery” view of pictures than a slide show, let me know…I’ll be happy to change the format in the future.

-Emily

Skills and Topics – October 31 through November 4

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We have a week with no field trips on the horizon….that’s nearly unheard of for us!  Never fear, we’ll be back to gallivanting soon. 😉  So, what will we be up to?

  • Math:  We will continue our pursuits with division.  Division, oddly enough, is going much better than multiplication did.  This may be our last week of focusing on this topic.  We will also be doing an activity with tessellations.  (I’m so excited!  I love tessellations!)
  • Social Studies:  Study of the Civil War continues with history pockets, documentaries, and some nonfiction sources.  We will also be planning a Civil War-style meal that we will be preparing and eating (gulp!) the following week.  Now, if I could just find somewhere to buy rabbit or squirrel!
  • Science:  This week is all about cells and organs.  Our newly acquired microscope should help us out. 🙂  We will also be making a model arm (out of cardboard….who knew???).
  • Language Arts:  Grace will continue working with determining meaning from context.  She’ll also be revising her how-to paper (this may make it to the blog in its final form) and moving on to story writing skills.
  • We will continue reading and discussing Chains this week.  We’ll be focusing on “big picture” questions about the book toward the end of the week.  You can look forward to a book review on Wednesday or Thursday. 🙂
  • We’ve finished reading The Greek Gods.  Grace is still entranced by Greek mythology, so we will begin reading Tales of the Greek Heroes.  I may run out of resources before she runs out of enthusiasm. 😉

I’ll be posting “The Week in Pictures” later today or tomorrow, so keep an eye out….there will be some good ones. 😀  We have a science event to attend (in costume!), so pictures will wait until after that.  I’ll also be adding to the “Resources” and “Field Trip” pages in the next couple of days, so if that is of interest to you, check back soon.

Have a great week!

-Emily

 

 

Our New Microscope

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Please excuse the lighting oddities....the microscope light and the flash didn't play nice. 😉

 

This afternoon the microscope we’ve been waiting for came in the mail. Finally we could get a good look at some really tiny things!  For science, we are going to look at some things like watermelon!  But that is for future learning. My favorite thing so far today was the paper fibers; they looked like the people who make paper just splattered the ink on the page! They looked really cool! I think that a microscope is the one thing that I was missing in my life.  It is so awesome!  Everything looks a lot bigger in the microscope.  We looked at a towel and some paper.  The towel looked like a bunch of little clouds made of little fibers.  It wasn’t that hard to put together… okay, so it was a little challenging.  Thank the gods for the internet!  http://www.youtube.com to the rescue!  The lady talking about how to put the microscope together really helped a lot!  Thank you, lady!  I love our new microscope! (I might have some energy left in my body from other events – I feel kind of hyper.)

-Grace

 

The Goddess, Athena

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Do you like mythology?   I think that it’s really interesting. I don’t believe in myths, but it’s still fun to learn about them.  Do you remember the post about Phaethon, the son of Apollo?  Well, today I’m going to blog about the book that story came from, The Greek Gods.  This book was written by Evslin, Evslin, & Hoopes.  It is about the Greek gods and some of their myths.  My favorite was the myth about Phaethon and Apollo. 

My favorite Greek goddess is Athena, the goddess of wisdom and battle.  She is an offspring of Zeus, like many gods and goddesses.  The myth in this book about her is about her encounter with Arachne, the girl who said that she could weave on a loom better than the creator of the loom, Athena herself.  Athena heard what she had said and went down to earth to challenge Arachne.  Athena won her challenge, which had been a weaving contest.   As a punishment for abusing her, Athena turned the girl into a spider.  This is why we call spiders arachnids.  

 Athena was born in a special way.  One day Zeus had a horrid headache.  He ordered that his skull must be cut open.  When it was, Athena sprung out!  She was born in armor, spear in her hand and helmet on her head.  I think that she is the most special goddess of them all.  I think that my friends would love this book with all of their heart.  They love mythology and all of the gods and goddesses!  I love mythology!  

-Grace

A Tangram

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Today I played with a tangram.  A tangram has two small triangles, one medium-sized triangle, two big triangles, one square, and one parallelogram.  You have to arrange the shapes into a big square.  It’s really hard!  I think it’s really fun to try to figure a tangram out.  After solving the puzzle, it’s fun to try to make different things out of the shapes – like a dog or a rocket.  I made an angel after I was done.  I didn’t really figure it out – Emily had to finish the puzzle.  We also learned about the shapes in science today, so the game was a plus to learning time.  I love tangrams!  ❤

-Grace

Panning for Gold

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Okay, you're just going to have to trust us on this one.....there really is a tiny flake of gold in there. Bet ya can't find it. 😉

 

Today I went panning for gold at the Reed Gold Mines.  We struck it rich!  Well, if you call two little flakes of gold about the size of a small mosquito “striking it rich,” then give me the check!  You pan for gold by getting a gold pan, sticking it in the mud at the bottom of a creek or the shallow part of a lake, shaking it with a little bit of water at the bottom, and looking for leftover gold at the bottom of the pan.  That wasn’t the only thing we did there.  We went on a self tour of the gold mine people used in the 1800s.  We saw quartz, a kibble, which is a huge bucket that was used to carry gold and other mined things up to the surface, things used in the actual mining, such as a pneumatic drill, and stairs, a lot of stairs.  Most of the tour was outdoors so if you ever plan to go, wear real shoes, not flip-flops or high heels or a mix of both like I did.  The trip wasn’t that long and the experience was really fun.  I loved the tour and everything else – I just liked the tour the most! ❤

-Grace

The Greek Gods: Phaethon

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Today I read a story in a book called The Greek Gods.  I read one of the stories about Apollo and his son; one of his sons, really.  This one is about Phaethon.

One day, two boys were racing around in chariots; both were sons of gods.  The boy with black hair was Epaphus, son of Zeus, god of the sky.  The boy with golden hair, Phaethon, was son of Apollo, god of the sun.  They were racing on the edge of a cliff, a blue sea below them and only the bright orange sun above them.  Phaethon picked up speed, winning the race.  Epaphus was angry that he had lost the race, and boasted that his father was god of the sky and that he could throw a lightning bolt a thousand miles and never miss a target.  He also said that he visited his father on Mount Olympus and hurled thunderbolts with him.  Phaethon, who had never met his father, said that his father was Apollo, god of the sun.  He said that every day, he rides his flaming golden chariot across the sky and that if he wanted to, Apollo could fly high enough to freeze the earth like a huge ball of ice. Also he could fly very close to earth and burn the entire world into a giant fireball.  He said (lied) that he had also gone to visit his father, and that he rode his chariot with him, and that next time he will drive the chariot alone.  Phaethon soon set out to find his father and to drive his chariot, so that his lies could become the truth.  Phaethon walked for many miles without stopping or sleeping or eating.  Apollo saw that one of his sons was looking for him and had fallen asleep in the woods.  He sent his sun hawks, with a rug in their beaks, down to earth to take Phaethon to his palace.  They swooped down to earth and to where Phaethon was sleeping.  They rolled the sleeping boy on the rug and carried him to Apollo’s castle.  Phaethon awoke in Apollo’s throne room, looking upon the great god’s face.  Apollo asked Phaethon what he wanted and promised that, whatever it was , he could have it.  Phaethon said that he wanted to drive Apollo’s sun chariot across the sky, but he wanted to go alone.  Apollo, who had promised to let his son do whatever he wanted, had to say yes.  He let Phaethon get inside the chariot and said to him to not get too close or too far away from earth.  Phaethon agreed and headed out.  At first things went well, but then he wondered how Epaphus would know it was him, and not Apollo, driving the chariot.  He flew the chariot closer to earth so that he could prove to Epaphus that he was driving the chariot, but he saw that the earth was burning!  He tried to get the horses to fly on their normal path, but he lost control, and went up and down and up and down and couldn’t get the chariot to fly in the right place.  Zeus, who had heard the cries from the earth and had gone to see what was going on, threw his lightning bolt at Phaethon, stopping his heart.  Phaethon fell to earth and the horses drew the chariot back home.  This is why we still have frozen places on earth and why the mountains still try to spit fire from their mouths.     

-Grace

Skills and Topics – October 24 through October 28

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We have lots of stuff coming up next week that I’m super-excited about. 🙂  I think I’m looking forward to two upcoming field trips as much as Grace is….panning for gold and the Spooktacular at the science museum….how can those not be a blast???  As for the more “everyday” academics, here we go:

  • Language Arts:  Grace will begin reading Chains on Monday.  It’s a fabulous historical fiction novel about slavery just prior to and during the American Revolution.  We will also be working on determining the meaning of words from context.  The pursuit of “how to” writing continues….we start the final (“big”) paper for this unit this week.
  • Math:  Good news!  We’re seeing a lot of progress in the multiplication area!  (*insert huge, victorious hoots and hollers here*)  We will be moving on to division while keeping up a short, daily review of multiplication to reinforce skills.  We’ll also be working on some logical thinking skills through puzzle solving.
  • Social Studies:  Sadly, our “Moving West” History Pockets will be complete Monday.  Grace enjoyed them so much that I have ordered the “Civil War” History Pockets.  We will begin our study of the Civil War on Wednesday, and that will be our focus for two or three weeks.
  • Science:  We’ll be finishing up our chapter on classifying organisms (including an investigation of yeast and watermelon…promises to be quite interesting) and moving into cells and systems.  We’ll also start reading The Human Body (fun, fun!) to learn about anatomy and systems.
  • Mythology:  We’ll finish reading and discussing The Greek Gods.

I think that should keep us busy for the week. 😉

Have a great week!

-Emily