Category: Home Learners Group

{LEGO Build Challenge} : Pet

This week the kiddos were challenged to build a pet.  The pet could be one they already have, one they want or an imaginary pet.  It was really fun to see the kids get creative.

LEGO Build Challenges

A Horse

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A Dragon

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A bullet shooting dog

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A Loch Ness Monster

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A bird ??? ( I can’t remember them all)

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Have you created any LEGO pets?

{LEGO Build Challenge} : Bridge

This week’s building challenge at our LEGO group was to build a bridge.

LEGO Build Challenges

Rules:
1.  Can use any LEGOs you wish.
2. Your bridge must be at least 1 inch off the ground.
3.  Your bridge must connect two things.  Examples: mountain, island, building, house, etc.
4.  Your bridge must be big enough for a mini figure to travel across.

This week we decided to make this an individual challenge, so that everyone could build the bridge they wanted.  By having each kid work on their own bridge they were really able to showcase their creativitiy.  Here are the kids’ creations.

Thing 1′s Build

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Thing 2′s Build

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Have you built a LEGO bridge? Leave a link in the comments below so we can see your creation.

{LEGO Build Challenge} : Creature

Since our move from Texas to Georgia the boys and I have been trying to connect with local homeschoolers, but we haven’t had the best of luck so far.  We have also been looking for some type of LEGO class, similar to the LEGO We Do Robotics class they were involved with in Texas.  Almost two weeks ago, I spent half the morning scouring the internet, once again, for ways for us to get connected with other homeschoolers here in Georgia.  When suddenly it hit me, we should start a LEGO group of our own.

I would love to do a LEGO We Do Robotics group, but I can’t afford to buy the kits.  So instead, with help of the boys, we decided to create a LEGO Build Challenge group.

How it works:
We get together each week.  To start, I give the kids about 5 minutes to build whatever they want.  When the five minutes is up the kids take about 30 seconds and share what they have built.  This gives everyone time to get there are get settled and start to focus on the activity for the day.

Once everyone has shared their 5 minute build.  I introduce the topic for the day and give them the rules of the build.  They then divide into pairs and get to work.  Depending on what the build challenge determines how much time they have to build.  After the time is up, the groups take a minute or two and share what they built.

This week was our first week and they boys had a great time and are excited about next week.  They were also able to meet several other boys around their own age.

LEGO Build Challenges

This Weeks Challenge:  Create a Creature

Since this was the first week and I was unsure how everything was going to go and how it was all going to work, I went with a very open and broad topic.

Rules:
1. Can use any LEGOs you wish.
2.  They had to name their creature.
3.  They had to tell us what it eats.
4. They had to tell us about its habitat.

I even provided them with a handout that had the rules, questions to help them complete all of the rules and a place where they could draw a picture of their build.

Our Creatures:

A triple headed snake

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Another snake

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A Ladybug. (Thing 1 and his partner built this)

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I really think this was a great experience for these homeschooled kids.  For one they all seemed to have a great time, but it also allowed them the opportunity to…

  •  Speak in front of a group.
  • Use creative and critical thinking.
  • Work collaboratively.  This is probably where my boys struggled the most, because they were not working with each other, but with other kids.  So they had to learn how to handle differences of opinions because, at our house they usually all agree.

Each week I hope to share with you our LEGO Build group challenges, maybe it can inspire the LEGO lover in your life.

 

Exploring Energy with Rubber Bands

Who doesn’t love to shoot rubber bands?

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Today we explored energy by using rubber bands.  This science activity was a huge hit with the kids.

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Exploring Energy with Rubber Bands

Supplies:
tape measure
ruler
rubber bands

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Activity:

1. I started by introducing the two types of energy to the kids, potential energy and kinetic energy.  I shared the idea of potential energy, by having them squat down, because they have stored energy.  They then jumped as high as they could, demonstrating kinetic energy, or energy in motion.

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 2.  The kids then took turns shooting a rubber band.  We placed a ruler on a table.  Then hooked the rubber band to the front of the ruler.  The kids then pulled the rubber band back to either 10 cm, 15 cm, or 20 cm and let it launch.

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3. The kids then measured the distance that the rubber band flew.  They then recorded the distance on their chart.

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To take it further you can have the kids graph their distances.  You could also average the distances and have the kids graph it.

This turned out to be a big hit.  Once we got the kids started, they were able to take it over except for a little help shooting the rubber band.  They would shoot the rubber band, race the where it landed, measure the distance, and then record the distance on their chart.

It provided great number reading and writing practice for all of the kids and they had fun doing it.  What else could you ask for?

 

Stained Glass Shamrocks

Last Wednesday, the boys and I hosted a craft play date.  With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I decided to do a St. Patrick’s Day themed craft.  After searching the internet for ideas, I decide to have the kids make stained glass shamrocks since it would allow all the kids to participate.  We had 2 to 5 year olds doing the craft.

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Stained Glass Shamrocks

Supplies:
Contact Paper
Tissue Paper

Directions:
1. Cut the contact paper to size.
2. Take the paper backing off the contact paper and lay it sticky side up.
3.  Place pieces of tissue on the contact paper.
4.  When you have finished putting all the tissue paper on the contact paper.  Place another piece of contact paper on top of the other one so that there will be contact paper on both sides.
5.  Cut the contact paper out into the shape of a shamrock and cut it out.  I created a template out of construction paper that the kids could then trace using a crayon.
6. Now hang it in a sunny place.

What the other mom and I found interesting was that none of the kids made a green shamrock, they all elected to make rainbow shamrocks.  Whatever makes them happy!

 

 

Fun with Magnets!

Today we had friends over to explore magnets.  I thought I would share some of the things we did.

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What is magnetic?
To start, I had collected 6 different items, three which I knew were magnetic and three which I knew that weren’t.  We then went around the table and I let the kids chose an object.  All three kids would then hypothesize whether it was magnetic or not and then the child who chose the object would see if it was magnetic our not.  They would then record their answer on a chart that I had printed out beforehand for them.

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Magnets Have Poles
Next we talked about how magnets have poles just like the earth does and we discussed the names of the poles.  Then using two different horseshoe magnets  (the ones we used had N and S on them), we had the kids test what would happen if we put the North and South together, North and North together and South and South together. This also allowed us to discuss the words attract and repel as they recorded their answers on the chart I had provided.

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After we used the horseshoe magnets, we uses two star and two donut shaped magnets I had.  These magnets do not have the poles marked, however, I had taped colored squared to the poles.  Red for North and blue for South.  We then repeated the same experiment as above, just using the colors.  It was a great way to reinforce what we had talked about and the words attract and repel.

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Once we were done discovering what was magnetic and the fact that magnets had poles, we then moved onto a few just plain old fun activities that you can do with magnets.

First we tried to make a tissue paper butterfly fly without actually touching the paperclip.  This was hard than I suspected, but it was probably because I needed a stronger magnet.

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Next, we magnetized a pair of scissors.  I showed the kids how I could not pick up a paperclip with the scissors, then I rubbed a magnet, in the same direction, several times along the metal part of the scissors.  This magnetized the scissors and allowed me to pick up some paperclips with the scissors.  (I guess I didn’t get a picture of that one…)

The kids then used the magnets to move paperclips and cut up pipe cleaners around in plastic bottles.

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We then tested to see if we could move paperclips using magnets, even if they were in water.

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There was just also a lot of playing with lots of paperclips and the different magnets.

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Overall, I would say the kids had a great time exploring magnets, especially since they didn’t immediately get up and go back to playing.

What fun have you had with magnets?

Exploring Electricity

Thing 1 loves to ask questions.  At some point recently he asked me how the lights worked. I tried to explain the best I could, but we home school, so why not show him.

Supplies:
lightbulbs with lightbulb holders
6 volt battery
2.5 feet of insulated copper wire (2 – 1 foot pieces and 1 – 6 inch piece)
various metal and non-metal objects (buttons, pennies, nickles, paperclips, plastic links, aluminum foil, paper,  etc.)
switch (optional)
buzzer (optional)

I ordered everything, except the various metal and non-metal objects from homesciencetools.com.

Directions: 
Since this was being done with a 4 year old and two five year olds, I went ahead and attached the  two 1 foot pieces of wire to the battery.  I then attached the 6 inch piece of wire to the lightbulb holder.

First we let the kids play to see if they could get the light bulb to light up.

Once everyone was able to get the lightbulb to light up, we talked about the basics of a circuit and how a circuit must be complete in order for the lightbulb to light up.

Next, the kids added the various metal and non-metal objects to the circuit to see if they would conduct electricity.  This is where the kids really started having fun. It didn’t take them long to see figure out which types of objects were conductors.

Towards the end I added the switch to the circuit.  I think this really helped Thing 1 see how a real light switch works.

 

Thing 3 also liked this part, because it was something he could easily do.  He has spent a lot of time flipping the switch back and forth, noting how the light turns on and off.

Obviously you can go a lot more in depth into what is actually happening when the circuit is complete and why certain objects conduct electricity and others don’t.  However, it is important to remember your audience.

How have you explored electricity?

Just another day Learning with the Cameron Clan!

Mommy Thoughts {8.20-8.24}

1.  On Wednesday the boys and I went on little walk.  Thing 1 had the camera this time and took lots of amazing pictures.  You can see more of Thing 1′s work {HERE}.

2.  We are using REAL Science Odyssey – Life for Thing 1′s science curriculum this year.  This week’s unit was on animal and plant cells.  On Friday, the lab called for making a plant and animal cell out of Jello.  This picture is of all three boys enjoying the Jello once we were  done with the lab part for the day.

3.  We started off the week with some play time at the park and a picnic outside.

4. On Tuesday, Thing 1 and Thing 2 explored animal cells by looking at an egg.  This is also from REAL Science Odyssey.

5. Tuesday morning was dreary and filled with rain (really rare right now).  So after running a few errands, the boys and I came home and worked on puzzles.

6.  Lunch Date!  On Wednesday the boy and I headed out for a super rare lunch date, like so rare, I think we have never had one.  It was a lot of fun and something that we are going to do more often.  It is also a great way to practice tables manners.

7. Thing 1 tried his hand at origami for the first time and he did an awesome job!  He was also super proud of his swan.

8. This weeks home learners group activity was boats that float where we discovered what boat design could hold the most pennies.  You can read more about the activity {HERE}.

9.  Tuesday afternoon I did school with both boys, at the same time.  That hasn’t happened since January/February because it is just too hard on me and the boys.  However, since Thing 1 is able to do some of his work independently, it is now possible every once in a while.

How was your week?

Boats that Float

Today we had our home learners group over to our house for a fun science activity, boats that float.

Using non-drying modeling clay, I created 7 different boats.  We had bowl shaped boats (yellow), disk shaped boat (blue), rectangle (green), canoe (orange), a pontoon boat (black), cup shaped boat (yellow), and a sombrero shaped boat (pink).

First, the children all made a guess or hypothesis as to which boat was going to hold the most pennies.  To be honest, most kids either picked their favorite colored boat or the one they thought was shaped the coolest.

Then, working in pairs, the kids took turns placing a penny in the boat. We recorded the number of pennies it took to sink each boat. The pontoon boat (black), sunk after only three pennies.  The bowl shaped boat (yellow), was the boat that held the most pennies.  It sank after holding 50 pennies.

Once we were done with the experiment, each kid had the opportunity to use some clay to make their own boat and see if it would float.

The boys had a great time and Thing 1 was eventually able to build a boat that would float.

Have you ever done an experiment with boats?

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