Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear

Last Thursday we hosted our local homeschool group for  a fun day of activities based out of the book Another Celebrated Dancing Bear. Morgan and I rowed this book a year or so ago and he really enjoyed it. We had a hard time choosing one book from our Five In A Row curriculum to use and many came up for discussion but in the end we chose to visit with Max & Boris.

The idea, for us, was to come up with some fun activities that everyone could participate in that would also tie in with the book. I'm not sure why, but I felt really scatterbrained getting it all together at first. Once I was on a planning roll though I felt better about it.

In the end we ended up doing the following activities: We played Bingo as we learned about famous landmarks, costume, and other items from Russia. We had a lot of fun with this game, which was suggested by a fellow homeschooler & unit studier extrodinare, and I think we might make more of these to use!

We also made Russian flags. This was a huge hit with my boys and Morgan has since asked if we make other flags like this. He has a huge flag fetish. Anyway, I simply used the trusty old scrapbooking program (yes, we'll still be hosting a give away there.. After we find where Mr S stashed the program once he took a photo of it..) and made an abnormally long Russian flag in it. Then when we folded it in half around a bamboo skewer it was just the right size!  We had hoped to make some Russian Tea Cakes, but that and the soup we considered making didn't happen.

Because there are many 'o clocks mentioned in the book we went outside and played What Time Is It Mr Wolf?  We played enough rounds that each child had the oppertunity to be Mr Wolf. This was a huge hit, and Jayden has since requested we teach him all the other outside backyard games we know. In fact, even after the other children left our two played several more rounds of this game.

In the book a Samovar boils water; in the manual the idea is to discuss boiling and freezing points of water. However, we did the same thing this time as we did last time and we discussed the water cycle instead. I don't know why, but boiling water always makes me think of the water cycle.

We put on the Magic School Bus Wet All Over video that the kids enjoyed while working on water cycle crowns. The crowns are super simple to make too. For each crown you need 1 1-inch by 6-inch strip of yellow, grey, light blue, and white paper.  On the light blue paper you write precipitation, we also glued 4 big blue rain drops on the blue strip. The yellow strip says The Sun's Heat and we added a big yellow sunshine as well. Then the grey strip says evaporation.  Finally, the white strip says Condensation and we put 2 fluffy white clouds upon it. We taped each strip together so we had one big circular crown we could wear.

The kids wore their crowns and gathered round the stove while we reproduced the water cycle and sang a song. We held a tray of ice cubes over a pan of boiling water. We explained that the heat of the stove represented the sun's heat, the steam was evaporation, the ice cube tray was the condensation. Within a short time the ice cube tray was "raining" and we had our precipitation!

Lastly, we filled in a Mad Lib as a way to come up with descriptive sentences. We just printed a couple off the computer. We also handed our bear masks, and the printable bear cards from National Geographic For Kids.

Another mother brought a delicious cake in honour of her son's upcoming birthday, and while we reproduced the water cycle and filled in our Mad Lib she freehanded Boris bear out of that cake! He even had a cute little red felt belt! Unfortunately I didn't think to snap a photo of it, which is a true shame because I'm still in awe of her creativity and ability to slice that cake up so quickly!

Notes: The Water Cycle fun all came from The Mailbox book Quick & Easy Science Fun  for grades 1-3. I really love The Mailbox company science books, they are always full of fun stuff!  They also had other ideas, but we use the quickest and most simplest for our fun day. The song was sung to the tune of "The Mulberry Bush":

The water cycle goes round and round,
Round and round,
Round and round.
The Water cycle goes round and round;
It happens every day.

First, the water evaporates,
First, the water evaporates;
It rises towards the sky.

Next the water comes together,
Comes together,
Comes together
Next, the water comes together,
Condensing to form clouds.

Then the water falls to the Earth,
Falls to the Earth,
Falls to the Earth.
Then the water falls to the Earth
as Precipitation.

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