Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Fun Day 36 - Taking Time to Be Thankful

 This week we're thankful for...

...slugs and bugs in the berries.

Okay, I admit "thankful" might be a bit strong...

...but what a great reminder of the words of  "the preacher"...

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other  Ecclesiastes 7:14a ESV

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Fun Day 35 - Really Big Paper Airplanes

Everybody knows  if you give a kid a piece of paper, they will fold a paper airplane.

Well it turns out, if you give a kid a really big piece of paper, or nine pieces of paper taped together, as per YouTube instruction, when a large piece of wrapping paper (see yesterday's dino sized origami) turns out to be too flimsy...

...they will fold...

... a really big paper airplane.

Oh, and sorry about the faded photos.  A cloudless day in the Big Sky makes for intense sunlight.

And no, Mother, A has not started wearing glasses.  Those are a fake, fashion pair she bought, because she thinks they look "pretty".  Go figure.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Fun Day 34 - Dinosaur Sized Origami

I picked up an inexpensive roll of green wrapping paper, to cut into large squares, thinking we could try our hand at folding up a few giant sized origami triceratops to replace the cookies which met, quite naturally, with a herd of ravenous predators.

After watching a couple triceratops folding tutorials (like this one), we quickly realized it was beyond our origami skill level.

So we settled, instead, on a simple two piece apatosaurus (Blogger spell check claims the correct spelling for this word is "brontosaurus" by the way - very funny), from Amazon's preview of Michael LaFosse's Origami Dinosaurs.

Our dinosaurs, both big and small, were easy to fold, but turned out a little floppy.  At first I thought was the fault of the paper, but then decided it was due to the simple design.  No matter though, we stapled the smaller (regular origami paper sized) versions to give them stability, and opted to paper clip our big guy (who we did, in fact, name "Bronty")... that he could be unfolded later, in case we wanted to reuse the paper to - you know - wrap something.

It's great to a homeschooler.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Fun Day 33 - Ontogenetic Triceratops Cookies

We had the privilege of sitting in on a small group presentation by paleontologist Jack Horner, the Museum of the Rockies' Curator of Paleontology.  He talked about, among other things, triceratops ontogeny (or how triceratops changed and developed as it grew from birth to old age).  

The video below, from the California Academy of Science, explains the same thing...

...except, as we learned from Jack Horner, there is an ongoing debate between scientists like himself (with a triceratops home-field advantage) and those at Yale (the smart guys, whose predecessors originally named the beasts), as to what a grown-up triceratops looked like.  If you click on the links you can hear what each camp has to say, or check out an actual "smack down" between the two sides, here.

Living in Montana, we're apt to side with Jack Horner and home team.  But, keeping in mind these are some of the same folks who are trying to de-evolve a chicken embryo into a dinosaur...

...we might just stay home, and make cookies instead, and let the scientists slug it out, themselves.

If you'd like to join us, you'll need a batch of chocolate sugar cookie dough...

...triceratops body and leg templates printed so the longest body is around nine and half inches long, and the tallest leg is two and three quarter inches high (you will need two sets of legs for each cookie).

The frills can be cut using 1 inch to 4 inch, heart cookie cutters.  Cut a small indent into the bottom of each heart, removing the point, so they will be able to slip over the neck of the body pieces, and pinch them around the edges, to give them a bumpy sort of look.  

We used a four inch heart for both the large triceratops, and the larger torosaurus/grown-up triceratops, just pressing out the center of the larger's frill, to elongate it.  I would also suggest pushing the top lobes together, to lessen the v at the top of the heart - this will help them to look more like triceratops frills, and less like giant ears.

Tip:  Cut properly, the cookies will stand on their own when pieced together...

...but it doesn't hurt to pipe frosting under the feet, and in the joints to hold everything in place.

Oh, and be careful not to roll the dough too thick for the heart/frills, or they will be too heavy, and will take the whole dinosaur down.

Interestingly enough, that's one of the reasons Jack Horner believes the triceratops would have needed to develop torosaurus like holes in their frills as they grew larger.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Fun Day 32 - Bubble Gum Blowing Contest

I read Meghan McCarthy's biography of Walter Diemer, the inventor of bubble gum, to the children, as they finished up lunch yesterday.

It's is a short, colorfully illustrated, picture book, with lots of fun facts at the back for older children and adults.

It is also the perfect lead in to a bubble gum blowing contest (especially if you pair it with a quick viewing of How It's Made - Bubble Gum).

Ideally, after reading the book, you would pass out pieces of Double Bubble, the brand Diemer invented. I had just grabbed a selection of what was available in the grocery store check out, though.  Not that my children cared - between the girls' long hair, and too many instances of scraping chewed gum off of floors and furniture, gum has been all but banned from our house, and is a rare treat at best.

Having more than one brand of gum proved interesting, as we discovered some types are sticky, with a gritty sugary texture, while others are hard and rubbery, but better for blowing bubbles with less chewing, and some have a texture similar to silly putty (not my favorite).

Regardless of flavor, or texture...

...all of the brands we tried...

...were adequate for blowing bubbles.

Although, we're clearly going to need more practice before we're ready to enter any serious competition.

Still, I think Walter Diemer would be proud.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Fun Day 31 - Barbie Salon Science - Part 2

We followed up on our Barbie salon experiment by pulling our out our hand held microscopes, and taking a closer look at Barbie's hair...

...which is clear and synthetic looking (sort of like fishing line)...

...and stuck into Barbie's head in clumps...

...held in place by strips of glue or some sort of fabric.

...and not at all like our hair...

...which grows in single strands from our scalps...

...from follicles...

...with a thicker texture, not clear, and not so much like fishing line.

I read the girls a quick paragraph from Wikipedia about how fabric softeners, and vinegar, work on clothing, and why they might also help synthetic Barbie hair.
"Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity.
Cationic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to the negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralize their charge; the long aliphatic chains are then oriented towards the outside of the fiber, imparting lubricityVinegar works on some materials in a similar way, as the hydrogen ions bind to the anionic groups on the fibers."
Then, we read the back of a conditioner bottle, to learn how conditioners work on real hair.  I would have loved to have brought up a commercial or two, that showed how conditioners work on a microscopic level.  I know I've seen some before, but I couldn't find any when I went to look for them.

I couldn't find a single non-fiction book about hair, for children, in our library's catalog, either.  It's the first time the library has let me down - they always have books to match our topics.  But, they did have quite a few fun picture books about hair in the fiction section.  So, we watched a quick hair clip from BrainPop (one that needs a subscription to view - and does mention some evolutionary theories, which we chose to ignore). Then, we gave up on science for the day, and switched back to plain old summer fun.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Fun Day 30 - Juice Filled Frozen Gummy Bear Pops

Soak gummy bears in juice, in a covered container, in the fridge, overnight.

We used extra large gummy bears, that claimed to be four times larger than normal...

...and white grape juice.

Stick a tooth pick into each juice infused bear (if your children are old enough to be careful with toothpicks), and place them on a tinfoil covered cookie sheet. Cover them in plastic wrap, and pop them into the freezer for a few hours...

...until they are frozen...

...and ready to eat.  They're a sort of a strange hybrid of chewy gummy and frozen popsicle goodness...

...perfect for summer fun.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Fun Day 29 - Taking Time to be Thankful

This week we're thankful for a fun, fruitful, and safe stay at Bible camp for G...

...the first ripe strawberries (at last!)...

...and the supermoon.  I don't know if you've taken the time to check it out, but even with pathetic 7 power by 25 mm binoculars it's quite a sight - a good deal more awe inspiring than my poor camera work can capture.

Psalm 136: 1-8

New King James Version (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
    For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
    For His mercy endures forever:

To Him who alone does great wonders,
    For His mercy endures forever;

To Him who by wisdom made the heavens,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who laid out the earth above the waters,
    For His mercy endures forever;
To Him who made great lights,
    For His mercy endures forever—
The sun to rule by day,
    For His mercy endures forever;
The moon and stars to rule by night,
    For His mercy endures forever.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Fun Day 28 - Rock People in a Sidewalk Chalk Kingdom

In addition to the window markers we used for the window word find, C also received a 48 ct box of Crayola sidewalk chalk on her birthday.  It's not my all time favorite chalk - the colors come off on the children's hands more than I would like - but the extra colors have been inspiring.

When I sent C, and a couple of friends out to draw yesterday, for instance, with the suggestion they draw a town, and use rocks for people, I was thinking of something simple, along the lines of the girls' paper doll place.  But, when I checked on them, I found them busy in a colorful kingdom...

...complete with a queen... her castle, watching over her subjects as they enjoyed a country fair...

...with a Ferris wheel...

...swings in a park...

...and a purple haired pop star...

...tuning up for the crowd.

It's great to be a homeschooler.