The Story About Ping

images (2)

This month, we are learning about ducks!  I decided to combine two different Five in a Row titles about ducks, and row them back-to-back.  I’m hoping to have a surprise for the boys at the end of our studies, but we’ll see if it works out!

So the first title that we “rowed” is called The Story About Ping.  When I first read this book it didn’t appeal to me very much, but after spending a week or two really getting into the details of the story, I have grown to appreciate it more and more.

We had some sickness in our family during part of this study, so it took two weeks to complete.


Poor little man…he had three days of fevers that peaked at 105*.   🙁

First, of course, we located China on our map and then set our sights on the Yangtze River, which is where the story takes place.  We put a new word on our Spanish board, then picked out our character study for the week.



Ping learns the valuable lesson of discernment when he falls prey to the rice cake trap…not all things are as good as they appear.

Science:  Buoyancy

The little boy in the story floats in the river with a barrel tied to his back.  We found this little experiment from Homeschool Share and tested various household objects to see whether they would sink or float.


First we made our predictions…



then we tested them out…


The boys had a lot of fun plopping things into the water and seeing what would happen.


Lo and behold, Conner’s predictions were 100% accurate!  He’s either a really good guesser or a buoyancy savant.  😉

Science: Why don’t ducks get wet?

We checked out a book from the library called Ducks Don’t Get Wet and learned about a process called preening, in which the ducks use an oil gland on their bodies to coat themselves almost continuously with oil.  This keeps them from getting waterlogged.

I first demonstrated this to the boys by cutting two duck shapes out of a paper bag.


I then told the boys to paint one of the ducks with olive oil while leaving the other one completely naked.


They then proceeded to dribble water onto both of the ducks using a small dropper.


As you can see, the oily duck repelled the water while the the naked duck soaked it up!



Next we repeated the same process using a real feather (Shhh, ours was from a chicken…because of course we have an abundance of them around here!).



It’s hard to see in the picture, but the feather did repel the water once coated with oil.

And finally, I wanted them to get a good look at how water and oil don’t mix, so we dropped the extra olive oil into our water dish to see what would happen.


No matter how hard they stirred…


the two layers always eventually separated…


Exhausted from all of his efforts!  And still you can see the yellow oil on top of the water in the dish.  🙂

Moving on!

We talked a bit about East vs. West because in the story they describe the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, but this concept wasn’t really new to Conner and Logan so we didn’t go into too much detail.  I’ve always described the concept of N,S,E,W to them when we’ve been out and about on our daily travels.

Art/ Crafts:

We made this little duck craft I found on Pinterest, although it was a quick one and seemed like more of a preschool-type activity.  They enjoyed it, regardless.







I try to incorporate a fun edible element to our unit studies whenever possible because in a house full of boys, food is the currency.  Plus, I have to cook 3 meals a day plus snacks anyways, so I might as well kill two birds with one stone.

So I made egg rolls and fried rice for dinner one night…


We almost never have asian food at home because it’s just not one of my favorite cuisines, but this was so good I think I might add it to our normal meal rotation!

Kid tested…



Logan approved.  🙂


Leave a Reply