Leaf Shape Activities

For our Apologia “Exploring Creation with Botany” course I created these leaf shape pages for several activities ~

Homeschool leaf

Sorting20150722_112830

  • Sort into groups according to shape
  • Sort by descriptions found in the book

Naming

  • Discuss the Latin or scientific names 20150722_112059
  • Make fun and practical associations with these names

Play “Memory”

  • Place all the cards leaf up & name face down on the table.
  • Turn over and call the name of the leaf out and place with the name back face down. (This is the learning stage.)
  • Call out the name first and then turn the card over to check.
  • If correct, keep the card and try another.
  • Player with the most cards at the end wins!

Display 20150722_120223

  • Make a paper leaf bunting
    simply sew all the cards with a long line of stitching using a sewing machine.

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    (my daughter practicing on blank paper first)

  • Create a mobile and hang all the same groups of leaves from a large leaf shape or name using wire and fish gut.
  • Paste leaves in groups in a collage or mosaic or poster.

Nature Study Scavenger Hunt

  • Ask the child to find as many leaf shapes when out on nature walks.
  • Sort and place next to the leaf shape/ name it best fits.
  • Place in a folded paper with a label and press between board or in heavy books for a few weeks.
  • Paste in nature study journals and label or describe.
  • Use these leaves to group, describe and label the margins (the leaf edge) or venation.

Arts & Crafts 

  • Make leaf rubbings
  • Use leaf to make prints by painting the leaf and pressing it onto a page.
  • Make leaf collages
  • Use pressed leaves and iron between 2 sheets of wax wrap with wax sides facing.  Cut and hang as window decoration.

Free Downloads

With blessings,

 

Solar System ~ Stars Nebulas & Supernovas

During our Apologia Astronomy studies this past year and these first months we have been amazed at the incredible synchronicity of astronomy news and discoveries!

This week, while we studied stars, nebula and supernovas, BBC News reported the discovery of

Doomed twin stars found at nebula’s heart

Planetary nebula Henize 2-428

The odd shape of the nebula can be explained by the “double-degenerate” pair of stars at its core (Image: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31310355)

I also used this opportunity to teach my 12-year-old to create her own minibooks for her Solar System Lapbook.  Using MSWord, Miss.L12 opened my Minibook Master Template, copied a template, inserted and pasted images & text boxes, grouped shapes, cropped, saved and printed these minibooks ~

 

Stars nebulas supernova minibooks

As it is summer here in South Africa, we went out to star gaze one night.

Homeschool 20152Using our large telescope, we all took turns to view Jupiter and the rising moon.  We managed to identify several constellations, especially Orion and its major stars Rigel and Betelgeuse.  We also used our famous Southern Cross and The Pointers stars to draw imaginary lines to find due south. Our Southern Star Wheel was also very handy, as were the reference books I borrowed from our local library.

(Tip: New homeschool moms, ask your local library to register you as a teacher.  They then usually allow you to take out more books on block loans for longer periods than those permitted by conventional members.  Registered with the library, homeschooled children may also take out extra books for the normal loan period.)

Here are your free downloads ~

References ~

Enjoy your stars and astronomy studies!

Blessings,

Solar System Mobile

Another mobile?” you may ask.

Solar system mobile

Solar System Mobile

Well, months ago, while browsing a large crafts store in a big city, I purchased some polystyrene balls especially packaged for a solar system mobile, and packed them away until we started our Exploring Creation with Astronomy by Jeannie K. Fulbright.  Then, we launched (yes, pun intended!) into our theme by creating the solar system mobile.

My daughter figured out how to support each ball to paint and let them dry without smudging them.  She used a small piece of wire stuck inside candle stick holders and pierced the wire into each ball.  We used acrylic paints and sponges.  Middle sister joined in because it looked such fun!  We referred to printouts of the planets to correctly select the appropriate-sized balls and paint them the right colors.

Solar system mobile1

We needed a large, large sun that would not be too heavy.  We compromised on the sun’s size and covered our inflatable earth globe with paper mache.  (A beach ball would also do, but the world globe has a stand which allowed us to turn and cover the ball with paper and glue.) I used a small amount of wallpaper glue mixed with water in the correct ratio … (I sneaked in a little maths lesson!)  Wallpaper glue lasts for several days in a sealed container, and spills and drips wash off easily.

The next day we recovered our sun’s newspaper layers with white paper strips and let it dry. Then, when dried, we deflated the globe enough to insert the scissors and snip a large slit and pull the flattened globe out our ball.  A few layers of  new paper mache to close our slit, and another day to allow to dry completely.  Somehow, the newly glued section softened previous layers and our beautiful ball became a bit wonky.  But my daughter was completely unfazed because, “the sun is a burning ball of gas and it’s not perfectly round, is it, mom?” Absolutely!

I bent a large piece of used fence wire and we used fish gut to suspend all the globes. There were a few problem-solving moments because our wire ring did not hang level.  We decided to add some blue, yellow and white glass beads to balance the mobile.  What an ingenious idea, because these beads looked like stars!  We could have hung planet moons too, I suppose, which would also be a great idea …

A great hands-on activity!  It was really educational too, because by the end of this activity, my daughter knew all the planets’ names, their relative sizes and colors, and could easily identify them in our studies.  Wonderful introduction to Astronomy!

Here are some of the Solar System websites I pinned or filed in OneNote ~

Have fun making your solar system model!

Blessings,

Child-led Science Experiments

When we tailor-made this year’s homeschooling for my youngest (she’s 12-years-old) she requested ~

Science Experiments

As I have learnt to “let go” and let her take the lead for her maximum learning enjoyment, I wanted her to be able to “do her own thing”.  We set up a Science Experiment center on our bookshelf.  I simply gathered whatever I had accumulated from our homeschooling curriculums.  Our Science kit and reference books are all from previously purchased Sonlight packages.

Science experiments3

We spent our first session looking through and discussing each item in the Science kit.  We browsed through our Science books and decided which topics she most wanted to study or which apparatus she most wanted to work with.

I have found that if I establish the correct procedures and a few basic safety rules, my children can work quite independently.  (This is true for all other activities such as art, cooking and baking, cleaning house, sewing, washing and ironing.)

Essentially ~ Be safe.  Work carefully.  Clean up after yourself.

Science experiments1

Although I wanted her to have fun, I explained the basic approach used in scientific methodology.  Worded informally, yet covering science concepts, I have found that these principles develop proper scientific thinking.  For example:

  1. What are you studying? = Title
  2. What are you trying to find out? = Question
  3. What is needed? = Materials
  4. What do you predict (or think) will happen? = Hypothesis
  5. Describe what you do step-by-step = Method
  6. Compare with something that does not change = Control
  7. What did you see? = Observation
  8. What did you learn from this? = Inference

Of course, many experiments require a very simplified version of these points above, and, depending on your child’s age and ability, these questions could be simply summed up ~

  1. Title
  2. What I did.
  3. What happened.
  4. What I learnt.

I created a variety of Science Experiment Notebook pages for her. I printed the notebook bundle and she selects a notebook page to suit her experiment and her approach.Science Experiments

She has spurts of Science lessons, some weeks doing almost 3 a day, and other weeks simply reading the books.  Recent unseasonably warm weather made water experiments fun outdoor activities!Science experiments2

My daughter is very visual and loves to draw very detailed diagrams of her experiments.  I have requested that she label items clearly in print and give every picture a caption or descriptive sentence.

I am often her lab assistant and scribe.  I jot down her dictated notes because I want her to focus on the actual activities and not get bogged down in the difficult job of writing her notebook pages, but I have gently encouraged her to note some of the simpler experiments.

In essence, she initiates and leads her Science lessons and activities.  I am there, but as support and encouragement, participating as one discovering alongside my child, and it is really exciting and awesome!

It works for us!  What works for you?

Here is your free download ~ Science Experiment Notebook bundle

Blessings,

Zoology 3 Land Animals

We have completed our Exploring Creation with Zoology 3  Land Animals Apologia Science book.

Science

We took our time, and spent about 18 months enjoying our reading, researching and discoveries.  I LOVE to take things slowly.  In all our years of homeschooling, I must endorse this – take your time with the things your kids enjoy!

Flesh it out, savor it.

Delve deeper, dig out more.

Delight yourselves in discovery!

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All the way through our studies, my daughter pasted the images of each animal mentioned in each chapter onto continent maps.

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For this activity ~

  1. Download and print out your free pictures ~ Land Animal Pictures and classification table ~ Table Classification of land animals
  2. Print out maps for each continent – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Oceania. (Our Middle East map was still empty at the end of our study.)

We have enjoyed our Land Animal mobile hanging over our study table for the past year … P1160088-002

Pop over to the original blog post and here is your free download ~ Classification Table+cards.  This is a simplified version of Animal Classification.

But now it is time to take it down to make way for our next Science book … Astronomy!

Blessings,

Animal Mobile

Land Animals with Exploring Creation with Zoology 3  

and a fun hands-on activity ~

a mobile!

In preparation for this year’s science studies, I made these pictures of every. single. animal in the book.  Miss.L will use these to paste on to her world maps and notebooking pages.

And here’s the free download ~

  1. Pictures ~ Land Animal Pictures
  2. Classification table ~ Table Classification of land animals

While we were reading I read aloud, Miss.L wanted to do something creative … and so I pulled out our animal classification chart and cards.

Classification Table  (We used these for our text boxes)

Classification Cards (These are the pictures we used for the mobile.)

Here’s your free download of the above cards and table ~  Classification Table+cards

And I suggested, “Why not actually make that mobile we thought about a while ago?”

Animal Mobile 1We did … and had fun for a few days!

Some tips:

  • Print out the classification cards twice. (You want to have pictures and text on both sides of the card!)
  • Paste the text or pictures on to the front & back of each colored card leaving a colored frame around the picture or texts.
  • Punch and insert eyelets on the tops and bottoms of all the cards.
  • Use soft binding wire and loop in to the top of each card and another wire with a loop at the bottom.  (We cut each wire about 5cm long, and the wire for the felt animals slightly shorter.)
  • Start at the bottom and work out the mobile, laying out the cards to see how wide the mobile will become at the top.
  • The very top of the mobile needs a wooden stick about 50cm long
  • Each “branch” should be slightly shorter than the level above.
  • Overlap 2 branches to make “Mammals” a 4-branch.
  • Add beads to balance the “Invertebrates” branch with the “Vertebrates” branch of the mobile.
  • Cut out felt animals and insert the wire and hang on the bottoms of each picture. (We added some details with black permanent marker.)
  • Perhaps add other animals from each class (e.g.: rodent = rabbit, mouse, squirrel … ) as you study them.  (Just add more beads to keep the mobile balanced.)

Note: This activity was fairly technical and would work well with middle-schoolers and junior high students.

We are delighted with our mobile gently swaying above our work table!

Have you tried to make a mobile for homeschool?

Blessings,

Classify Land Animals

What’s an aye-aye, a bilby, a kiang, a pika or wombat?

Land Animals!

We love our Science lessons using Apologia Zoology books!

In preparation for our next book, Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day

I created~

Pictures of all land animals mentioned in the book (isn’t Wikipedia the best?)

Alphabetic list of land animals (use for name search or a game of animal Bingo?)Classification Table with each order on a new page

Some Tips & Ideas ~

  1. Cut and paste each animal on a world map where it naturally is found
  2. Arrange animals in country groups
  3. Cut out and group/ classify all the animals
  4. Paste/ arrange on the classification table
  5. Place animals on a classification tree
  6. Make an animal mobile and hang the animals in groups
  7. Find out the animal’s status – extinct, threatened, commonly found etc.
  8. Play animal bingo with these cards and the animal word list

Some good references ~

Here are your free downloads ~

  1. Pictures ~ Land Animal Pictures
  2. Classification table ~ Table Classification of land animals

Blessings,

Animal Classification chart and cards

We’ve started our journey into Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 : Flying Creatures of the 5th Day by Jeannie K. Fulbright for this year’s Science curriculum.

I made a classification chart with cards for the girls to figure out the classification system.

(Download here ~  Classification Table+cards)

Classification Chart page 1

Classification cards

They can play games with these cards: match animals to their descriptions, play snap, make a mobile … any other ideas?

playing with the cards

I’ve discovered that the hands-on activities help make the learning of new abstract concepts more concrete.  With this in mind we will also use some of the following :

Blessings,

Nadene