Wednesday, 30 May 2012


We ended off our school year with a fabulous First Nations Potlatch at our new property in Langley.  Everyone dressed up in the various items we made throughout the year (headdresses, bead necklaces, tomahawks, etc).  The kids had also drawn names to determine who they would make a gift for.........

Dane made Bekah a beautiful, bead bracelet and, in return, Bekah made him a vibrant belt/arm band (worn proudly over his shoulder in the picture).  I'm not sure why it looks like Bekah is 'knighting' Dane in the picture :-)

Here Micah is enjoying the owl (one of her faves) picture Sarah had carefully selected and coloured for her.

Matt and Levi are overjoyed with their gifts
(special notes/pictures from Levi and a carved totem pole from Matthew).

We cheated significantly on lunch - our original plan was to make authentic food for lunch (salmon, berries and corn) but the pizza and cupcakes
were too tempting!

Such cuteness and ferociousness all wrapped up in 6 amazing packages!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Shakespearean Art

Bekah loves all things Shakespeare and has recently been enjoying copying figures out of one of the renditions of his plays.

"Seeing" and "Hearing" Sound

Big Idea: Sound travels as one of two kinds of waves - compression and transverse. Here we are using a big "slinky" to see the waves:

Using singing rods we attempted to create a demonstration of how compression waves can be amplified in a metal rod by stroking the rod with our fingers and a little pine sap to set up a standing wave.  We weren't successful, however, and will need some more practice to make it work!

Big Idea: Sound waves can be transmitted through solids, liquids and gases.  We found that sound was loudest and clearest through a solid (sugar crystals) vs air and water.

Then we discovered that you can make a very LOUD GONG sound by using a metal spoon to tap a wire hanger attached with string to a paper cup at your ear.

Big Idea: Playing with sound can very entertaining!  Especially using soup-can telephones:

and boom whackers!  This is our rendition of "Mary Had a Little Lamb":

And then a little snuggle to finish off the afternoon ....

Preparing for the Potlatch

Shhhh ..... the kids are busy preparing their gifts to give away at our Potlatch this week (a carved & painted totem pole, a decorated belt and arm band)!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Mowing the Lawn!

With a little help from his Nana, Matt mowed the lawn for the first time today!

Totem Pole

During our last session of our year-long First Nations unit we created our own totem pole in the style of the Natives of the Pacific West Coast.  Each kid chose a symbol that represented something from our unit study for their section (box) of the totem pole.
Levi immediately went for the Ipad to find a specific image of a bird he wanted to do and then got right down to work.  Matt took a little bit longer to decide what to do but then created an original canoe with vivid salmon images on it. 
Our bird-lover, Dane, found an image of an eagle that he loved in one of the books and set about reproducing it on his box.  Bekah knew that she wanted to do salmon and, after looking at some different images online, came up with her own depiction.
The proud artists!  I love how they all used the vivid colours and bold lines so typical of First Nations art (top box - Matt's canoe, 2nd from top - Levi's bird with First Nations design, 3rd from top - Dane's eagle, bottom box - Bekah's salmon).

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Math Art

Matt learned about different kinds of lines in math today.  After the lesson he decided to draw a picture using only vertical and horizontal lines (and then he laid down on the floor with his sister on top of him!?? :-)).

Monday, 7 May 2012

Set Fire to the Rain

I was listening to Adele's song "Set Fire to the Rain" while preparing for a cycle class and later asked my kids why the song talked about setting fire to rain (something that is hard to do in everyday life). Bekah and I both immediately jumped to talking about how it could be a metaphor. Matt pipes up all of a sudden though and says "But Mom, that is easy! Just take those small things out. You know, the oxygen. Then you can burn the hydrogen." Not bad for an eight year old with no formal chemistry background :-)

I love how my kids take totally different approaches to the same question.  Makes it fun to be around them.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cornbread 'N Chili

Bekah loves to bake and is now able to do simple recipes by herself. The cornbread she is making in the pictures was yummy. She has also started meal planning with me (this is a major bonus for the family because then it actually gets done)!

Kitchen Chemistry on a Rainy Afternoon

Matthew just got a "kitchen chemistry" set and so the kids were hard at work using it this week.  I love the intense look of concentration on all of their faces.  I guess science is serious stuff!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

"Blow a Wish"

Bekah drew this whimsical dandelion to go with a poem she wrote the other day. I think it is delightful!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

"Seeing" Sound

Big Idea #1: Sound is produced when objects vibrate.
Discovering that sound moves in waves by watching a candle flame flicker when the can is banged, Rice Krispies "jump" in time with the music and a soap film bubble move with music.

Big Idea #2: Sound is also produced when gas expands rapidly.
Inflated paper bags and baking soda mixed with vinegar both produce big bangs (rubbing the rim of a wine glass can also produce an annoying sound).

Big Idea #3: We use our ears to hear sound.
Dane drew the outer ear which he then attached to two chairs as the "doorway".  This led through the auditory chamber (blue blanket) through the eardrum (pantyhose) into the middle ear: the hammer, anvil and stirrup (hammer, pie plate and slingshot).

The cochlea (seashell filled with water) then led to the auditory nerve (extension cord).  Sarah and Micah then concluded our journey through the ear with some (random!) drawing.  Who could have guessed we'd have such an exciting adventure under the kitchen table?!!!