Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moon Activities

by guest bloggers Mom and Kiddo from What Do We Do All Day?
I'm not sure why I spent so much time making this moon puzzle when I have so many other things to do but, as my mother says, "I got a bee in my bonnet."
I made it on poster board and used white and black card stock for the moon phases. I included "control of error" (as the Montessorians say) in ordering the names of phases by cutting the end of each as puzzle pieces. However, there is no inherent control of error with the moons themselves. You would have to provide a separate chart, or look in a book. You can see that Kiddo is making an error here. (Also I messed up with the Waxing Gibbous Moon and we had to fix it!)I hope, since it took me so long to make this, that he wants to do it again!

We also printed out these moon phase three part cards. I don't think they are fantastic, and again, you have to provide your own control of error for the order of the phases.
Other things we've done with the moon are here.

Extra Credit Reading:
Moon (Jump into Science)
The Moon Ring

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

P.E....or a little energy release

On rainy days, sometimes the testosterone levels get simmering pretty high over here. As one of our homeschooling activities, I decided to spring for a DVD that would get some of their energy out and teach them a skill, too (particularly one at which I would be absolutely useless). I've got a few suggestions here, but your kids may be interested in different skills. You can look them up on Amazon ([skill name] DVD for kids).

My kids were already attempting "kung fu" moves from Kung Fu Panda, so at my husband's recommendation, I went for this "Kung Fu for Kids" DVD. Verdict: My sons...and even my it. You can go to the link here and see if it would be good for your family. It's not fancy, but my kids love learning the skills. The teacher is specific about when to use the moves, when to practice them, and the need to ask for permission to practice, which I like! It also doesn't have any eastern philosophies that I'm opposed to, with the exception that I would define the virtues they speak of in more biblical ways. Now I seem my kids performing actual Kung-Fu moves that look authentic (at least on a six-year-old level).

Since my daughter was now learning martial arts and we're seeking to up the girliness over here, I later purchased this step-by-step ballet DVD for her, which she also really likes. Of course, she grabs her leotard and tutu and shoes to do it up right. I love hearing my three-year-old say "tondues and degages."

Trust me, she's not going to learn any level of coordination from me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Huh? in Hamlet

Spark Notes has an explanation of our Hamlet soliloquy, in the event you need help, or are just too tired. I also like the idea of this "Shakespeare for Scholars/Shakespeare for Everyone Else" page. Enotes is helpful on this, too, defining a few more of those words (I, for one, was pleased to discover that a bare bodkin wasn't anything bad).

Monday, March 28, 2011

U.S. states and capitals game

I was pleasantly surprised by a new website,, that has a lot of interactive educational games for kids. I'd gone there in search of this game, which helps teach the states and their capitals in their locations.

Constellations: one more video

Here's one more video--kind of a constellations 101--from the History Channel, if your kids were excited by our study. Bonus: Greek and Latin roots of the word are mentioned, as well as the pyramids of Giza. (Isn't it great that our kids know this stuff?!) As my fellow blogger Julie has said, all I ever needed to know I learned when I taught my kid kindergarten.

Phases of the moon for kids

The History Channel had this valuable, 3-minute video explanation of the phases. It also discusses eclipses. National Geographic also had this "Moon 101" clip, a good summary of what they've already learned; it (of course) mentions how many billions of years ago they believe the earth was created, so be aware. Here's a wordless animation of the phases; maybe by the end of the week your kids will be able to tell the different phases!

Get yer groove on with this video on the phases of the moon--made for kids with some fun animation. (There a few spelling errors, but your kids will probably like it.) Sites with ideas to teach the phases:

You can also find the current state of the moon based on your location.

Henry VIII for kids

The History Channel actually has a mildly entertaining video on Henry VIII (and mild, period, considering Henry's life). Note: It does mention that one of his sons was "illegitimate," and that he was playing tennis while Anne Boleyn was beheaded. It doesn't actually reference our history fact this week.

We can sing this week's fact to the tune of "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See":
In 1531, Henry the eighth
the King of England decided to take
The place of the Pope
and made himse-elf
headof the Church in E-e-england!

There were some other videos, but few of them fit for kids, as you can imagine. This week may prompt some discussions, and if you're ready for that, these questions might help get you started.

1) Do you know why Henry wanted to become the head of the Church of England? The Pope wouldn't let him divorce his wife, so he decided to make himself the head of the church in England, so he could do what he wanted. What do you think about that?

2) What does God think about divorce? (You may also want to talk about how we still treat people who are divorced with love.)

3) What does the Bible say about obeying those who are in authority over us? (See Hebrews 13:17 for starters.)

4) Check out Ephesians 5:25-28. How does God want husbands to love their wives?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Verse memory cards from Seeds!

If you're on the Seeds Family Worship bandwagon, you won't want to miss this link Hope Bucher sent for verse memorization cards that correspond to their albums. Their new album, Seeds of Character, is available for pre-order.

Thanks, Hope!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Susan Wise Bauer

Because we're using Story of the World as curriculum, some of you may be interested in this blog post by Susan Wise Bauer.

Of course it's well written. :)  She's one of my heroes and I think it's worth the read.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Full Moon to Shine on Saturday

According to this article, Saturday night the moon will be the closest to the earth it has been in 18 years.
Be sure to check it out.

Sunset is at 7:19 but the moon rise is 6:40 for Little Rock.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Eclipses from National Geographic

Here are some interesting video and photo links on eclipses from National Geographic. The first one, on the eclipse that was to come last year to Easter Island, was particularly educational.

Heifer Village Family Saturday

This Saturday is a "Family Saturday" at Heifer Village--free admission to their exhibit hall for some cool activities. Check it out here (scroll down).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Colossians 3:12 to music

If your kids memorize better to music, try putting this week's verse to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame":

Therefore as
God's cho-o-sen pe-ople
holy and dear-ly loved
clothe yourselves wi-ith com-pa-ssion
kindness, hu-mi-li-ty-y-y-y
gen-tle-ne-ess and pa-tience
Colossians three verse twelve!
(And this verse
about our heart at-ti-tu-udes

Eclipses for kids

(For the record, I had to look up the plural of eclipse.)

Check out this wonderful site packed with videos, a jigsaw puzzle, diagrams, and more about eclipses. If that somehow doesn't do it for ya, here's another page of eclipse links for teachers and kids. It includes links to animation of lunar and solar eclipses and more.

Magellan for kids

This video gives a good overview of Magellan.

And this site has some wonderful questions, writing prompts, and even crafts to provide a cohesive lesson this week--including making porcelain (? that's what it says) and spiced tea, sea rations, and an hourglass out of two-liter bottles. There are three pages of it! So glad someone else comes up with stuff like that for us...

If you're working on the memory work, try it to the tune of "Did You Ever See a Lassie?" Like this:

In 1522
Ferdinand Magellan
a Portugese explorer
dis-COV-ered a ROUTE
to SAIL around the WOR-ld
to PROVE it was ROU-nd!
In 1522
Magellan did these things!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japanese Earthquake: Before and After Pictures

This site has amazing before and after google images of Japan.  If you move your mouse over the image it changes the picture.

HT: A Bit of This & A Bit of That (who lives in Japan).  She's organizing a fund-raiser auction, too.

Lunchtime Laughter

When I remember, I like to add a joke to my first grader's lunch box.  He loves telling it to his friends (as if they need an ice breaker for the dinner hour!)

Usually I just google "riddles" or "simple jokes" the night before and find one that's age appropriate.

Tomorrow's jokes:

Q: I am lighter than a feather, yet no man can hold me for very long.  What am I?
A: Breath

Q: Feed me and I live, give me something to drink and I'll die.  What am I?
A: Fire

One of my favorites from the past:

Q: What does a termite eat for breakfast?
A: Oak-meal


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Orion in 3-D

We completed the three-dimensional Orion project from PBS today, and it was a great exercise. We used foil instead of cotton balls (because that's what I had, and it looked like stars), and simply squeezed the string into the foil balls. It was good practice for measurement, reading fractions, and spatial understanding, as well as learning some stars' names, like Betelgeuse.
Can you see Orion?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stars and constellations

National Geographic Kids has some striking photos from NASA of stars and constellations, as well as of the planets we talked about last week. Scroll down on the page for photos of the moon and sun as well.

Here's a printable sheet of constellations and their patterns! This site is a good place for excited stargazers to start.

Here's a preview of a PBS film on the wonders of stargazing, entitled "Seeing in the Dark." The telescopes are cool, too. The film's site has some beautiful photos, how-to videos on stargazing, and your sky tonight feature. They have a great list of activities for teachers, including telling time by the Big Dipper, showing distances in the solar system with rolls of toilet paper, and how escaping slaves learned to use the Big Dipper to escape North! I think we're going to make Uncle Al's starwheel so that we can look for the right constellations at the right time of year.

On this site, a NASA astronomer answers some of kids' common questions about stars--what they are, what they're made of, how far away they get the idea.

For younger elementary school students, this experiment explains an elementary version of why stars twinkle.

Here's a project to make constellation placemats from black construction paper--and one to make window constellations.

And here's another (slightly overwhelming) list of links on constellations and stars.

Cortez for kids

The History Channel was generous with us on this week's topic. Here, we've got Montezuma and Cortez, plus Mexico: God, Gold, and Glory: Cortez Part 1 (the Spaniards' arrival), Part 2 (fall of Montezuma), and Part 3 (final battles with the Aztecs). I have not previewed all of these, but I would expect them to be around a "TV-PG" rating.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sistine Chapel panorama

Another great link from Anne Coletti:

This is a visit to the Sistine Chapel. Give it time to load, then you can use your mouse to look around. Have your sound turned on.

Thanks, Anne!

More solar system activities for kids!

You can watch The Magic School Bus: Out of This World and The Magic School Bus: Lost in Space, then utilize this printable and lesson idea (scale it to a homeschooling level) from Scholastic. Here's their "Space Chase" game, as well, which gives kids clues for guessing a planet. There are also two clever poems for kids about space on this page.

Here's another huge list of space links for kids, too, and some activities from NASA also has a few lesson plans categorized by age.

These lesson plans are for those of you who really want to do something big: Using items like pumpkins, softballs, and poppy seeds to get an idea of the scale of our galaxy.

This site also had some wonderful application ideas from teachers on the solar system, including making marks on your playground (yard) outside to demonstrate distance between planets.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Solar System links

This page had a lot of great links to learn about the solar system, as did this one (not all of the links are still active). Through this, I found NASA's Space Place, with some fun games, like the Solar System Switcharoo that teaches about different moons, etc. found in our solar system. I also like "Play Year of the Solar System."

Online jigsaw puzzles: US Capitals and more

For learning geography, check out this page of drag and drop puzzles, including quizzes for the states and their capitals. You can even choose your level, as you can on these online jigsaw puzzles of the states; level one has them by region, like our memory work.