Space Cadet – Spaceship Earth

Remember a week or so ago I mentioned we had registered for the Unlimited Space Agency challenge?  Well it’s now started and each Monday, Elsa will be set a mission and this continues until Tim Peake’s rocket launches to the International Space Station (ISS) in December.

Each mission is split into 3 sections (Maths, English and Science).

Firstly, for Mission 1, we watched the intro video by Jon.

Watching the Mission 1 video Watching the intro video

English

Research and explain various information about the ISS and Tim Peake.

Elsa decided she wanted to do poster for both of these elements as she finds it easier to collate information that way.

International Space Station

For the ISS, she decided to write her information on pictures of planets which I thought was inspired so we found a lovely set to print out.

We looked at a video showing you around the ISS, which was fascinating, although Elsa was quite shocked at the toilet and where that goes once it gets full. 🙂

Mooching around the ISS Mooching around the space station Mooching around the space station

We looked up various information including:

  • who is there at the moment,
  • what they have to do while they are there,
  • we also looked at how fast they travel, and
  • where they are right now (which when we checked they were flying over New Zealand)

We found out that, at present, there are 6 people aboard, 2 of whom are staying up there for 1 year as an experiment to see how the body reacts to being there twice as long as usual.

We also found out that the ISS has had a crew constantly aboard since the 2nd November 2000 (so 15 years last week).

Creating ISS poster Finished ISS poster

Tim Peake

This year is an exciting one for Great Britain as it is the first time a British astronaut will have gone to the ISS.  Therefore, finding information out about him was very interesting (I’m jealous as he’s achieved so much in his life already and he’s younger than me 😉 )

Creating Tim Peakes information leaflet IMG_6184 IMG_6222

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Mission 1 Part 1 Complete

Science

For this mission we used ideas from Natural Born Homeschooler‘s space unit which I had previously downloaded and Homeschool Share‘s Planets and Stars, Sun and Moon units.

Where is the ISS and Earth in our solar system?  Research the different planets including size, what it is made of and distance from the sun. 

Firstly, we discussed the different planets, their sizes, what they were made of, how they got their names etc. and then Elsa completed some worksheets we found from 3 Dinosaurs (in PDF 1, although I have used a lot of sheets from the other PDFs  for Anna, to include her in this space challenge).  She also filled in mini books on their distance from the sun and whether or not they are solid or gas.

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We also learned that the planets have very different temperatures, from being far too hot to being extremely cold.

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We then made a Heliocentric model of the solar system.

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Elsa also created each planet out of air drying clay and put them in the order they are from the sun.

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Mission 1 Part 2 Complete

Maths

How far away from the Earth is the ISS?  How long it will take to get there?  How long it takes to orbit the Earth?  How many sunsets will be seen in days, weeks and months?

After looking up the information on the internet, we had to work out the answers to some questions.  Elsa couldn’t do these mentally yet, however, knew how to work them out so wrote how to do them in the workings part of the sheet I’d prepared.  She then used a calculator to get the answers.

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During our research of the planets we found out how to work out how much you would weigh if you were to stand on each planet.  I asked Elsa if she knew how to do this using a calculator, she said she could.  So I left her to it. 🙂

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The results were she is over 2 1/2 x heavier on Jupiter than on earth and under 1/2 as heavy on Mercury.  This resulted in a conversation about gravity. 🙂

Mission 1 Part 3 Complete

Elsa’s work has been uploaded and she has been awarded with her badge.

Spaceship Earth

 

Coding with Dad on the Dragon 32

In 1983, when I was around 10 years old, my father bought our family a Dragon 32 computer. These were the days when computers had ‘Made in England’ stamped on the bottom and became affordable enough and small enough to have in the home.

home school computer lesson ukWe are talking the era of the early ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, that kind of thing. At that time, nobody outside of the military or science establishment (people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee) would have known what the internet was. In fact, it was probably still called ‘Interconnected Network’ or something.

These were real computers, where you had to write programs to get them to do anything, or at least buy a cassette tape that might have had a program or two on.

My parents were not well-off by any means, at the time I seem to recall it cost maybe £300 or so – based on averages wages at the time I would have said that is an equivalent spend of maybe £1200 today. A fair wedge for any working parent.

Cutting a long story very short, this computer was my companion throughout much of my childhood and is both the foundation of and trigger for my career in IT. Today I own and operate a small IT support business and I personally spend time writing software for my own and other businesses.

Home School Computing Lesson Dragon 32With my Home School hat on, the first point I want to make here is that I learned about computers in spite of the state school system and not as a result of it. Now we are home-schooling our children I find it very telling that the foundation of my career is based upon an investment that happened by my parents in our home and is most certainly not something that happened as a result of attending any school.

Another interesting fact is that, until I attended college, I was completely self-taught when it came to using and programming computers. Schools had neither the time, expertise nor the equipment necessary to teach me the skills I would eventually need to have a career in IT. This is more of an observation than a criticism, but over thirty years later I am reasonably sure this has changed very little.

And so, it is for these reasons, I fired up that 30 year old computer this week and started teaching my eldest little girl to program BASIC on the Dragon 32. I have to say she loved it, and so did I!

 

Geography Post by Elsa – China

We have been home schooling since September 2015. We are semi structured so we do a number of lessons.

Mummy wrote about the curriculum before.

We have been following a curriculum by Erica at Confessions of a Home Schooler.

We have learnt about China and South Korea.

For China we learnt where it is, the capital city, language (I learnt to say hello in Chinese, which is Ni hao (Knee how)) and we also learnt some fun facts.

We made paper, then we wrote Chinese numbers up to ten on it.

We did a zentangle picture.

We also built the great wall of China out of Lego.

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We even tried Chinese food. My favourite bit was the egg noodles.

I have enjoyed learning about China.

 

Our Wildlife Garden – a work in progress

I thought it would be nice to encourage the children to create a wildlife garden so we could watch what bugs, animals and birds use it over the various seasons.  We picked a corner of the garden which would be suitable and got to work (and hard work it was)

Firstly, we cleared the area of nettles, big weeds, bricks and rubbish.  Then dug a hole to fit our pond (which is half of an old sandpit).

  

While we were digging we found this little fellow 🙂 Wildlife count 1.

We then put in some pond liner and filled it with water.  We also had a little visitor. (wildlife count 2) 🙂

We then cut off the excess pond liner and placed some shingle around it.  Then we placed some big stones around the edge to give it a bit of a border and a huge stone in the actual pond.

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We then made a little ladder for the frogs to get out (as seen in a library book).

We made a bug hotel out of old logs.

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We made a bee hotel out of bamboo and a little watering can plant pot we bought.

Finally we added a little fence around it and added some pond plants, a gnome, a flower windmill and toadstool.

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Next spring we will dig out the grass and add wildflowers.  We will also add a bird box and bird feeders.

 

Liquids, Solids and Gases

When we decided to home educate, I asked Elsa what she’d like to learn about and one thing she mentioned was liquids, solids and gases.

We did some worksheets from a book bought from The Works.  These books are good, but we don’t use them that often really.

She asked to do some experiments (eek)… so I hoped these would do.

Firstly, she’d seen a glass/arrow trick online and wanted to try that.  She kept on about it, so we discussed ‘how can we fit this into our liquids, solids and gases topic”?

So, how did we? I hear you ask.

We used a variety of different glasses/bottles (solid) and part filled them with water (liquid) and the rest of the bottle was still filled with air (gas) 🙂 don’t you just love an 8 year olds logic. 🙂

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We did this experiment to prove refraction.  We tried 4 different types of vessels to see if they were all the same or whether the size made any difference.  As it happens it does, the bigger the glass the further away it needs to be from the arrows for one of them to change. 🙂

The second experiment we did was ‘Can we change a solid into a liquid?’

This involved hot water and cold water and different solids. We tested each solid in both the hot and cold water to see if they would dissolve, whether they dissolved quicker or slower in hot or cold water and whether it turned back into a solid once we were done.

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Elsa enjoyed doing these experiments, although I’m not sure how suitable they are for the subject of liquids, solids and gases. 🙂

Infinity Tiles

On a HE website group I saw a link to this maths game from Babble Dabble Do.  No matter how you rotate each square they always fit together. How clever!  I thought Elsa and Anna would like to have a go at making one, I downloaded the template and let them colour them in following the pattern guide.

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OK, well Anna needed help as she doesn’t really enjoy colouring in (what a nuisance that is).

The girls then laminated them and cut them into the squares. They have had fun making them in a variety of ways.  Elsa has actually coloured another one to add an extra 9 squares to her game.

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Our Geography Curriculum

While mooching around the internet for inspiration I hit this fabulous website called Confessions of a Homeschooler. Erica, whose site it is has been home-schooling for a while now and therefore has some amazing resources. Most of them are free but she has some pay for ones as well, including a complete geography curriculum.

We also use her Daily Journal and Pre-R Daily Learning Journal (for Anna), both of which were free and I’ll do a blog about in the future.

Now I was always terrible at geography and I never got to really learn about where places are, their cultures etc., so I thought this is not only brilliant for Elsa, but also for me to learn more as well.

So I downloaded it, printed off the first 5 weeks of it and away we went.

Firstly, we made a passport to add the stamps of the flags of the various countries we will be visiting. (COAH is an American site so I downloaded the inserts from there and the front and back cover from Twinkl so we have a British passport).

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We continued with week 1, which was learning the different continents and oceans.  We also made a salt dough earth and labelled it with the different, oceans, continents and countries we would be learning about over the next year or so.

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We are missing out some parts of the curriculum but are following most of it and have done several countries so far and we will be blogging about them soon.

Elsa is loving this curriculum.

Our little Space Cadet

Did you know that Great Britain have their first astronaut flying to the International Space Station this December?  No? Well until recently I didn’t either.

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Tim Peake is the lucky man who will be living and working there for 6 months.

The Unlimited Space Agency are running a series of space missions for children aged 7 – 11 which is perfect for Elsa as she wanted to learn about space as one of her topics. It is aimed at schools, however HE children are able to do it too, (Hooray), so we have registered her to the Astro Science Challenge where hopefully she will learn about space, space travel and the ISS among other things.

It starts on the 2nd of November so I’ll post about it again after Mission 1….

Counting down…….5……..4…….3……2……1………BLASTOFF.

Mushrooms anyone?

As I’ve said previously, we are semi structured and therefore, we do some indoor learning and some outdoor learning.  Recently we went on an organised foraging trip at some local woods.

This was really interesting (to me particularly as we live in a very rural place, so there are loads of mushrooms and berries around).

N, who took us, along with a few other HE families, showed us different fungi, some of which we could eat, some of which we couldn’t because they don’t taste nice and some of which we shouldn’t because ‘they can make you dead and that’s not very nice’. I quote.  LOL.

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It was a very wet and miserable day but actually in the woods it wasn’t so bad, both Elsa and Anna enjoyed the walk, poking around at the different mushrooms and even finding ones which you’d think would be impossible to see.

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N collected different sorts of edible mushrooms on the walk around the woods and we were able to stop in a little opening in the wood, where she cooked them on this fabulous little cooker.  She had also brought along some crab apple slices with cinnamon, some fruit jelly and oat crackers, and some berry fruit sticks, which she let the children (and adults) all try.

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It was a very interesting and fun, if wet, day.