Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Garbage Bag Solar Balloon, Birkat Hachama, and a Cloudy Day

We spent most of yesterday evening refiguring our solar oven for another test run and building a solar balloon. We awoke today with high expectations. But, the best laid plans of mice and moms often go awry, and today was no exception. The sky this morning was dark and cloudy, and according to the updated weather forecast, we should see clouds and rain through the weekend.
I took a look at the calendar, and decided to go ahead and transition into a quick Passover study to be followed by Good Friday, and then Easter. Hopefully by Monday, we'll be back into sunshine, and our solar studies can continue.

I was absolutely thrilled to see the perfect bridge from solar ovens to Passover in the headlines this morning. Birkat Hachama is something along the lines of a Jewish sunrise service. It has to do with the vernal equinox (according the the pre-Gregorian Jewish calendar), the sun being created on the 4th day - which would be Wednesday, and some long held Jewish tradition about the sun today matching the sun's position on the day it was placed into the sky by God.

I scrambled a bit, and came up with a creation day coloring sheet of the sun (at http://www.coloring.ws/) for the little ones, and a good Passover coloring book (at www.diaspora.org.il/holidays) . The older children read the creation story, and then popped ahead and saved a spot in Exodus for the story of Moses and the plagues. After a brief discussion of creation and how it ties into the Birkat Hachama being recited by Jews around the world today, we were ready to move on from the sun to Passover.

Since I was still scrambling a bit, our studies this year started by watching The Rugrats' Passover, which we found online at http://www.wejew.com/ (I'm not sure how people managed to homeschool before the Internet!) I've also found some very good videos, lessons, and a Passover related science project at www.chabad.org/kids , which we will pursue tonight.

As for the solar balloon, which is simply some very thin (.5 MIL) black garbage bags cut open, taped together, and tied up at each end - we just couldn't resist taking it out in the yard to play with it a little. Although a solar balloon will not rise on a completely cloudy day (as our picture shows), it is still a lot of fun to bop around. We were excited to discover that even without good sunshine, the air inside the balloon begun to heat up. When we deflated it, it was like standing in front of a furnace vent. We can't wait for a sunny day to see the thing fly!


It's great to be a homeschooler!


1 comment:

faith said...

More coloring pages can be found here: http://thecolor.com:-)