Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lungs & Language

Today's been A Very Good Day. Officially. Emily has done masses of work and it's all been fun, too.

We started off this morning with a real lightbulb moment in maths, more specifically telling the time. When we first sat down at just gone 9, Emily was struggling to tell me even half past the hour on an analogue clock. We made a clock face out of card and paper fastener and stuck with it - half an hour later and she's confidently telling the time to five minutes on analogue clocks and instantly grasping the concept of writing it digitally. Hallelujah! That one's been a long time coming, she seemed to have a bit of a mental block about telling the time properly, but it's lovely to witness when suddenly it all clicks!

We carried on to history next, and Emily read me a few chapters of a book about a Celtic girl falling in love with the son of an important Roman, then we worked on some stuff about Hadrian's Wall and the conditions there. It's not as far from St Bees to Carlisle and onwards as I thought it was, apparently, so Emily's keen to visit the wall next time we go to the caravan.

More work on the HP project followed; still in Diagon Alley Emily wrote about Ollivander's Wand Shop and designed an advertising poster for it.

After lunch, we got started on French. Emily's never done French before - Italian is my principle language and the one I translate and interpret to and from (although I'm also fluent in German and French, with some Japanese, Arabic and Spanish), so until now we've always worked on Italian. We've really struggled with finding interesting resources for it which were appropriate to her age, though. I guess because so few schools teach Italian, so most of the material available is for teenagers-adults rather than primary level. We did find some bits and bobs like the Berlitz for Kids series and the Adventures with Nicholas books, but Emily didn't get on with any of them. Sure, I could devise my own, but hey, I barely have time to breathe let alone develop language courses. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we're going for French for the moment, given the wealth of age appropriate resources around for it. Hopefully if Emily picks up speed in French we can come back to Italian when she's a little bit older and the more interesting resources aren't way beyond her.

So, French it was, beginning with various greetings etc. She loved that.

Next, we went back to the human body project, this time to work on lungs and the respiratory system. Emily read lots in our various books, drew a diagram of the respiratory system and labelled it, drew another diagram of inside a lung, and another of the transfer of oxygen to the blood and waste gases back to the lungs by the alveoli.

We made a model lung using a balloon and an empty bottle - didn't have any balloon big enough to fit over the bottom end, though, so had to improvise with cling film instead. This illustrated the function of the diaphragm and how the lungs inflate/deflate:
We also did a fabulous experiment to measure everyone's lung capacity - Emily measured a 500ml scale up the side of the big bottle and then we all took it in turns to blow through the tubing to see how much air was in our lungs.Emily made a chart of the results, and then tried running on the spot for a minute before blowing, to see what would happen after exercise. Although she predicted (wrongly) that she'd be able to blow out *less* air after exercise, when she discovered that her lungs were holding nearly twice as much air after exercise as before she was able to make a very intelligent deduction as to why that might be - explaining to me that her muscles were working hard, so the blood needed to take in more oxygen to convert to sugars for energy for the muscles, which was why her lungs were taking in more and also why her heart was beating faster.

We've also spent a long time today looking through various craft books to get ideas for Nana's birthday on Saturday. No yoga this afternoon as the teacher's away. Jon went off for another glandular fever blood test this morning, so it will be "interesting" to see what's happening there. We're having a family afternoon out tomorrow, so can't wait for that!

1 comment:

Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

What a lovely busy day. Hope you enjoy your family afternoon tomorrow. EFT