Friday, April 28, 2017

Art Lesson ... Kandinsky

Today we played with the shapes and colors that Wassily Kandinsky is so well known for.



We each picked a shape and repeated it five times on the paper.  Totally fine to overlap or go off the page.  Totally fine to make them all different sizes or all the same.

Then we made 3 lines that ran from one edge of the paper to the other.  They could be straight or curved.

Then we colored in 3 shapes with markers and filled in the rest of the sections with watercolors.

Beautiful!

Understanding Binary Code

Today I bored the the kids with a video on binary code.  But it luckily turned into a discussion of punch cards and then to the stories of my early days as a programmer and how I needed to schedule programs to run and I had to wait and then I had to go pick up my printout and then I discovered all of my errors and had to go back and reprogram and start the running, waiting, printing all over again!  They found it incomprehensible that I didn't just push the green button and my program ran right there on my laptop!

Anyway, they did at least use the binary code to create necklaces of their names! After a few letters I think they at least got the idea of how binary looks even if it still escapes them how it works! 




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Making Flow Charts

Today we learned how to use a flow chart to go through the steps of a process.



First, I walked from across the room towards one of the kids.  Am I at Natalie?, no, take a step, am I at Natalie?, no, take a step, etc.  When I ran into the table we added that in!  Am I at Natalie? no?, am I at the table?, yes, take a step to the right, am I at Natalie?, no, take a step, am I at Natalie? yes, stop and hug!


Then we looked at a few flow charts.

Flowchart

And lasted, they charted how to get out of the house depending on the weather and where they were going.  They really had to plan and organize their thought about what they would need and what decisions they would need to make along the way.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Technology Online Scavenger Hunt

An online scavenger hunt to learn a little about technology ...
Image result for technology



  1. What was the name of the first computer virus?
  2. What is “CAT” in binary code?
  3. Who wrote the game Castle Elsnore?
  4. Find a picture of the first website.
  5. Who is Steve Jobs?
  6. What was the first computer and what was it for?
  7. My first computer was an Apple Macintosh.  Find a picture of it.
  8. What is a modem?
  9. Why were computers invented?
  10. List five parts of a computer.
  11. Name 3 programming languages.
  12. What was the first video game?
  13. What as the first computer called and where did it live?
  14. Where were HP, Microsoft and Apple created?
  15. What is a floppy disk?

Technology Curriculum


Image result for technology

Technology
Learn about the history and evolution of computer technology via videos.

Create a flow chart.

Explore binary code and create a binary necklace of your name.

Complete a technology scavenger hunt.

Technology Project
Interview people who lived before computers became a part of everyday life and create a presentation describing 10 everyday tasks that have been made easier by technology.

Games
Play Castle Elsinore.

Play Dungeons & Dragons.

Writing
Write an essay persuading me about the educational value of a particular video game.

Reading
Who was Steve Jobs?   Pollack, Pam
Gemini7   Cray, Jordan
Etherworld   Gabel, Claudia
Deadly Pink   Vande Velde, Vivian
Ready Player One  Cline, Ernest
Bill Gates : Microsoft Founder and Philanthropist   Kjelle, Marylou Morano
Bubble World   Snow, Carol
Elusion   Gabel, Claudia
Unplugged   Freitas, Donna
The Lazarus Game   Valentine, Stephen
The Eye of Minds   Dashner, James
Heir Apparent   Vande Velde, Vivian

Coding Project
Learn to code in Scratch and then design and code an adventure game.

Scientific Exploration
Build a Rube Goldberg machine to drop someone in a bucket.

Program an Ozobot to get out of a maze.

Field Trips
Visit a vintage arcade.

Visit a technology museum.

Watch "War Games" and "Hidden Figures".

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quiet Valley Farm, Stroudsburg PA

We traveled out to Pennsylvania for the day to participate in "19th Century Days" hosted by Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm.  


The farm was built by a family that immigrated from Germany to Philadelphia, worked to pay off their passage and then walked weeks to find this location for their farm.We were treated to a tour of the beautiful farm.  We got to meet all of the animals, watch some 19th century farming tools and cooking equipment in action and participate in a day at school.




In the afternoon, the kids learned various methods for cooking in the fireplace and made biscuits, cinnamon rolls and corncakes.  Then in the afternoon they learned how to dye wool.





Not only was it a great experience to really get a feel for what it would have been like to be a farming family in the 1800s it was amazing to get up close and personal with so many of the tools that were invented to make life on the farm easier.  Things like a machine that takes the corn off the cob, bowls made from gourds and a tool that lets you plant seeds while standing up.  What I found so great about that was the illustration of how you have a need, like not bending over the plant all of your seeds, and how you can devise a tool to meet your need.  In today's high tech world, that connection seems to be often lost.  I hope it will inspire the kids to be creative about meeting their own needs in the future!


Thursday, April 6, 2017

F. Bliss Arboretum, Eatontown NJ

We spent the afternoon at the F. Bliss Arboretum in Eatontown, NJ.  It was a little early for leaves on the trees but we found a few!








Writing an Historical Newspaper

After learning all about our ancestors and immigration, everyone got to write a newspaper telling some stories about the people, their homelands, their voyages, their passage through Ellis Island and their new lives in America.  


Some of the articles were wonderful pieces of historical fiction and others were completely fact based.  Some were silly and some were sad.  All were perfectly entertaining!

With 10 articles to write, there was a lot of planning required and a bit of extra research to flesh out the stories.  And they had to learn to use a newspaper template ... which might have been the most frustrating part!

Immigration Online Scavenger Hunt

Hunting for some immigration and tree information ....





  1. How many immigrants does the United States allow each year?
  2. Upon their arrival at Ellis Island, immigrants had to undergo several "tests" before they were allowed to stay in America. What type of test is being performed here?
  3. What are 3 foods you like that came from other countries?
  4. What are the differences between immigrate, emigrate and migrate?
  5. Name 3 famous immigrants that made important contributions to America?
  6. Name 3 people you know or have met who are immigrants.
  7. Many immigrants came to America for jobs. Some young women ended up at work in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts. What nickname were they given?
  8. What percentage of Americans have an ancestor who came through Ellis Island?
  9. Where did the Statue of Liberty come from?
  10. Take this test and see if you could become a US citizen.  http://www.factmonster.com/quizzes/citizenship1/1.html


  1. How many trees, that are listed in the National Register of Big Trees, are found in your state?
  2. The study of trees is called what?
  3. Figure out what kind of tree is in our back yard.
  4. Name a tree that needs fire to survive.
  5. How do you determine the age of a tree?
  6. Find a picture of a bonsai tree.
  7. What is a sophora japonica?
  8. What is photosynthesis?
  9. What do pinecones do?
  10. Label the parts of a tree’s anatomy.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Breathing Leaves Experiement

Plucked some leaves to watch them breathe!  



We placed the leaves in a bowl of water but we only saw a few little bubbles but it inspired the kids to pull out the microscope to see if they could see anything interesting!

Art ... Ukrainian Egg Decorating

The girls took a great class through our local Arts Center to learn the art of Ukrainian Egg Decorating.  I had always know that you make a design with wax and then dye the egg and repeat until you get your desired the design.  What I didn't know was how you get the wax off!  You have to melt it over a candle and keep wiping it off.  Quite a process!


Next part of the lesson ... they will have to teach me!