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Showing posts from September, 2011

A Free Lesson on Cell Walls

I have been participating in Teaching Blog Addict's Science Week this week. Today's Linky is for Science Freebies and Science Unit Sales. I didn't have anything to contribute, until Dawson was working on a plant cell microscope lab this morning.

One of the questions posed was: Why doesn't an animal cell have a cell wall, when a plant cell does?

Here is the technical answer from Wikipedia:

The cell wall structure provides a lot of support and stabilizes the overall structure of the plant. Cells can't move around. In animals, multiple interactions between cells and molecules around them (referred to as the extracellular matrix) help to hold everything in place but animals have no real equivalent to the, relatively rigid, cell wall.

Dawson had an example to share:
He put water in a glass to represent the plant cell with cell wall. It was stable, and the cell did not move. And he dropped three drops of water on the kitchen counter, to represent animal cells with no cell…

A Nature Walk

On Mondays, while Dawson is at guitar lessons, Brynne and I like to do a nature study. This week we decided to venture out to the neighborhood across the street from ours. It's a fairly new subdivision, with a nature theme (the elementary school is built in the subdivision and it has a nature theme, too). There are gravel walking trails everywhere.

We pulled off at the side of the road near the walking trail and our first stop, the cattails.


Then we went on toward a tree that looked interesting. It had huge red thorns on the branches, about every 2-3 inches. It was the coolest looking thing. Looked kind of like the briar patch.


We saw lots of neat wildflowers.






But our greatest finds were cactuses! I had no idea that we had natural cacti near us! They were everywhere and so cool to see up close and personal and in their natural environment.


It was a beautiful afternoon and we got to see lots of things we haven't ever seen before. We will definitely be hitting more of these trai…

Website Help ~ Cells and More

For continued study on the basics of cells, I wanted Dawson to know the parts and their definitions.

I came upon this website, Quizlet, where you can make your own flashcards. Then you can do different practice techniques and games with the flashcards. There are also some pre-made flashcards, like for Cells.

Dawson was able to study the flashcards, then do practice activities called: Speller and Learn. Then he played a couple of games called: Scatter and Space Race. Finally he was able to Test on the terms.

This is a great tool!

I am linking up with Teaching Blog Addict's Science Week. Today's theme is Links to Science Videos and Fave Science Websites.

Favorite Science Books

I am participating in Teaching Blog Addict's Science Week this week. Yesterday's topic was Favorite Science Books.

It is no secret, with our Human Body study this past month, that the series of books by Pamela Hill Nettleton have been my favorite! They are so perfect for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade level, even kindergarten. Heck, I've even enjoyed them!




A+ with a Star

A little history. When Eli started having spelling tests last year in the 1st grade, he would have a lot of trouble keeping up with the pace. He would scream "WAIT!" when the teacher tried to move on to another word, when he was not done with the previous one. So, we decided that we would have him do his spelling tests with his Resource Teacher.

Eli's Resource Teacher is an amazing woman, and her class is a safe place for him to land when he is needing some peace and quiet or some extra help with something.

This year, at his meeting, we discussed having him take his tests on Fridays with his Reading Resource teacher again so as not to stress out Eli, the teacher, or the other students. But on Wednesdays, they have a pre-test for their spelling words and sentences. If a student gets 100% on the pre-test, he or she does not have to take it on Friday.

He's had some bomb pre-tests, because he takes them in the classroom with the other students. His teachers and I discuss…

Math Monday ~ Arithmetickle

For Fun Math this week, we did a riddle out of Arithmetickle written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz.


What is 6+3+4+1+5+7+2+4+12+2+4+10+3+1?

The numbers in the problem were the answers to 14 Where's Waldo type questions found in the poem "How Many Coconuts?" on page 21 of the book.

Brynne went out to one of our trees and picked a bucket of acorns to use as coconuts. I drew a grid on printer paper to help keep her "coconuts" contained.

We read the poem in full, and then read each line separately. Brynne found what it was asking for, i.e. "How many toes on the three-toed sloth?", to get the answer to the question in each line. Then she counted out that number of "coconuts" and put them on the grid.


When the poem was over, she had 14 grid squares containing "coconuts". So, she just added them together to get the answer.

It was really fun. She wants to do more of these riddles, so I will hang onto the book for …

Cells ~ It's What's for Dinner

Dawson made edible cells on Friday.


He made an animal cell pizza ...


and a plant cell chocolate chip cookie ...


He reviewed what he's learned about cells the past two weeks, and I had dinner made by someone else. Win, win!!

I am linking up at Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.

Science Sunday ~ Hmmm ... Let Me Think About It!

This week in our study of the Human Body, Brynne moved on to the Nervous System. Our first stop was a Pamela Hill Nettleton book called, Think, Think, Think: Learning About Your Brain.


As part of our discussions about the brain, and the fact that it's the BOSS of the body, we discussed the importance of the spinal cord.

We did a hands on spinal cord project by alternating gummy Life Savers and wagon wheel pasta on a pipe cleaner. We talked about why there was the "squishy" stuff in between the vertebra and how the back can bend and sway because of it.


We completed "The Brynne" by adding the stomach, small intestine and large intestine, from our study last week of the Digestive System (although I just realized I have the large intestine coming out of the stomach, when the small intestine should be) and the brain and spinal cord.



We are now done talking about the parts of the body and will conclude our study of the Human Body with a two-day unit on nutrition and…

Study America Saturday ~ Resources

This week Brynne studied the state of Florida in her U.S. States study. It was an ordinary week, no bells and whistles. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to share the resources we use for our states studies.

Rookie Read About Geography

If at all possible, I check out a book about the state from this series. These books are very short, concise but with lots of pertinent information, and have great pictures. In fact, if we were pressed for time, Brynne could even read these books herself.


A Fun Book about the State
To me, I want us reading about everything that we do. I try to find a good fictional book that is set in the state we are studying. I do this in a few ways ... Do a Keyword search through our local library databaseGet a recommendation from Mrs. McGowan's 50 States Book ListGet a recommendation from NEA (National Education Association) 50 State Book List

An Activity
I try to draw something from our book we read above and do a hands-on activity, like cooking or a craf…

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Out of ...

Whew! I am glad it's Friday evening! Although we have a pretty busy weekend (much busier than this homebody prefers), we had an even busier week in our schooling. I am out of breath and it will not be out of the question for me to be in bed by about 7:00 Sunday night!

In art this week, what seems to be our favorite subject, it looked like a scene out of Africa! Dawson and Brynne read about the history of African masks, and made their own versions with cardboard. Fun, fun, fun! Of course this project came out of my all-time favorite book in the world: The Usborne Treasury of Art!!!


On Tuesday Dawson had to attend a funeral, so Brynne and I had a non-school school day. She played some favorite educational games on the computer and watched some educational television. On Wednesday, our day started off normal. But then out of the blue, we hit a brick wall. We ended up calling off school early for the day.

We did have a funny moment. After our rough day on Wednesday, we were running …