Friday, July 27, 2007

A Sciency Week

This week we have mostly been wearin' .....thoughtful, scientific looks. We had a couple of weeks without much science but Emily's been itching to get back to the RS4K Chemistry, Biology and Physics, so that's what we've concentrated on this week. Excuse long list of we've done this, we've done that, but since we have actually achieved some education this week, I want to make a note of it!

Biology was first, looking at how exactly plants grow, phototropism, gravitropism and plant life cycles. We've got an experiment underway with pinto beans in the light and in the dark, attached to blotting pape in jars, at various different angles, to see what happens when the roots and shoots emerge in different directions. Not much seems to be happening there, however. I don't think they're getting enough water via the blotting paper to sprout. May have to have a re-think on that one.

In chemistry, we were studying homogeneous mixtures vs heterogeneous mixtures, plus looking at how soaps and detergents work, colloids etc. Huge experiement mixing all kinds of stuff to see whether and how it mixed or not, plu finding out what happens when you add washing up liquid to an oil layer on top of a water layer.

Physics was hugely fun too; we studied the energy of atoms and molecules, including stored chemical energy in food, stored chemical energy in batteries and nuclear energy. Fabulous experiment making battery cells from 2p pieces, silver foil and salt water soaked paper towels. Emily absoultely loved, loved, loved that. We got up to 2.5v from five cells, but then it started to go a bit haywire, being so sensitive to movement of the wires, short circuits if the paper towel pieces touched, etc. We both learnt a lot from that, though, including working out why, if a 1.5v AA battery would light a small bulb, our 2.5v battery penny cells wouldn't, i.e. the difference between voltage and current. My Dad's cut us some proper copper and aluminium strips so next time we have a chance we're going to do a big battery fruit experiment for more fun and games.

In history we've finally moved on from ancient Egypt second time round, and we're onto ancient Africa now. Very interesting. Emily's been finding out about ancient African religion and myths, as well as mapping the area, comparing the similarities between ancient Kush (Nubia/Sudan) and ancient Egypt, and charting the rise of Christianity and Islam throughout the continent.

In maths we've started on So You Really Want To Learn Maths? which I absolutely love, and which Emily likes so far too (although that my be because we've only got as far as the roman numerals work in the first chapter, which she's always liked anyway, lol). We've also done tons more long division and decimals. English has been lots of spelling, and some great creative writing sessions where one of us comes up with a title (eg "The Graveyard") and then we both have a stopwatch timed five minutes to plan a piece of writing, ten minutes to write it and a further five minutes to proofread/edit/correct it. I write alongside Emily and then we share what we've written. We both really enjoy that, and Emily has produced some lovely work there.

Today Jackie and her girls came round for the day; Jackie carried on teaching them German, getting into some pretty complicated grammar. Then I helped the girls each make an "elements" themed cushion; Emily did earth, Mei Lin did fire and Jasmine did air - they made a lovely abastract job of these having brainstormed first to list colours, shapes and themes that they associated with each element. Lots of handstitching and sewing machine use, and was much enjoyed by all. Two weeks today until we pick up the new kittens on our next visit to Jackie's!

Oh, and I forgot to mention, we got a letter from Lincs Council when were on holiday, in response to the 13 page home ed report I sent them. They deigned to pronouce our educational provision "satisfactory" (hmmmrrrrppphh) although to be fair they were very complimentary about what we're doing in the body of the "report". Caused a few chuckles at this end that they phrased the letter as "following your meeting with Mr so and so, we hope you find this report an accurate reflection of your meeting, blah blah, meeting, blah blah". What meeting???!

1 comment:

Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

Well done with the Lincs Council letter. Like the link to the maths book. Always on the look out for "fun" maths stuff. Dug out an old 90's Heinemann Maths Textbook from the library for Katie to try - not bad, no grumbling yet, but there's no answers at the back - eek, help!! Elle