Saturday, January 02, 2010

What we did for school today.....

I was busy feeling guilty about not doing our Time 4 Learning today, and then I sat down to record what we DID do.

Anda made a mouse trap out of cracker boxes for her doppelganger's mouse. We danced. Caleb began working on a "handheld" computer game (from scratch) to enter in a competition--this involved understanding the limitations of the rules, coming up with a concept, and starting to develop the art and sprites (some of which he had to draw himself on the computer). Together, we studied the life of Johannes Kepler, what ancient models of planetary  movement consisted of and what the Keplerian model was (complete with a basic understanding of Kepler's three laws of planetary motion: that the planets moved in elliptical orbits, that they move faster on their orbit nearer the sun and slower further from the sun, and that planets on orbits that are further from the sun move slower; we also discussed astrology briefly). We also looked at Tycho Brahe's actual published book of his observations, taking special note of the contemporary illustrations of the tools he used (which did NOT include a telescope), and reviewed his relationship with Kepler. We also learned about ancient Egyptian animals and how they were seen and used in Ancient Egypt, looking at pictures of the actual animals and also how they are portrayed in ancient egyptian art (thanks, Cleveland Art Museum!). In the process of this, we discussed symmetry in Egyptian art and pointed out examples, and Caleb laughed--hard--at my frequent mispronunciations of Egyptian names. And I gained a new appreciation for the beauty of Egyptian art.

(The core lessons we worked from are are posted on Check the index to find them--Egyptian Animals lesson 2 (under Humanities) and The History of Astronomy Part 3 (under Science).)

It was very satisfying for all of us.

And it wasn't until I wrote the words "elliptical orbits" on facebook that I realized that most first graders don't study Kepler's laws of motion. In fact, I don't think most kids hear those words in their entire k-12 education. Goodness--I graduated from college summa cum laude and had never even heard of Kepler before I started preparing this stuff for the kids!

The kids aren't complaining, though, so I think we'll just keep at it.  After all, I'm enjoying myself immensely, and I figure they probably will enjoy it if I do.

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