Monday, June 30, 2008

Science fun - middle school age

I have spent a lot of time researching my options for doing a science lab/experience for ages 11 - 13 this next school year. I have made a decision.

I am going to use Teaching Physics with Toys, Hands-On Investigations for Grades 3 - 9. I think it is a perfect age to get down on the floor and spin tops and race cars and ask questions. What would happen if you add mass to your top? Does it matter if you add the mass to the spindle or the disk? Sounds like fun to me.

I have 4 likely participants, including Noach. I would like to have 6 kids, 3 pairs. So I will be looking for a couple more and I hope one of them will be a boy. Noach is perfectly happy with all girls but I think he would enjoy another boy as well.

With help, I have found a location for us that I think will work well. I am looking forward to it. PRM

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wordy Wednesday

Two years ago today, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted in a cross border raid from Gaza. He remains a hostage of Hamas.
Today, Yakov, who shares a birthday with Gilad, leaves for Israel. He will be gone for 5 weeks. I will post a picture when he gets up. Bye.PRM
*pictures added

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not so peaceful week ahead

This promises to be the busiest week of the summer.

Shoshie leaves early tomorrow morning for 3 1/2 weeks at Tel Yehudah camp in New York. That means she the new driver, will spend today touring the area saying goodbye to her many friends. Fortunately, state law requires that she return by 9pm so we will get to see an awake Shoshie for a bit before she leaves. Also, I am glad I made her flight reservation April 1st so she should not have a 2nd bag penalty at the airport. I will be armed with emails.

While I am at the airport with Shoshie tomorrow, the boys will be holding up the family commitment to deliver for Mobile Meals.

Yakov leaves Wednesday afternoon for 5 weeks in Israel with Young Judaea Machon. Pray for the truce to hold. We know that extraordinary measures will be taken to keep him and his co-travelers safe, but we will still keep an eye on the news and his itinerary. He has only one bag packed as directed by the trip staff. He will have to carry it all himself for 5 weeks so there is motivation to minimize the stuff. I will be curious to see how Shoshie manages when it is her turn for this trip next year.

Noach goes to guitar camp every afternoon this week and, next Sunday, he heads to boy scout camp for a week.

JP and I will then have 7 days alone. It will be weird. One year we had 3 weeks alone and that was really weird, but also pleasant. I could cook foods, like Vietnamese and Indian dishes, they would never try. No one had an argument. We were glad when it was over. PRM

Friday, June 20, 2008

Peaceful morning

It is a beautiful morning here, about 60 degrees and sunny. I am sitting in front of the open back door, watching and listening to the birds. My main computer became seriously infected with a trojan this week so I have been unable to read the blogs I usually read first thing in the morning. But I have also spent hours working on my laptop, trying to get it back into service, saving photos and documents in case we have to reformat the hard-drive, a prospect that is looking ever more likely.
I have seen the male Goldfinch only twice before today but he and the female were both very active at the feeder this morning. Yet I could not get a picture of him. They both blend in with the backside of the leaves and are hard to find. PRM

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Squirrel fun

I watched this young guy for the longest time yesterday morning. He was so cute.

The haze is caused by the wild fire that is over 100 miles away.PRM


Since we returned from our trip, Noach and I have been going to the Y most afternoons to swim. He needs to pass a swimming test on the first day of boy scout camp in order to work on the first class scout swimming skills with most of his friends.

To complete the BSA swimmer test, Noach has to
1. jump feet first into water over his head, level off and
2. swim 75 yards (3 pool laps) using one of several strokes
3. finish with 25 yards using the easy, resting backstroke, then
4. rest by floating

When we started practicing, he needed to get accustomed to jumping in deep water and greatly increase his stamina. He was an adequate swimmer, able to get from Point A to Point B as long as it wasn't too far. He has never liked to get his face in the water, thus his swimming form is somewhat turtle-like.

Yesterday, he did it. I was very proud of him but, more importantly, he was proud of himself, for facing his fear of the 10 foot depth and for pushing himself to keep swimming when he was very tired. Good job!

And, since I swim with him, lap after lap, usually doing a clumsy back crawl, I have greatly improved the mobility of my right shoulder. Yesterday, my accomplishment was to hook my bra in the back for the first time in months. PRM

Friday, June 13, 2008

Funky bird do

I'm not sure she likes it.

It has been like a bird kindergarten around here recently. Young birds flap around the yard clumsily, their immature colors confusing to me, the novice birdwatcher. I have had a great time just watching them but I finally took a few pictures, too. PRM

Friday, June 6, 2008

Scattered shots from the trip

The picnic area at McMurdo Station?No, White Sands National Monument. This was a cooool place that we enjoyed immensely. The sand was so white that it really looked like snow.

Snow dog?No, sand dog. Jasper had a blast running through the sand. He wore himself out.

Agggghhhh, monster!No, a plant holding the sand around its roots. This looks like someone from Sesame Street, I think, but I can't remember who.

More sand?Now this was really snow. Another trip highlight was the Cumbres and Toltec train ride that we took from Chama, NM. There were several inches of snow on the ground at the higher elevations. It was an all-day trip and we loved it. Highly recommended.
Mummified Native American baby?
Phew, not anymore! They seem a little defensive about the situation. Gee, I wonder how long they held out before bowing to decency and removed this exhibit.

JP could not pass up a trip to Los Alamos while we were in the Santa Fe area. Then we visited Alamogordo, NM and drove by the White Sands Missile Testing area. Atomic tourism.
This is "fat boy", named for Churchill, and like the bomb dropped at Nagasaki.
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

The long trip back felt like thisbecause it was this! Yep, it was 109 degrees. PRM

Speaking of summer science fun,

I also ordered this.

On this blog, I found an entry by Vicki Cobb, written in April. She mentions a videotaping project where a teacher can submit tapes of students doing the experiments from her book. She has a webpage where you can see videos and a webpage where you can submit such a video.

This sounds like a good project for Noach who has an interest in doing video and is hoping for a video camera for his birthday next month. PRM

I've already ordered this

and can't wait to get it. Becky at Farm School mentioned it shortly before we left town last month so I put it on my Amazon list and placed the order as soon as we got home.

Here is a review I found this morning. Every year, as a pre-adolescent, I begged for a chemistry set for Christmas. I never got it. Now I don't need no stinking chemistry set (or Christmas, for that matter). And it sounds like I don't really want the lame chemistry sets that are available anyway.

I am organizing a chemistry lab course for a group of teens for this next school year and I am hoping that this book will provide some cool experiments for us to try. Now I need a place for us to meet. I have done biology in my kitchen but I don't really have the counter space for chemistry.

I am psyched. Noach and I may have to try out some of the experiments when the book gets here. You know, just to make sure everything works. PRM

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Home again, home again

We are home. Last Saturday morning, I dropped JP off at the El Paso airport and the kids and I took off in the car with the 32 foot trailer in tow. Now 1765 miles and 4 days later, we too are home. What a marathon drive!

Now for a shower. PRM