Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Learning about Skeletons

Now that we have finished our astronomy topic, we are moving on to the human body. We started off by learning all about bones and the skeleton. 

We started off with piecing together a puzzle of the skeleton and talking about the different bones in our bodies. The children felt each body part and tried to locate and feel for the different bones.

Next we got large pieces of paper and drew around the children.

They had cut outs of bones on paper and they had to glue the bones in the correct places on their bodies.

Here is the finished picture.

Next, we spoke about the different types of joints which join our bones together and allow us to move our bodies. We spoke about hinge joints and ball and socket joints and how they allow the body to move in different ways. A hinge joint in the arm, allows it to move backwards and forwards but not side to side or around in a circle. 

We made hinge joints using three cardboard tubes, some wire and a cut out of a hand.

Here you can see how we joined the three tubes together with the wire.

This allowed us to be able to move the arm forwards and backwards.

Next, we made a ball and socket joint. These joints allow us to move our bodies in different directions; forwards and backwards and round in circles. We made these out of a cardboard tube, a ping ping ball and some white clay. We stuck the ping pong ball to the top of the tube with some tape. Then we used some clay which had been shaped into a socket to finish the joint. 

The children had lots of fun exploring this joint and how easily it moves.

Then it was break time. We looked at all the different snacks that are good for your bones. Foods rich in calcium such and broccoli, kale, milk, yoghurt, cheese, nuts and sesame seeds. A lot of these foods also contain Vitamin D which is also excellent for healthy bones. Oranges and eggs are also good sources of vitamin D, as is sunlight.

While the children were enjoying their snack for healthy bones, we listened to the 'Skeleton Dance' song and the children had good fun joining in with the dance moves and singing along.

Finally, we read the story 'Funnybones' which I remember being a favourite book from my childhood. It is such a funny story about the adventures of some skeletons who go out in the night. The children loved listening to this story.

After we had finished our activities in the house, we went to the local museum to see the skeleton exhibition. There was a room full of skeletons in glass cases, all from different eras. They had all been excavated either locally in Bristol or in London. 

There was a written summary of each skeleton explaining where the skeleton was found, how old it was and what the bones showed us about any injuries or illnesses the person would have had.

The children had great fun looking out for clues in the bones about these injuries. They looked for signs of broken bones, bones which had been broken and then healed and osteoarthritis. There was even one skeleton that had an arrow head stuck in it!

Next we moved on to the interactive section for children. R and his friend had fun piecing together the bones to create the complete skeleton.

Next, the children dressed up as Osteologists, people who study bones. They put on gloves, a lab coat and goggles.

 R looked at pieces of bones under a microscope. 

D explored a skeleton with a UV torch.

The children had a lot of fun role playing. What a fun day we had learning all about the skeleton in a practical and interesting way!

Two Tiny Hands

Learning About Astronomy - the Planets

Our final astronomy topic was the planets. We started by reading these books about the planets which are great for children. Each book covers two planets.

Then we made posters with all the planets on. This was a lot of fun. The children were given a long, thin piece of black paper and circles of white paper of different sizes. They then used poster paints to paint each planet. They looked at pictures of the planets to help them do this.

As they painted, we talked about the different features of each planet. What colours were they? Were they made of gas or rock? Did they have any moons or rings?

Once the planets were dry, the children stuck them on the black paper in the correct order and put name labels on them. They also drew some stars around the planets and rings around the planets that have rings.

This was a really fun activity and produced lovely results that will look great displayed on the wall.

Check out our other astronomy topics. We have learnt about the Earth, the stars and the Moon.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Bilingual Language Activity - Finger Painting Wildlife

As you may know, we are a multicultural, multilingual family with quite a few different languages being spoken in our surroundings. As the children's father is from Turkey, Turkish is the main language we are teaching the children. It can be very difficult to teach the children a non-native language, and even more difficult to maintain it. Therefore, I am always on the look out for new ideas or thinking up creative ways to make language learning fun.

The weather has been glorious lately so we have been spending a lot of time outdoors. I try to encourage my children to participate in outdoor play activities as much as possible and prompt them to observe the environment around them. When we go out and about, I point out the flowers and wildlife that we encounter and encourage them to talk about their own observations. I thought it would be a good idea to start learning some more wildlife vocabulary in Turkish so we can use it on our outings, or even just in the garden.

I set up the activity outside on the patio. I placed a tuff tray on the ground with some A3 sheets of white paper on top. Then I squirted some poster paints on paper plates.

I told the children our aim was to make some wild animals using finger painting techniques. I told them to use the paints to do the shapes of the animals and we could draw the details in once the paint had dried.

The children were very excited about this activity and soon got stuck in. Here is D's picture after she had finished finger painting.

Here is R's attempt. I love to see the different ways they interpret the task.

K had a lot of fun swirling the paint around with his fingers.

Once the paint had dried, the children began to draw in the animals' features with black pen.

While they were doing this we spoke about all the different features each animal has. You can use vocabulary from the language you are learning to do this. We talked about what colours the animals were in Turkish. We also used Turkish body part vocabulary. 

Finally, we wrote down the names of the animals. The Turkish names are in red and the English names are in blue. It is not necessary to write the names in English as well, you could just write them in the language you are learning. However, as it can be quite difficult to tell from some of the drawings what the animals are, I thought it best to write down the names in both languages.

I will now display the posters on the wall for a while so the children can get familiar with the new vocabulary. They make such a bright and colourful display! 

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Two Tiny Hands

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Learning about astronomy - the Earth

We have already learnt about the stars, the Moon and planets. Our next astronomy topic covered the Earth. As our planet, the Earth is something we all know a lot about. We started by thinking about all the things we love about our planet. 

D drew the above picture showing what she loves about our world.

Next, we spoke about life on Earth and how it is the only planet which has life on it, as far as we know. We talked about what is needed for life to exist. We planted some seeds to see how they would grow.

We planted the seeds in glass pots so we could watch the roots grow.

We put the pots on the windowsill and it was fascinating to see how they grew. The children enjoyed watering them every day and studied them for signs of growth.

Next, we talked about how there may be life on other planets that we haven't yet discovered. We used play dough to model what life might look like on other planets.

We then used modelling clay to make some keepsakes. D carved the Earth in the middle of the keepsake and wrote,' I (heart) our Earth 2017'.

This is R's attempt. I am not quite sure what it is supposed to be but I think there is some lightning at the top!

When the clay keepsakes were dry, the children painted them with poster paints. Then we threaded some string through the hole at the top to hang them up.

The children have now hung these up in their bedrooms. They make a lovely, bright and colourful decoration!

Then we made models to show how the Earth travels around the Sun and the Moon travels around the Earth. 

I explained how the Earth takes 365 days, one year, to travel around the Sun. The Moon takes 28 or 29 days to travel around the Earth and this is roughly how long a month is.

Finally, we learnt about day and night. To do this we created a 3D model of the Earth out of papier mache. I gave the children a balloon and lots of strips of newspaper and they had great fun sticking the paper onto the balloon.

Once it was dry, they painted it to look like the Earth.

Here is the finished Earth.

Next, I found a cardboard box and cut off some of the sides. Then I asked the children to paint one half black and one half blue. 

Once it was dry, the children painted clouds on the blue sky side and stars on the black night side. 

I cut a round hole out of the blue sky side of the box and pushed the end of a torch though it to make the Sun.

Finally, we stuck a bamboo skewer into the Earth and secured it to the base of the box with some blue tac. The Earth could easily turn round on the bamboo skewer so we could watch how this causes parts of the Earth to be in lit up with sunlight (daytime) while other parts are in the dark (nighttime). It helped to draw a coloured dot or place a sticker somewhere on the Earth and watch how it moved from being facing the Sun to facing away from the Sun. 

This aerial view shows more clearly how one side of the Earth is light and the other side is dark. This model made it so easy for the children to understand about day and night.

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