Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Into Africa

So our school work took us into Africa.

We incorporated our usual geography of learning as many countries as possible, the position of the continent on the globe, and some other major landmarks. Our main destination from which to explore Africa was Kenya. Olivia says, "my passport is getting full".

She enjoyed many books on Africa, from story and pictures about life in Africa to stories and tales that originate there. One of the resources I have enjoyed this whole year so far are Material World and Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel. These books have wonderful pictures and do a tremendous job showing how people live all over the world. Material World has families take all their belongings out of their homes and puts them on their front lawns (or other compatible area). Hungry Planet shows families with their weeks supply of food items. Both are very telling books and help Olivia to see that when we read stories of a child from Africa, that they really don't live the way we do most of the time.

Our science focus has been on the grasslands. This has been lots of fun for us since it is the home to many of the animals one only sees in zoos here. We talked about how these animals really live and interact. The One small square series has a great book on the grasslands with activity suggestions. I hope that sometime before the end of the year we can take a trip to the zoo. It sure would fit well with what we are learning. One thing that we can observe here is grass, looking at its roots and how it could stand up to being cut or eaten down without dying off and how useful it is in keeping the soil in place. God's creation is pretty amazing!

a notebook page

Olivia used a how to draw book from the library to draw these animals and then made them into a collage for her notebook

In our study of animals, she learned that a giraffe's tongue is 18in long and that its front legs are 10% longer than its back legs. Here she is trying out how that might feel. We also looked about the teeth of many of the animals in the grasslands (whether they are grazers or predators), including zebras and lions. That led to her inspecting her own teeth and learning what the different teeth are used for when eating.

Gabe getting in on the action.

Here is some of the art that Olivia worked on this time:

Wood burning

Wire jewelry. We used baling wire that she formed into jewelry. The spirals were formed on a pencil.

Daddy made Olivia a wand which she loved!
More African jewelry. We looked at the large metal and beaded necklaces often worn. She also made a fly whisk (many royals used animal tails to swat flies) with a toliet paper roll and streamers but it didn't survive for a picture--?too many flies to shoo?

For food, we cooked an African chicken stew (Doro Wat), made a chocolate teff pudding (which the kids weren't crazy about because of the grainy texture), and fried plantain chips. We played Mancala, made out of an egg carton and some dried beans. It was lots of fun. Our current read aloud is on the Missionary David Livingstone. He was certainly a pioneer missionary with lots of courage. We are now headed home from our "travels" for a while to await the new baby. :)

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