Letheringsett Watermill

We went to Letheringsett Watermill to have a look at how flour is made.  We saw the different cogs which move the stones and through the glass we could see the watermill moving too.

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There were some scales which are used to weigh the bags of flour.  The lady showed us the flour they were making and the shoot it comes down to go into the bags.  The day we went they were making whole wheat flour which felt courser than white flour as it used all of the grain.

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The stones are used to crush the grains and they have a different gap depending on the different flours they make. They are closer together to make finer flours. The lady then showed us some stones which had been used before.  They were very ground down.

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The flour they make in this mill is sold in the mill shop and also in local shops around the county.

It was a very interesting day.

Science – DNA

In January we had a special science lesson with a DNA expert.  She explained all about DNA, how many there are, where it is, what it looks like and how big it is (it’s tiny).

We then did a DNA extraction experiment. We were extracting DNA from a banana. Firstly we had to peel, chop and crush the banana.

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We then added some warm water and mushed the banana some more.

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We then filtered it into a beaker so we just had the liquid.

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When we had just the liquid, the lady added some pure alcohol to it.  This caused the DNA strands to separate from the liquid.

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The DNA strands floated on the top of the liquid.

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They separated instantly from the liquid once the alcohol was added.

This lesson was lots of fun.

Tie Dyeing T-shirts

We did some tie dye because we have been learning about rainforests and all the colourful birds, flowers and animals that live there.

First we wet our t-shirts in warm water so that the dye would sink in to the t-shirt.

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We twisted our t-shirts into two different patterns.  In this one we have called it a sunflower fold and did it by twisting from the middle.  We had no rubber bands so we used string to stop it from undoing.

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We made the dye by mixing the dye powder with warm water and salt.  We put the dye in squeezy bottles so it was easy to put the dye on the t-shirts.  Next we dyed our t-shirts by squirting the dye in random places.  We suggest wearing gloves or something on your hands so you don’t end up with colourful hands.

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We put our t-shirts in a bucket of cold water to set the dye into the cotton.  Then we rinsed them in warm water to get rid of any dye that didn’t soak into the t-shirt.

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Final results.

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Left to dry on the washing line.

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We really enjoyed doing this, it was really fun and we had great results.  We didn’t think they would turn out this well but they did.  They look amazing.  We can’t wait to wear them.

Rainforest Cocoa Bean Madness Game

We have been learning about the Amazon rainforest.  Part of our topic was to create a game.

We brainstormed our ideas on a board about what we might see or come across if you were in the rainforest and then we chose the best ones to make our game.

We decided to make a game where you had to collect cocoa beans as you went through the forest, but you met good and bad things as you went.

We called our game Cocoa Bean Madness.

Firstly we cut out lots of cocoa beans and coloured stones and other bits, which we had printed from the internet.  We used the stones to design the game and we used various bugs, villages and animals as ‘to do’ spots.  We made our own spinner which worked well.   We chose and printed out our own explorers as our moveable piece.  We also decorated the board to make it more colourful, with trees, rivers and other animals and flowers.

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The rules were, you use the spinner to move around the board and every stone you land on you collect a cocoa bean, but if you landed on a tiger you had to go back to the start, or if you landed on a spider you had to lose all your beans.  If you landed on a village you collected 4 extra beans and if you landed on a parrot you get to go to the nearest village.  The winner was the person with the most cocoa beans when everyone had finished.

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It’s a lot of fun to play this game and the coolest thing about it is we created it and made it ourselves.

Making Big Bubbles

While we were in Wales, we bought some big bubbles but we decided to see if we could make own mixture for when we ran out.

We found a recipe on a website called Steph’s two girls and decided to see if it would work for us.

This is the recipe we used.

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 a cup of cornflour
  • 1/2 a cup of washing up liquid
  • 1 tbsp. of glycerine
  • 1 tbsp. of baking powder

First we put 6 cups of water in a big bowl.

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Then we added cornflour  and stirred it well.

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Next we added baking powder, glycerine and washing up liquid.

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Then we stirred it gently and our spoons got caught together which made us giggle . 🙂

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While we left it for a hour to settle we used straws and string to make another big bubble blower. We slid the string through the straws.

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Then we pulled funny faces through the big bubble blower.

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We had fun, we managed to blow bubbles in all shapes and sizes.

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We made BIG BUBBLES which was fun.

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Some of our bubbles just floated about.

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WE LOVED IT!

Homemade Blackberry Jam

We live on a farming estate and therefore there are lots of lovely resources we can look at, find or use.  This time of year is good for wild fruits such as blackberries and elderberries.  We thought we’d make some jam.  I had never made any so it was experience for all of us.

First we picked some blackberries.  Anna proceeded to eat them as she picked but we still managed to collect plenty. We soaked them overnight in water and ice and a bit of salt to kill off any bugs.

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Today we rinsed and put them in the blender and then added jam sugar. Next we put it on the hob to melt the sugar.  When the sugar had melted we added some butter and let that melt.

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When the butter had melted, we brought it to boiling and let it boil for 4 minutes.

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We put it in some jars to cool down.

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Then we had some on tiger loaf for lunch.

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The verdict was, it was easy to make and delicious to eat.

Human Body – Our Insides

After completing our skeleton we next decided to do our insides, so Elsa drew around Anna (the keeping still part was pretty difficult) 🙂

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We had already ordered some information from the British Heart Foundation, which was brilliant and free (donation if you choose).

We discussed the different organs and what they did, then I asked the girls to put the internal organs where they thought they went.

Anna’s attempt was not bad, but I guess having your brain in your neck could cause a problem and maybe having the oesophagus that way round might make it difficult to eat. 🙂  Elsa’s was near on perfect with the placing of them, not the order though.  Well done girls.

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Next we drew the organs onto the life size drawing of Anna, which the girls had fun doing.

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We discussed the large and small intestines in a bit more in depth.  To give perspective, we measured out the actual lengths of them with wool.  The small intestine is 4 times as long as you are tall, and the large intestine is as long as you are tall,  The girls found it fascinating trying to fit it all in the little space in the body.  As you can see we did it perfectly 😉  We also watched a short video which shows the route of the digestive system, which was funny.

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Next job was talking more about the heart and what job it does (very important if you didn’t know) 😉 We did an experiment involving pulse rates, we took resting pulse, then did a minute each of star jumps, running, skipping and dancing to see what happened to our heart rates.  The girls enjoyed doing this and even made me do it.

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We talked about the respiratory system and how that works.  We drew and labelled the parts on our body drawing.

The final part of this topic was a discussion about muscles and tendons.  We talked about how they work in pairs, how many there are, what the tendons are there for and then we made a tendon hand which was fun, then Elsa wrote down what she remembered about what we had learned.

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Our completed drawings look great (and very busy) 🙂

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This has been a very interesting topic and we will come back to it in more depth in the future.

Matisse – Art Project 2

The art curriculum we are using had several art pieces to do by Henri Matisse.  This one was inspired from his Icarus cutout.  We decided to use paint instead of paper for the main part of the picture.

Firstly we drew round Anna to get the rough outline of our painting.

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Next we changed the shape so it was more fluid and similar to the original then started painting it in the same colours he did his cutouts from.

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Next we cut out random stars and stuck them on.  Elsa painted on the heart.

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Final painting.  This turned out really well.  The girls enjoyed doing it, it was lovely to spend time outside in the sunshine.

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Learning about Famous Artists – Henri Matisse

Lesson 3 of the Famous Artists curriculum, and this time it’s Henri Matisse.  Elsa researched him and we chatted about the different styles of art he did.  He is most famous for his painting/drawing with scissors which is basically a collage.  He used a lot of organic shapes and very few straight edges.  We had already done a name panel in this design so we decided to do his banner style this time.

Elsa decided one half of her banner was going to be a superhero style cutouts with Batman, Dangermouse and Star Wars all making an appearance.  The other side was more organic and like the style of Matisse a little more.

To start with she cut out different coloured rectangles and stuck them down in two strips, then cut and placed the various things she wanted to put on it to see how they fitted.  After moving them around for the best look, she stuck them down.

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This was great fun.  I know that because I did one too. 🙂

How Hill Adventure Time

I think I say this a lot but the beauty of home education is the freedom it gives us to try different things.  One thing that came up was a day out at How Hill in Norfolk.  What a fun place.

The children were able to try things they would never normally get to do such as thatching.

Thatching

We smashed the reed on the floor to make the bottom angled so it would look nicer and so it would line up with the roof. Then we put it on the roof with some special nail hooks called bottom layer hooks and hammered them down. On the second layer we needed different hooks called top layer hooks. After we had done three layers we had to stand underneath our roof while he threw a tub of cold water to see if it leaked but it DIDN’T luckily.

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Dry and Wet Woods

We went on a nature walk into the dry woods to do some tree spotting and log turning to spot bugs.  Anna found lots of little bugs.  Elsa played a game where her eyes were closed and she was led to a tree to touch it, then led back to the middle, then she had to open her eyes and try and find her tree again.

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We walked through some pretty gardens to the wet wood where the bogs, and the reed beds are.  There and lots of bugs on the river.  This was such a lovely walk.

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They wanted to show us how deep some of the bogs are in the wet wood, so Emma showed us a stick in the ground which was the tallest stick they could find and she pulled it out of the bog and it kept on going up to about 2m high.

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We all then went into a bird hide to spot birds on the broad. Anna didn’t see any, but Elsa saw a moorhen.  So not too many birds about that day.

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Pond Dipping

Finally we did some pond dipping and Elsa found a massive snail and some water boatman along with lots of other bugs and larvae.

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We had a GREAT day!