Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weapons

This year for science, we're doing things a little differently. We all loved the Apologia Astronomy we did last year. And I would go ahead with my original plan of doing the Apologia books all the way through, except that science is really Larkin's thing. All last year, he kept wanting to learn about jungles and ocean animals and amphibians and reptiles, etc., etc. on top of the astronomy and everything else. I just couldn't make time for it all, and since he was only in kindergarten, he couldn't exactly get all the information he wanted on his own. I felt that the best thing to do for this year would be to let him pick the science topics. But I really wanted to do the Apologia Botany book just because . . . I like it. So finally, my mom came up with a solution to satisfy my science needs ('cause it's my thing too . . . he he ;) and Larkin's. Since I was going to let the kids take turn picking topics, why not take a turn myself. Excellent idea, Mama! So that's how we're doing it. We all get to take turns picking. And I'm picking the Apologia Botany book every time! We may not get through it, or we may go through it without as much elaboration as last year, but that's fine with me.
A couple weeks before we started back I had the kids make a list of what they wanted to learn for science. Larkin made a list a mile long but finally narrowed it down to amphibians, reptiles, and . . . weapons. Ick. I mean, not for the first two - that's what I like and expected from him. But weapons? (This is not about me. This is not about me. . . ) I was really at a loss. Miah, bless her, chose flowers and trees. Those just happen to be in the Botany book. Works out nice for me. But she also chose diseases. Seriously?! Don't know where to start with that one either. This year, science is going to stretch me a bit.
So last week we had our first science unit: Weapons. I am absolutely sure there are lots of people who would've done a better job with this. But I tried. Larkin seemed happy enough with it.
It was really hard to come up with the science part of this. Obviously, there's a lot of science involved, but how much of it can be grasped by a six-year-old? I thought I would start by introducing simple machines. We just looked them up on the computer and the kids drew one of each for their notebooks. Then we looked at lots of different kinds of weapons online, and they tried to find simple machines as parts of the weapons. Then we looked at several websites to learn about projectile motion, the laws of movement, gun recoil, and how machine guns work. We have a little book called Ballistics by Science Service. It turned out to be pretty good. Larkin stayed interested and understood most of it. Miah was bored out of her mind. But she survived, and she'll get her turn soon.
Then it was on to the fun part, making some weapons! This part was fun for everybody. I had intended to bring out some sheets on the scientific method, have them make predictions on shooting angles and so forth. But I forgot. I really think they pick up on that sort of thing intuitively anyway when they're shooting at targets and just having fun. Good thing.

First, a crossbow.
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(Clay target.)
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Then, a vinegar grenade.
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Can't play with baking soda and vinegar without making volcanoes.
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Blow guns (straws and spitballs.)
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And a ping-pong pistol. (I'm embarrassed to admit that the reason Jeremiah made this one is because I was afraid to. I was imagining big explosions and my hand catching on fire. It turned out to be pathetically unscary. But still cool. There were flames.)
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Here's a list of some of the websites we used. Some were better than others.
A good list to start weapon research.
Nice picture of siege weapons.
Laws of Motion
Recoil. I used this page to learn about it myself so I could explain it to the kids.
How machine guns work.
Catapult.
Mini-weapons.

There you have it. NOW, on to Botany!!

10 comments:

  1. Wow! You are awesome! I bet they had so much fun!

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  2. WOW!! You go, girl! :) Very good idea though to ask them what they WANT to learn about...then they will be super interested! :) Diseases, eh? :)

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  3. The cross bow is too cool. Science is everybody's thing in this house...sometimes I just want to throw everything else aside and just do science (and the writing and math that goes along with it)I'm with Miah though....diseases were my thing growing up....for about 10 years I wanted to be an Epidemiologist. Have fun!

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  4. I absolutely love how you always make science come alive for your kids! The weapons unit looks like something my boys would have been thrilled with! If this interest in weapons continues you should check out a book called Backyard Balistics(we got it for Logan for Christmas last year). It was just what every boy needs, a how to manual for blowing things up with everyday items found in the home! :P

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  5. You know, I think weapons would be the first thing on my boys lists too (and their dad's). I'm very proud of you for going out of your comfort zone to help them learn! Great job!
    By the way, Foster wants to start a worm farm so if you have done that or have any ideas, they would be greatly appreciated.

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  6. LOL! Just gotta love boys, right?! Wait until he gets obsessed with the Civil War. . .and WWII. . .and the Revolutionary War (I know, not chronological order, but who can explain the way my son thinks?! chuckle)

    Love that you are into science--I'm not so much. But we also love Apologia/Fulbright, and are actually doing Botany this year, hoping to stretch it to a high enough level for my 8th and 9th graders, then I'm going to be past Apologia (sniff, sniff). Oh wait, I have three more children I'll get to revisit Jeannie Fulbright with!!! :D

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  7. I'm a total science geek. In fact my degree is in biology and I totally regret what I was once proud of - getting thru college w/out taking a single botany class. I'm kicking myself now, because I'm interested in it and wish I had taken the time to learn more earlier.

    I love how you gave each of them turns with picking subjects and of course included yourself in the mix! ;)

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  8. Sarah, thanks so much for a wonderful inspiring blog! My boys loved this post :)

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  9. Wonderful post! What an amazing family. Love your blog. :) --Jennifer syrendell.blogspot.com

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