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Literature Fair Project on Tonight on the Titanic

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So I signed BigG up for a Literature Fair at our Co-op before I realized what it was.  HA!  To be fair, I had originally read the requirements for the age group UNDER BigG.  So I was thinking, “Oh, this is a piece a cake.”  So I signed him up.  Then when I realized what was really expected I was like, “oh dear.”

But I knew this would be good for him so we dove in.  I will say, I tried to sway his choice of books to something that I thought would still be easy.  But oh no, he would have none of it.  He was (and still is) enamored with the Titanic.  We had already read Tonight on the Titanic a while ago. And actually owned it because when we reached that book in the Magic Tree House series, our library didn’t have it!  It had been checked out and not returned like 6 months prior.  So Amazon to the rescue with 2 Day Prime shipping we had it in (almost) no time.

So anyway, I wanted him to re-read the book and he was okay with that.  As much as I wanted him to pick a different book that I thought would be easier, it was actually best that he did this one because it’s what HE wanted.  I have a feeling I got more out of him because this was HIS topic.

Here’s what was expected of him for the fair project (now mind you, he’s in the 2nd grade!):

  • Book Report on book of choice
  • Visual Aid based on book
  • Pick a research topic based on book
  • Write a research report on topic with 3 sources listed on works cited page
  • A “hands on” Research project based on report

Please tell me I’m not wrong for being daunted by that list!

So, visual aid…. “Mom, I want to make the Titanic out of paper.”

Me: Well, son…. how about part of it?

“Ok.  Can I have an iceberg?”

Me: *calls my dad and asks how we might fashion an iceberg.  He gives us Styrofoam from a box of motorcycle parts he recently ordered*  Yes, we can make an iceberg out of this Styrofoam.  I think….I really hope.

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I think the iceberg turned out well.  We had to cut a few pieces to shape and glue it together.  It’s very hard to glue styrofoam.  Elmer’s isn’t going to cut it and hot glue melts it.  Just so you know.  I finally had luck with tacky glue.

I broke down the writing of the book report into manageable chunks – a paragraph a day.   The guidelines had specific things it wanted in the report.  We followed those to the bare minimum. It was 5 paragraphs so it took him a school week to do it but he did it.  The last paragraph was questions about how the book made you feel.  His read:

This book was a little scary.  It made me feel sad for the people on the Titanic.  I am glad new rules were made so that it would never happen again.

Isn’t he the cutest?  Ok…

I did sway him on his research topic.  Because had I not, his report would have been 92 pages long.  He wanted to included it all.

We settled on answering these Titanic questions:

  1. Why did the Titanic hit the iceberg?
  2. What made it sink?
  3. Why weren’t more passengers rescued?
  4. Why did so many people go down with the ship?

I really tried to make 3 and 4 the same thing but he wasn’t having it.  He had an idea.

The research report was twice as long as the book report but he added every fact he wanted.  Like I said above, this was HIS topic.  I kept reminding him the more things we added to the notes the more he was going to have to write.  He said, “I know, but this is important.”  If I had made him settle for something different, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the same quality out of him.

The visual aid (aside from having the Titanic coming out of it and an iceberg in front) had the 4 questions and some bullet points (we did this on the computer) and some pictures.  We were working on this project just as this story broke about the picture they think is of the iceberg the Titanic hit.  So of course that had to be included.  And a map of the Titanic’s fateful voyage.  And people on the lifeboat.  And he wanted a picture of the Captain and a couple who’s names escape me at the moment but they went down together because she wouldn’t leave him.  The pictures are a little crooked but it’s because I let him do it – I wanted them to be able to see that he did it.  😀

Now we’re down to the last thing.  A “hands on” research project – as if the reports and the visual aids were not enough.  And to make matters worse I realized 2 nights before the fair that the visual aid and project were two separate components.

CRAP.  Pardon my French.  So I’m re-reading the forms and messaging the lady in charge just trying to clarify when G comes to me and says, “Look, I made a little Titanic out of my LEGOs.  I think I can make an iceberg too.  Want to come help me find white pieces?  Maybe I can take it with my project.”

Does this kid have any idea how awesome he is?

So off I go to help him find the write pieces to make an iceberg.  And I say, “So, do you think you can make the other two ships that were in the area that night?  They were smaller than the Titanic, remember?”

“Oh, yeah.  Here’s one I made when I was trying to make the Titanic but I didn’t like it.  It can be the Carpathia.  And I’ll make the other one.”

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And thus our “hands on” research project was born!  He demonstrated (with ridiculous accuracy) where each ship was reported being when the Titanic struck the iceberg and why the closest ship didn’t respond and the farther away ship didn’t make it.

He had to meet with the judges and “present” his project.  Oh, how he shined!  I had to watch from outside the room through a crack in the door but I could see him and his facial expressions and gestures as he was talking.  Afterwards I said, “Were you able to answer all their questions?”  And he said, “They didn’t really have any questions because I told them everything.”

Oh how I love this kid!

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He was over the moon about his 3rd place ribbon (and so was I!)  We had talked for a couple days leading up to this that it was okay if he didn’t get a ribbon.  That he worked hard on his project and that’s what was important.  And he learned some new things and did his best.  And that we weren’t going to be upset if he didn’t win.  I wanted to prepare him.  I hope that I didn’t scare him into thinking he wasn’t going to win but I didn’t want him to get upset.

We got his score sheet back a couple weeks later with the judges comments.  He got a 99 out of 100 – so it was close among all the participants!  Which made me even prouder.  He got a 4/5 for “visual aid neatness”.  (Those pictures glued on crooked is what cost him!  lol)  That was his only missed point.  The judges comments were “well organized, creatively presented, and very knowledgeable.”

This momma could not be more proud!

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Week 5: Pterodactyls, King Tut and Togas

This has been a good week!   We took last week off so this was week 5 of school.  But in our Sonlight curriculum we just finished week 4.  Since Sonlight was new to us this year, we spread week 1 over 2 weeks to get used to it.

Anyway.  We took a few moments at the beginning of the week and back up to what we talked about 2 weeks ago – Ancient Egypt.

I picked up this awesome book at a book sale a couple weekends ago (it even still had all the posters in it!)

Learning About Ancient Civilizations Through Art (Grades 3-6)

Full-color posters and activities that teach about eight incredible cultures of the past: Prehistoric, Minoan, Eqyptian, Mayan, Pompeian, Chinese, Mayan, and Pueblo

I gave less than $5 for it at the sale.  Which was awesome.  It’s for grades 3-6 but some of the activities are easy enough to pare down for a 2nd grader.  I knew we had to take a moment and go back to the civilizations we had already discussed.  We looked at the poster of the cave painting and discussed where it was and how it was found (Sonlight Core A week 1 discusses cave dwellings and cave paintings.  We even made our own cave painting)

But we spent a few extra moments on the Egyptian section of it.  We studied King Tut’s Throne, made a cartouche and designed our own throne.  I’m glad we took the time to do that because it gave me a chance to see what he retained from a couple weeks ago.

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Our history this week has been about Ancient Rome so of COURSE we had to make Togas to wear.  And we talked about Roman Mosaics and made our own.  I really think art is a great way to learn about ancient civilizations.

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 1-3 is another great resources.  We’ve been using the “words to know” cards and “Postcards from….” sections in our History Journal and have done a couple other activities that go along with our section of history (so far, the book has been useful for Egypt, Greece and Rome – 3 of the first 4 Sonlight Core A history topics!)

I know it sounds like we’re supplementing a lot to our Core A history.  There was a discussion about this in one of the Sonlight Homeschool Mom Facebook groups I’m in.  We’re using Core A which is suggested for K-2nd grade/ages 5-7.  We are on the higher end of the core recommendations – which is fine and I’m glad we didn’t skip this core and go straight to B.  But so far the history (which is at most, 2-4 pages a day from the Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia or The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday life through the Ages – which are fun books.  But so far it’s a repeat of our history last year (which was just a hodge-podge of stuff I put together based on BigG’s interests in countries and maps) and lots of Magic Tree House books.  So I was getting a lot of “I knew that already” and history was taking about 5 minutes a day.  So I’m glad to have something that is hands on and expands our history to 15-20 minutes a day – still a reasonable amount of time to expect a 2nd grade almost-7-year-old to pay attention.

Ok, so Tut, Togas and Pterodactyls….

We’re bouncing through Apologia Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th day.  It’s a deep text.  We’re hitting the high points.  We actually started it back in the spring because we were finished with our 1st grade science way early thanks to BigG wanting to do 2-3 lessons at a time and it having only about half a year’s worth of (easy) lessons in it.  Plus, spring is a great time to start learning about bird’s anyway!  We turned our back yard into a haven for birds, got to see some species of birds even I had never seen before and make science come alive a bit.

So we’ve finished the bird part of Zoo 1 and we skipped ahead to the back to do the butterfly section while it was still spring/early summer and could study butterflies outside.  Now we’re on the section about Pterosaurs.  We’ve spent a little more time on this portion because dinosaurs has been a HUGE interest area for BigG for years (but yes, we learned that pterosaurs are a different order of animals than dinosaurs.)  So it’s been fun.

We’re going to make fossils today to wrap it up and move on to another section.  I think we’re going to do bats next.

This was a really long post to say that it’s been a great week!  We took a week off last week so we came back this week refreshed and ready to learn some more!

Be sure to check out my post on our “Semi-Year Round Homeschool Schedule”.

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This post is part of the Weekly Round Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Weekly Wrap-Up
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FREE Ancient Egypt Mini-Unit Lessons to Download (thru 8/19)

Did you see where they think they’ve discovered a hidden entrance to Queen Nerfertiti’s Tomb in a wall in King Tut’s tomb?  (Tut was supposedly the son of Nerfertiti.)  They think the tomb was built for her but the entrance to her burial chamber was bricked up and Tut was buried in her antechamber.

Yes, I know, I’m geeking out about it too.  BigG likes Ancient Egyptian stuff too and these FREE worksheets are going to keep him busy!

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Download a FREE lesson for kids about Ancient Egypt and jump into King Tut’s history! The freebie has several activities included in this pack, including reading comprehension, math review, map skills, and timeline practice, so there are a multiple ways to use them.

Hieroglyphics Math

Use these fun pages to practice place value and/or addition and subtraction skills! Page 12 of the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie asks students use the symbols to determine the number. The following page goes a step further and asks students add or subtract numbers.

Fun facts about Ancient Egypt:

  • The Egyptian alphabet contained more than 700 hieroglyphs!
  • Egyptians believed cats were a sacred animal and having a pet cat would bring a household good luck.
  • Ancient Egyptians invented pens, toothpaste, and a game very similar to bowling.

More Ancient Egypt resources:

Mini Bio: King Tut – Here’s a mini bio about King Tut to go with your mini unit!

Ancient Egypt Lapbook – Study interesting facts about the discovery of hieroglyphic writing, the Rosetta Stone, the great King Tutankhamun, the lovely Cleopatra and more.
Recipes From Egypt
– Delight your little cooks with two authentic and easy-to-make recipes from Egypt: Tameya (the original veggie burger), and Basboosa (Semolina cake with honey and lemon).
My Book About Egypt – My Book About Egypt takes elementary students to the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, and Giza.

Want free lessons for kids about Ancient Egypt? Download the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie on Educents!  Only FREE until 8/19/15!