Geography

SPACE!

Our final stop in Geography this year was to explore space! Dr. Montessori felt children should learn about space to discover how they were connected to the Universe. We are so lucky this year to have two visiting astronomers as parents! Dr. Briceno came one day to help introduce the planets to the children and also to help them understand where they were in the Universe.

julia helping with planets

We began with Dr. Briceno explaining each of the planets and even got to see the actual planets on the computer.

planet instructions part 2

We went outside and each child was given a planet, comet or asteroid.

Getting instructions for planets

Everyone was placed in a long line. The children were able to see how some planets were closer to the sun than others.

children holding planets

Dr. Briceno and his daughter made the planets and gave them to our school to use (BIG THANK YOU!) and so we were able to use them all week. We put them outside in the ground as they were on sticks and asked the children to run around and name them. We also played other games where the children quizzed each other.

sun mercury venus earth mars

During the week we explored space in other ways. We made different planets as craft activities, books with the planets, we also had a cutting activity where the children cut out the planets and pasted them on black paper. We read many books about space and had other hands on activities.

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puzzles

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lining up felt planets and then using labels

jupiter craft

planet crafts

A really big THANK YOU to Cesar, Kathy and Julia for helping make the study of space so interesting!

France and THANK YOU to Zingermans!

As we end our study of Europe, we focused on France.  This is partially because we have a French family and partially because we wanted to eat croissants from Zingermans!

First the croissants!  Zingerman’s Bakehouse generously donated some beautiful croissants to our school as part of our study of France.

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The children (and teachers) sampled the croissants.

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YUM! A big THANK YOU to Zingerman’s!
Many thumbs up!

The children have been looking at photos of France, making books about Paris, meeting French people, singing French songs and as another special treat- eating crepes.

Our French family kindly came in to show us how to make crepes. Mother and Grand-mere came!

ladeling crepe

They had prepared the batter in advance. Here she ladles the batter into the pan.

Crepe flipping

She cooks on one side then FLIP!
The cooked crepe was filled with a lovely chocolate concoction!!

Julia eating crepe

Finally, they are eaten and enjoyed by all!

We feel it is necessary to provide hands on experiences for the children when studying a specific topic. The children absorb these sights, sounds and of course tastes! They get to meet people from other cultures and hear languages and accents. They ABSORB it all!
Thank you again to Zingerman’s and to our French family for taking the time to help us make this happen!

Gazing at the clouds

During outside time I noticed two children laying on the ground pointing at the clouds.

Cloud looking

Here is what I heard… “That one looks like South America!” “That one is Australia!!” and on and on!

These absorbent minds! Wow!

Still in Europe- England

We had moved on from Holland and studied a bit of England last week. The children engaged in many activities from coloring and learning about the St. George’s cross (the Flag of England) to singing songs from England and making scones and having a tea party at the end of the week.

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The afternoon children made scones and then ate some as a snack. They were able to practice their spreading skills with butter and jam! (Sorry, no clotted cream here much to our disappointment!)

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Later in the week we decorated hats to wear to the “tea” party. We used a plastic bowl, punched a hole on either side, cut the middle out of a paper plate and taped them together. The children decorated then we used white yarn to tie together. Everyone made a hat and were so excited about wearing them to the party.

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We had scones with jam, sliced grapes, tea sandwiches (the children helped to prepare these by spreading the cream cheese on the sandwiches) and lemonade which was our tea.

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It was fun to have our tea party on Friday. We were able to practice our Grace and Courtesy as always during the tea party. We waited until everyone was served to begin eating or drinking, when asking for more we used please and thank you. At the end of the party, the children were able to clean up independently. It was a great week in England!

Moving to Europe

Our final continent of the school year is Europe.  We decided to study the country of Holland or the Netherlands as our first country within Europe.  We were lucky enough to find wooden shoes for the children to try on and walk around a rug.

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We also had many small objects representing Holland such as a tiny ceramic white and blue windmill and figurines of Dutch children.

We wanted the children to try some of the food associated with Holland. We always take an opportunity like this to practice a practical life skill.

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Using the cheese cutter they are so familiar with, the children cut Gouda cheese and ate it with crackers.

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We then offered a waffle cutting work. We made waffles and did what the Dutch do, apply whipped cream!

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The children were able to practice their cutting skills with a knife and fork.

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They ate the waffles!

Didgeridoo

For another concrete experience of Australia, we asked Didgeridoo players, Joel and Katy, to come to share the music with the children. This was really fun and quite interesting. Many children thought the sound was like a frog or an airplane. You could feel air coming out of the bottom.

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This Didigeridoo is from Australia and has dot painting on the outside. We learned that players add beeswax around the mouth opening in order to make it soft. The players use circular breathing in order to make the noise. It seemed tiring to us but they said it is energizing. This has been practiced by the Indigenous Australians for over 1,500 years.

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The children stood up and danced to the sound.

This was a great experience for the children. Thank you so much to Joel and Katy.

G’day Mate – Wrapping Up Australia

The children had a great time investigating Australasia and the country of Australia.

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We learned Koala bears who live in Australia eat Eucalyptus trees.  We smelled Eucalyptus oil.

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We matched Australian animals.

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We made a book of Australian animals.

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We made Australian biscuits called Anzac Biscuits. Here is the recipe:
1 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. desiccated coconut
1 c. plain flour
1 c. sugar
4 oz butter
2 T. golden syrup (we used brown rice syrup)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 T water (may need more if too dry)
Preheat to 300.
Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together.
Melt syrup and butter together.
Mix soda with water and add to melted butter and syrup.
Add to dry ingredients.
Place 1 T of mixture on greased tray (allow room for spreading). Bake
for 20 minutes. Loosen while warm, cool on trays.
YUM!

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We enjoyed them with tea and a friend.
We had a great time visiting Australia.

Tunisian Soup With Couscous

While studying Africa, we decided to make a soup which would involve a vegetable cutting work. The children cut up vegetables for a few days and put them into a pot.

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We then cooked the soup and made couscous.

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The children discussed where Tunisia is on the map.

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Some children did not want the soup on top but had plain couscous. All of the children liked the couscous and a few ate the soup on top. Yum!

Egyptian studies

As part of Africa, we have focused on Egypt and here are some of the fun things we have done!

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We found Egypt on our new globe!

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We looked at papyrus which the Egyptians used as paper. On the papyrus was a scene from Egypt showing hieroglyphics.

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We then stamped our names with the hieroglyphic stamps.

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In the afternoon, we read books about Egypt. We talked about the pyramids.

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Using our geometric solids, we found the pyramid and discussed the shape. Using our equilateral triangle we used our cutting skills to make our own pyramids.

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We have also had some coloring work of a pharaoh.

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Egypt has been very fun! We hope to visit Northern Africa again next year!

The Continent of Africa

In geography, we have moved on to the continent of Africa! Here are some things we have done so far.

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The children have colored maps of Africa. The children can really see how many countries are in this big continent! They have also begun exploring our continent puzzle map.

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Flag matching is always fun! Here the children can see all of the different flags, they are beautiful! Some children choose to make their own flags, and if you are at a Kindergarten level (or most afternooners) you may choose to make ALL the flags for a book!!!

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One flag.

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All of the flags! We will make these into a book. (Just like Asia- see previous post.)

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We have played with beautiful African animals. The children love to manipulate these animals, they are soft and fuzzy.

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We have some African beads and a beautiful bowl.

We have really been enjoying dancing to the Putumayo World Music from Africa too!