Friday, September 30, 2011

Rocky Planet

Friday we enjoyed a nice lesson from Holly's First Eearth Encylclopedia book. The portion we read on was called Rocky Planet and discussed how the earth is made up of rock - molten and solid. We looked at how rocks erode, change and took a good look at The Rock Cycle.

We used her boxes of rocks and minerals to do some obversation and really see some Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary rock. We reviewed the rock cycle and watched a couple of short online videos that did a nice job of explaining the rock. As well, Holly enjoyed an online game that helps you learn the Rock Cycle.

A couple the online videos we enjoyed are this one from NASA  and this Instructor. Holly enjoyed them. This was good for a real basic introduction to looking at rocks, the Rock Cycle, earth and how to tell the difference in rocks.

She really wanted to create a model shown in the book - the mountain, with glaciers, rivers and flow into a larger body of water - to show how changes happen. I agree it sounds fun, but we are not prepared to do a project like that yet. I have a feeling it won't be long before we do some fun stuff like that though!!

Nature Club ~ Federation Forest Walk

Friday we enjoyed a wonderful day with our Nature Club out at the Federation Forest. This is a forest we have passed several times when we head out camping and never stopped to enjoy... we will be certainly taking time to visit this area again as it is simply lovely!

We first headed down to the river to check it out and boy what a treat! The timing was perfect for seeing salmon who had been spawning. The smell in the air was something else, bad - but clearly nature doing what it does best! Salmon littered the edges of the beach, salmon who had already experienced their life's journey and now came to a close. In the river you could see more swimming and falling behind - so tired from the long path. The salmon is an amazing creature simply put!!! Holly loved this - we talked about it while on the beach but reviewed it more later in the day. The cool thing is that next month our Nature Club is focusing on just the salmon... this was a wonderful prelude to it.

After some journaling on the salmon and lunch we gathered up for a walk through the forest. We found a long loop trail that brought us through a couple of different styles of forest and back up along the river. The kids enjoyed  many discoveries including bug, slugs, scat, interesting trees, landscapes, fun play areas and for Holly... devil's club. That discovery was not much fun, but she is a tough kiddo - we did a little treatment on the trail and she toughed it out without any whining. She really is one of the toughest kids I know!

The Federation Forest was a wonderful treat for our Nature Club and we are thrilled we took a day to explore and learn there!

Federation Forest, Holly age 6 - First Grade

Starting on our adventure!

The river.

Looking for salmon on the beach.

He loves the water!

One decayed salmon.

One in the water, expired!

Working their way up stream. (See the fin?)

You can really see this ones fin.

Exploring a dead one...

Recording her findings in her nature journal.

Our crew - working away!

Pretty little thing, such a bright yellow!

An interesting mushroom she found.

Need some free time in the forest, right?

Tall trees.


This tree came down, roots way up in the air. It has huge rocks in the root ball up there. It was very interesting to say the least!

Adding that interesting tree to her journal.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Log Cabin

We read the first section of a Pioneer Sampler and Holly was just entranced by it. When were done she asked to keep going - a great sign that this will be a really fun unit study!

After reading and having a nice discussion I set her up with Lincoln Logs to recreate her own log cabin. This was a fun task, hard to keep Hudson busy... but worth it. As she built she had to work at it a bit to get the right system down with her Lincoln Logs - she would build to high on one side and then disassemble part of it to get a different row started. It was a great little learning lesson for her.

She was proud of her log cabin when it was finished.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pioneer Study & Fort Nisqually

We are officially started on our Pioneer Study. The book we are reading through is called A Pioneer Sampler by Barbara Greenwood. This book follows a fictional family through the daily life of a family in 1840. We have several fun projects planned for this unit... some I am really looking forward to!

To kind of kick it off we decided to visit Fort Nisqually (during the Smithsonian's Museum Day - free tickets), a replica of a fort during the pioneer era, ran by the Hudson Bay Company. The fort we visited is not actually located in the same area as the original however it was a great treat for Holly to see some artifacts, learn about some ways of life and get a feel for the era we are about to embark on.

She really had little idea of what to expect. We have not discussed this era too much so it was an eye opener for her to see their homes, how little they owned, the way they had to travel to buy goods, trap/hunt their food, etc. She enjoyed learning about it and is looking forward to learning a lot more. This is a link to Fort Nisqually.