Snowmen jugs, math games & paper towel science

This is what a typical school day looks for us during the holiday season.

I dreamed of science experiments last night (no, seriously, I did!) so I decided it was time to do one.  We choose this paper towel color experiment (partly because it was the one in my dream, but mostly because I had all the supplies and thought it would be quick and fun for the boys).  The instructions and photos on the linked site are awesome!

The boys couldn't decide on two colors so we made one cup red and yellow (also known as orange) and the other cup was blue.  The first time our paper towels fell into the filled cup completely so the second time I used a wet fingertip to "adhere" the dry ends of the paper towels to the dry cups.  It takes quite a while but eventually the colored water travels up the paper towel and into the empty cup and the colors mix.

 It was pretty neat but a bit slow for the boys (it took over an hour before we had green water in the middle).   So we left it sitting on the table while we did other subjects.

Evan did another couple dot- to- dot sheets for math today  (and he got them all right the first time all by himself even though one of the sheets went up to 36!).

 Ian made up some targets for a multiplication game found here.  All you need is three pieces of paper and a deck of cards.  We printed out the score sheet they had on the site but you could easily make up your own if you don't have access to a printer.  It was quick and fun and definitely something we'll play again.  Alec played a second round with us (and did fantastic!).

Basically you make three target sheets that say x2, x3, and x5 (though really you could use any three times tables but these are the ones we're focusing on now).  Then you flip cards from the deck onto one of the targets.  When your card (we'll say an 8) lands on x2 you say 8x2= 16 and write down the number 16 as your score.  You play ten rounds and then add up your score.  We only learn up to the 12's so our jack and queen were worth 11 and kings were worth 12 while ace's were worth 1.  They loved it!  And Ian quickly learned that you really want to try and get your card to land on the higher number so your score is the highest.  I even had Ian add up our scores for us at the end. He added up 10 2-digit numbers with just a tiny bit of help from me! So tons of addition and multiplication practice there. 

While I had the cards out Alec and I decided to play the place value game.   We took 10 cards each (no face cards) and laid out a pyramid.  The first row has one card then the second row has two cards... you get the idea.  Anyway we flip over the first row and the one with the largest number wins 1 point.  We turn over the next two cards and call out our two digit number, the one with the largest number gets 2 points, and we continued on until someone had 25 points.  We had to reshuffle every other turn so I'd recommend using multiple decks of cards; especially if more than two people want to play.  We also ran into a great lesson when the 10 card popped up in the ones, tens, or hundreds column as we had to "carry" that over to the next place.  It was a fun and easy way to learn about place value and I'm sure we'll be playing that one again too!   

We read two chapters in Thanksgiving on Thursday and two chapters in Bunnicula (which the boys are loving and laughing at!), then we read few more chapters in our Hugo book.  That was enough reading for now.  But, honestly, the older two boys didn't want me to stop reading at all.  Every time I put the bookmark in our book I got a loud groan.  It's so nice to see them so interested in so many books.  They're able to keep all the books straight too and usually can tell me in great detail where we left off the day before (something I can't always do!).

We started watching the Australia movie we borrowed from the library.  It's 220 minutes long and broken into 4 parts so it will take us a while to watch it all.  Today we learned about the Outback.  It was very interesting but a bit upsetting at parts (like when they hunted 'roos!).  I think it was a bit too documentary like to keep Evan's attention for very long but the older two boys seemed to enjoy it and learned quite a bit about the outback towns and the Aborigines.  In fact, they all ended up watching part 2 during lunch.  We learned about Queensland and the coral reefs.

We made milk Jug snowmen.   I thought these were just too adorable not to make when I found them on Pinterest and I had all the supplies handy.  With yesterday's snow the boys really wanted to make a real snowman but we only got a dusting of snow so I thought I'd console them with this project:

  • Take an empty, clean milk jug and cut out large round black circles for the eyes, a few smaller ones for the smile and adhere with a glue gun (you can use paper or foam).  
  • We then cut orange triangles out of paper for the nose and used the glue gun once again.  
  • Then we decorated them; I told them they could use old hats or we could make ear muffs out of pom poms, curling ribbon, or yarn. 
  •  Lastly we cut a 3 sided flap in the back of each jug and added a string of Christmas lights inside each one each.  
We arranged them on our front stoop (but made sure they were protected from rain and snow) and plugged them in.  They're just darling and it only took a few moments to make!



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