Monday, April 28, 2014

M is for...

There's more to our home state than lakes and snow.  Here are a few popular "M" attractions ~
1.  Mill City Museum - historical museum for one of the World's Largest Food Companies, General Mills, which is located in the Minneapolis area.

2.  Minnesota Zoo - one of the first zoos to organize its animals by their living environment as opposed to their species.  This zoo is nice but we like Como Zoo better (only a $2 donation/person, simple to get around, close-up view of animals, & carnival rides for the kids).  

3.  MOA - largest mall in the country for the most stores. It receives more visitors than any mall in the world.  

4.  Museum of Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little House on the Prairie was one of my favorite shows growing up!  Visitors to the museum can learn the history of the Ingalls family while they lived in Minnesota and see memorabilia from the TV series.  

During our Minnesota Unit, we read the first book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's book series ~
Little House in the Big Woods.  The girls loved it!
I like how the book is so descriptive with lots of vivid imagery.  We did a fireside activity after reading this portion from the chapter, "Winter Days & Winter Nights" ~
"She [Laura] loved to look at the fire in the fireplace, flickering and changing all the time, burning yellow and red and sometimes green above the logs, and hovering blue over the golden and ruby coals."
I drew flames on the fireside printable and the girls had fun creating marble paintings.

They also enjoyed the making the log cabin picture.

5.  M&Ms - Did you know that the maker of these popular candies was from Minnesota?
Forrest Mars, Sr. was born in Wadena, MN.

We culminated our unit with some M&M Math Fun!
M&M Sorting

M&M Fact Families

M&M Counting

M&M Graphing - Graph found here.
I made up the questions. They are available here.

M&M Patterns - Cards found here.

M&M Measuring
The printable was originally made for measuring with Hershey kisses. I changed ours to say, "M&Ms". Gotta love BIC Wite-Out Correction Tape! :-)

Map of the Ingalls' Family Journey found here.
Books Read - Welcome to the USA: Minnesota, Little House in the Big Woods, The M&Ms Counting Book, & More M&Ms Math

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ben & Sam: Great Inventors

Massachusetts Unit
I have to stop, think, & say that state's name slowly because if I don't I mispronounce it every time! 

However, the two great inventors that we studied for this unit, probably had no problems pronouncing the name of their birth state.  The inventors were Benjamin Franklin & Samuel Morse. 

Franklin coined so many well known quotes.  One of my favorite teaching quotes is: 

Tell Me and I Will Forget, 

Teach Me and I Will Remember, 

Involve Me and I Will Learn

Here are more popular quotes by Franklin - 
*An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
* A penny saved is a penny earned. 
*Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. 
*We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

He also invented quite a number of things; such as the...
*swim fins
*urinary catheter
*long arm (reaching device)
*bifocal glasses
*lightning rod

This is a fun, informative book explaining how Franklin's inventions were used in the past & now in the present. 

We also enjoyed studying Samuel Morse.  He invented the single-wire telegraph system and was the co-developer of the Morse code. His father was a great preacher of the Calvinist faith.  That must have had an impact on Morse because the very 1st telegraph message he sent was,
"What hath God wrought!" (meaning: Look at what God has done!)

We watched this video that goes through the Morse Code alphabet.

The girls thought the video was boring :-/, but they had lots of fun doing their Morse Code "Name Necklace".  I didn't find any ideas that were simple for kids so I made up my own.  
All you need is string for the necklace, beads for the dots, & drinking straws cut into small pieces for the dashes. 
They each chose 2 colors for the beads (one to form the letters and one for the space between letters) and whatever straw color they wanted. 

Finished pieces...aren't they pretty! 

Other Activities & printables - Benjamin Franklin Fact KiteInvention Poster, & Morse Code Chart
 Baby Bear wanted to join them for this photo. :-) 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

From Degradation to Appreciation!

I am so thankful for my parents sending me to great schools which enabled me to have a solid, thorough education.  However, I was one of very few African American students in my classes which made the study of Early Black History extremely awkward.  I dreaded the 1-2 pages in my history books that depicted Early Black Americans in a degrading, shameful way.  I saw black people portrayed as helpless and inadequate; never as strong or courageous.  Therefore, as a young black girl among 20+ white students, I carried lots of embarrassment towards that early time period in American History.  

Fast Forward 20+ years...

I was told of all the benefits of homeschooling that my children would receive. But, no one told me all the wonderful things that I would receive; one being a transformed mind!  My shameful views have turned into a deep appreciation and admiration for Black history...freedom from the enslavement of men.  As I weave God's Story into American history, I see His sovereign hand and work throughout all time periods even through the darkest times of slavery.  It all points me to the most glorious history...freedom from the enslavement of sin!

The Lord used our Maryland & Michigan study to enlighten my mind to the courage, strength, determination, and tenacity of two great Women in History...Harriet Tubman & Sojourner Truth.  After reading aloud, "Meet Addy" the first book in the American Girl (Addy) Series, we were inspired to dig deeper into the African Americans role in Early American History.

Harriet Tubman, born in Dorchester County, Maryland, was the leader of the Underground Railroad who for 8 years led over 300 slaves to freedom!  She was also a spy for the Union Army and a nurse who helped save the lives of countless soldiers during the Civil War. 

Sojourner Truth, a 6 ft. tall speaker, was a voice for the abolitionist and women's right movement.  She died in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Michigan has honored her by having a 12 ft. high monument of her in Battle Creek, naming a Interstate after her, and putting her name in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

Here's one of the activities that C. did. I copied the printable from Sailing through 1st grade and then I added the question headings to it.

K. worked diligently on this Sojourner Truth coloring sheet.

This is a wonderfully illustrated, well written book explaining the lives of both of these great women who finally got the chance to meet in October 1864.  

I created a worksheet with several facts from each of these women's lives. C. cut out each fact & read the book to find out which fact belonged to which woman. 

She then did a Venn Diagram of the two women using paper plates.
You can download the fact sheet & photos here.
May my children always have appreciation for the great history of people who look like them!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From Longfellow to Lobster!

April is National Poetry Month! 
We studied the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for our Maine Unit.  He was born in Portland, ME and is best remembered for his poems "The Song of Hiawatha" and "Paul Revere's Ride".  I enjoyed this unit as much as the girls because this was the first time I'd studied Longfellow (Homeschooling is beneficial for us moms too:-).  Because today is the 1st of April, I wanted to share his poem ~  An April Day.  Those of us in the north can appreciate any poem that sets our mind on the season that soon awaits us...I hope!  

Here are my favorite lines from Longfellow's poem, "Christmas Bells" ~
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; 
The Wrong shall fail, 
The Right prevail, 
With peace on earth, good-will to men.

These lines had me thinking about Revelation 19 when Wrong will ultimately fail and Right will triumphantly prevail! 

We really enjoyed reading Longfellow's poem about Kindness.
We then read Bible verses about kindness and made a list of "Ways to Be Kind". 
The girls finished the lesson by painting illustrations to go along with the poem.

C. wrote & illustrated her first poem. 

Now, for the "Maine" Event!
Maine catches more lobster than any other state! We decided to take a field trip to see some lobsters at none other than Red Lobster. 

Baby boy liked the lobster but enjoyed the cheddar biscuits better! :-) 

C. was all into it, but K. was a little nervous. 

Then she warmed up a bit. 

Lobster Fact #1 - The male is called a cock, the female a hen or chicken, and the baby a 
cricket or bug. 

Lobster Fact #2 - They don't turn bright red until they're cooked.

Lobster Fact #3 - They live at the bottom of the ocean so they like dark places.  That's why they were all piled up to one side of the water tank to create a dark environment. 

This must have been the king of the tank; he was the biggest one & looked as if he was on guard. 

C. drew this lobster picture while we waited for our delicious lunch. 
No, we didn't have lobster...that's for when mommy & daddy go out! :-)