Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Learning about the Digestive and Excretory systems

We are continuing our year of learning about the Human body!  We have recently completed the Digestive system and the Excretory units.  Below of some of the resources we used to complete out learning.

Kids are really enjoying the Crash course series which we watch before starting any human body unit.

We signed up for a course on the Abdomen thru future learn.  It was a three week course that thoroughly examined the abdomen and the digestive and excretory system.  If you haven't check out this online free course site, you should!  It is geared to adult learners but the children and I still get quite a bit of information out of the series!

Next I looked around for some experiments for the kids and I to try.  I found this one on you tube

The kids and I talked about recreating it but honestly it was just a little to gross even for me:)!  So I went simpler and according to the kids gross enough by turning bread into Chyme.

We tore up half a slice of bread and added it to a zip locked bag

add 2 tablespoon of water and the kids kneaded the bag.  I had the kids do this while watching the above video

after 6 minutes we had the beginning of Chyme!

There was no dissecting for this section of our studies or we continued to use our book Science explorer to read and create mini books to go into our human lap book folder which is getting quite big now.

Next we went on to learn about the Excretory system again starting by watching the Crash course video.  Next we do an experiment to replicate the filtration process of the kidneys (this was a decidedly less gross experiment for us)

Cut off the bottom of two water bottles 

Drill a hole in the cap and insert clear piping

place the hose into a funnel the set up looks like this--the bottles represent the kidneys the piping represents the ureter, and the funnel represents the bladder in this demo:)  Fill the bottles with 6 coffee filters and that represent the nephrons that do the filtering in the kidneys 

Take half a cup of water and add 1 drop of food coloring

Carefully pour the water into the bottles and the coffee filters remove the coloring 

and the should be clear water that runs into the tubes (ureter) 

And it fills up the bladder and empties clear.  We did this several times and while the coloring was alway weaker it was not 100% clear in our experiment.  We tried adding more filters but again there was some light coloring coming thru:(
We got this idea from this you tube video and his water always ended up clear:)

Next the kids dissected a kidney (which is the last dissection project for the school year)

We watched a video on how to dissect a sheep kidney

This was the first time we had trouble figuring out what we saw....I wonder if a fresh kidney would have been better?

We did identify the Urether

Kids taking a closer look.
We have completed our reading and experiments for this unit and are moving on to Nutrition and Health in our science lessons!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Viking Ship

Since Christmas I have been building a stain glass panel of a Viking ship for my husband.  It is the largest piece of leaded glass I have ever tackled and the most complicated so it has taken awhile to complete as I have been slowly building up my confidence on tackling each stage of the building process.  I finally finished is a couple of weeks ago and now have it hanging up in our home.

I found a pattern I liked on the internet and made a few modifications.  I added or erased lines that I didn't like.  My husband also wanted the shield to represent the colors of his Regia group from the UK.  Then I took the 8X11 paper to Office max where I had them blow up the pattern to the size I desired.

Next I like to color in my patterns to give me an idea of the glass section I plan to make at the glass shops.  Not  everyone does this step but it helps me a great deal

Next came a trip to the glass shop to choose glass colors.  Then I carefully selected where I wanted each pattern piece be cut from the glass.  

Next I cut out all the pieces making sure they fit.  I had to make additional adjustments to the pattern as this stage

How the piece looked at the half way point of cutting and grinding!

The entire piece is cut out, next step is to lead the piece

This was the hardest part of the project and I ended up breaking two pieces of glass, which made me cry!  I had just  enough sky and boat glass to fix my mistakes

Next came framing where I promptly cut my fingers!  Working with glass is still a challenge.  I had to wait 2 weeks before I could resume my work allowing time for my fingers tips to heal!  

Time to solder all the joints 

And add putty to the lead to make the panel steady and secure the glass.  It also covers up a lot of gaps between glass and lead if you have any!

My husband helped me throughout the building process when I needed it.  Here we are using powder to harden the putty and it also burnishes the lead came lines making them more pewter like in color than the shiny silver.

The tedious part is going over both sides of the panel removing excess putty and then cleaning the entire panel with soap and chemicals to remove excess flux used during the soldering process

How it looks in my stain glass work shop

How it looks in our living room window! The piece is approximately 36in by 26in
We are both very happy with how it turned out.  I made a few mistakes in the making of this piece but  it still looks great.  Next I am working on a panel for a wedding gift for some dear friends this summer!  Then I need to decide what stain glass to do in the other window!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Piano recitals

The kids have been continuing their piano lessons but we have had a hard time finding the right teacher since we returned to the states.  Because we have switched teachers the kids have not participated in a piano recital in over 18 months.  So this was a big deal in our house:)

MarioFan playing Chattanooga blues

Playing Brave Warrior

Firedrake playing Knight"s Tale

Playing Madrid

Both kids will be performing these pieces again in August while undergoing a piano testing.  It will be the first time they have been tested under the American system as we have only done British testing up to now.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Learning about the Respiratory system

We have been learning about the respiratory system in Science and doing a few experiments to understand how our lungs works.  We have been watching videos and reading books about the respiratory system and then spent some time completing experiments.

First we tried to understand how much air our lungs can actually hold and we recreated a experiment we saw on the Bill Nye videos.  What a mess it made!  So we tried it again using bigger bottles.  First up is the Bill Nye version!
Fill up a large bowl of water
Add a mason jar to the bowl filling it up with water from the bowl and standing it upright as the picture above shows

Insert a tube under the mason jar and the the top of the jar or just above the water found in the jar

Have the kids blow into the tube and watch what happens

All the water from the mason jar disappears filling up with air expelled from the lungs!  You may want to do this in a sink as we had massive water spillage from this experiment!  Both kids were able to easily completely empty the mason jar of the water

SO we tried it a different way to see if we could get better results.  This time we went outside just in case we had water spillage again:)

fill a bucket half way with water

fill a 2 liter bottle full of water

add the bottle upside down in the bucket

unscrew the cap while it is underwater to reduce water  escaping

add a tube through the bottle opening 

and blow.  MarioFan was able to empty the bottle about 3/4 of the way while Firedrake and I could completely empty the bottle of water.  We theorized why that might be the case 

If the above experiment is too messy then another way to look at how much your lungs hold is the following:
each child is given a balloon that has never been used before and asked to take a deep breath and blow up the balloon until they can't breathe...then the balloon's circumference is measured.  This is done three times and then average out

we discussed the results Firedrake and I had nearly identical measurements while MarioFan was lower. The kids hypothesized that a more athletic person might have better results than we did due to their lungs beings more efficient with the oxygen

 Next the children made some fake lungs to get a better understanding of how the diaphragm works
While one child constructed a single lung...there are many direction that can be found on the web 

The other child constructed a different model representing two lungs...again you can find many directions on the web for this build

Both kids experimented with their lungs looking closely at how the diaphragm is used to help with inhaling and exhaling 

Next we look at our human model of the lungs examining where the various parts are located

Then I got out the Sheeps pluck that I purchased which is sheep trachea, heart and lungs
We have had very good luck getting organs from homeschool science tools website

We examined the trachea 

examining the cartilage tissue that forms the trachea.  The kids were disappointed that  on our specimen we could not find the epiglottis. 

After removing the trachea we found the Bronchus  entering the lungs 

Cutting the lungs in half and we saw how the bronchi branch off into the many smaller branches of bronchus 
Labeling our specimen to show Dad what we had learned...kids labeled so excuse the spelling mistakes:)

My husband being schooled in anatomy--he doesn't particularly enjoy coming home to our dissections but is a good sport with the kids 

This is how he really feels, LOL

This completes our lesson on the respiratory system and we are moving on to learn about the digestive system!