Wednesday, August 15, 2012

All About Habitats For Kids

We are working on a Science unit on habitats and I thought I'd share our journey. I love taking these journeys with my kids. I often learn (or sometimes relearn) just as much as they do. 
 To get started learning about habitats and adaptations click here to watch a short video. There will be questions during the video to check for understanding.
We watched this Magic School Bus video, "All Dried Up" to build interest in learning more about desert habitats.

Next I am planning on doing a cactus experiment to learn about how they can survive in the desert. Begin by watching this very short video on adaptations of desert plants.

Instruct your student that the cactus plant can survive with very little water, and some kinds can live for years without any water at all. This is why they do so well in hot dry desserts. Cactus roots spread out near the surface so that they can soak up moisture from dew or brief rainstorms. Most plants lose water through tiny breathing holes in their leaves and stems but not the cactus. The cactus has spines instead of leaves, and fewer holes in their stems, so less water can escape.

Tell the children that when it does rain, the cells inside the stem of the cactus absorb water the way a sponge does if you were to sprinkle water on it or try to wipe water off a surface with it.

Try the following experiment.

Grab 6 paper towels and get them nice and damp.

Roll 3 of them and put them in a plastic grocery bag, plastic wrap or wax paper.

Roll the other 3 towels but don't put anything around them.

Put all the paper towels in the sun.

Come back the next day to make observations.

Explain that the "skin" surrounding the one set of paper towels is similar to the skin of the cactus in that it keeps the moisture in the paper towel.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Math U See for First Grade

I am considering using Math U See for my daughter for first grade.  I love how the concepts are explained.  Also high on my list are taking an "a-la-cart" class from K12 or using a Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach book.   While on the site I noticed that you can print out extra worksheets for whatever lesson you are on.  Just go here if you want to check out how to print math worksheets for Math U See.  Another thing you can do online with Math U See is review math facts.  You just choose which fact family you want to review and click start.  Your student then just types the answer for each math fact and clicks enter.  Here's a picture to see what it looks like:

PS.  Wondering what your first grader needs to know or actually k-8th grader?  You can look at E Hirsch's guide online.  I like to refer to it from time to time especially when I am thinking about curriculum.

And one more thing!  Some time I'll have to do a whole other post about this but...have you seen the Kahn Academy Website?  Holy Math lessons!  This thing starts with simple arithmetic lessons and includes TONS of lessons on calculus, Algebra, Trigonometry and Physics just to name a few.  I could have really used the Geometry lesson here back in the day.  And now it even has History lesson, healthcare...I could go on.  Oh.  And did I mention that these are all free?