Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rome in a Day

We are taking a "vacation" from the usual RRR and immersing ourselves into some History and Science. It's like catching up and having a whole day of learning fun at the same time. Here's how it's going so far:
Monday --Science Day--We finished up a whole unit on ANIMAL LIFE CYCLES:
We read, "Why Frogs Get Wet" and learned all about how frogs go from egg to tadpole to adult. We also learned that if ever a giant man-eating frog comes bounding through town--PLAY DEAD. They will not eat anything unless it's moving. When the girls played Barbies later in the day they pretended that baby Cannon was a Goliath frog coming to attack them so they all played dead. He still attacked. We made our own version of the most poisonous of all frogs : the poison dart frog of Central America. Kate made the fly. Our reward for finishing a science unit has been to go on a fieldtrip. For today's field trip we went to the Pet Store. They didn't have poison frogs but they did have a tomato frog and some other creepy things: tarantula, a giant boa, lizards, fish galore, cats, rats (ewww), and our favorite: The softest thing you've ever laid finger on--chinchilla. The pet store lady was kind enough to let us pet it when she found out we were on a "family field trip."

I introduced the lesson by wearing a toga--as you can see. We reviewed first about continents, oceans, NSEW directions, etc. Then we got right into Ancient Rome. Adrie related the whole story about Romulus and Remus to Dad when he got home and how they were twin boys raised by a mother wolf. For once a wolf is the hero of a story. We also watched some k12 movies about Cincinnatus, Horatius saving the bridge. We learned what it is to have a Republic, or an elected group of rulers. Later in the day I told the girls they had to obey me because I was the "Consul." Kate said, "NO, you're not, because you're not even wearing purple." note to self: wear purple tomorrow. All roads lead to Rome--they also built aqueducts, the first sewer system, 5-story buildings, bath houses. For reading time we read this great book from the library "The Roman News" It is a history series set up as a newspaper and it turned out to be a fun resource to learn little tidbits like girls marrying at age 12. There were articles about how to get your skin, "extra white," a help wanted section for slaves, advertisements for how to spiff up your toga, and a how-to article on throwing a great dinner party with a recipe for "snail snacks."

Wednesday: SCIENCE Day again. Kate chose METRICS--because I told her it involved measuring ingredients for delicious treats! We made hot chocolate and Kate measured it out into a graduated cylinder so that everyone got 100 mL. She used a metric stick to record different heights of things like a her Barbie (29 cm. tall). We learned about Mr. Farenheit and Mr. Celsius and then Kate used a thermometer to record the temperatures of ice water and hot tap water.
Last and best of all we used a balance to find out which of all the girls could make a s'more with the greatest mass. Kate piled hers high with marshmallows and chocolate chips so she won with 38 grams. That is a whopper of a s'more! What a lot of science in one day. We broke it up with some Christmas caroling and running around outside and of course eating all those treats.