The Pumpkin Runner

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Set in Australia, Joshua, a man who loves to eat pumpkins, runs a race that has everyone noticing.  – FIAR Manual

We read lots of go-along stories for this book, including several about Australia and coral reefs.

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We sniffed some Eucalyptus essential oil because there are lots of eucalyptus trees in Australia, and they are mentioned in the story.

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Such a distinct smell, that the boys ought to be able to recognize now.  🙂

Geography:

We placed our story disk over Australia…

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and found Australia on the globe…

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We talked about the two hemispheres and we learned that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, which makes it have opposite seasons to where we live in the Northern Hemisphere.

We put our flag sticker on Australia in our “passport book”.

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And colored our Australia page in our geography coloring book…

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Character Quality: Perseverance

This book is based on the inspiring true story of Cliff Young…

a 61 year old sheep farmer from Australia who decided on a whim to enter a 900km race from Sydney to Melbourne…and won!  I find this story to be utterly amazing and inspiring.  Watch the video and read about it if you have time!

Language Arts:  How do you spell Australia?

We discussed the correct way to spell and pronounce Australia. We watched YouTube videos to this effect.

Applied Math:  Metric System

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We read this go-along story about the history of measurement and learned about the metric system.

Applied Math:  Division

Joshua Summerhayes won $10,000, but shared it with his fellow runners.  We figured out how we could divide $10,000 among 8 people.

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In the end, each runner would have ended up with $1,250.00.

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We also discussed the size of an acre (we live on just about 1 acre), and pulled up our property on Google Maps so that we could figure out about how big 10,000 acres would be, which was the size of the ranch that Joshua Summerhayes grew up and worked on.

Art:

We used this free on-line video to learn how to do traditional Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting…

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Science: Hot Air Balloons

We see TONS of hot air balloons in our neighborhood.  Every year during the winter we see them flying around our house on the weekends at sunrise and sunset.  The manual explains the science behind how the balloons work.  The hot air inside the balloon is less dense than the cold air surrounding the balloon, which makes it float higher.  When the balloon starts to drop, the operator adds more fire to heat it up and help it rise.

The balloon below we watched while eating breakfast one morning…

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Then we saw these while driving to get on the freeway…

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And this one that flew right over our house one evening…

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Winter Ice Unit Study

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Our January Kiwi Crate unit was all about ice!

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There are so many ideas and activities included in these crates that we don’t ever get around to doing them all.

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We usually start by doing the 2 or 3 activities that have supplies included in the kit.

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First up was an activity using salt and food coloring to make colorful icy-looking snow-crystals.

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They turned out pretty cute.

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Next was a sink or float experiment.

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We set some little mini figure guys into a few of the slots in the flexible green ice cube tray that was included and then filled all of the slots with water.  Then we froze it…

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A few days later, we filled two cups with water…one with cold water and one with hot water.

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And we put a frozen fishy toy in each one.

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(Hot water on the left, cold water on the right.)

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And we watched to see which one would melt first.  The boys predicted the hot water fish cube would melt first, of course.

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and they were right!

Then we got carried away going through some of the extension activities in the little booklet.

We learned a lot about the ways in which salt and ice react together.

First up was a little experiment called salt tunnels…

 

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We sprinkled salt over the ice and then dripped food coloring over it.

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The salt makes the ice melt more quickly, so those spots formed little tunnels in the ice, which were made visible with the food coloring.

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Next up was seeing how the salt makes the ice stick to things…

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Then we did a sink or float experiment where we placed a two pieces of carrot into two different cups…one with fresh water and one with salt water.  The carrot floated in the salt water, but it sunk in the fresh water.

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The next experiment took it a step further and showed how fresh water can even float in salt water.

We put ice cubes into both cups…the salty one and the fresh one.  After a minute of letting the ice melt we added food coloring to both.

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The red melted ice water stayed on top of the salt water cup, but filled up the entire fresh water cup.

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We had a fun time learning about ice!

 

Arctic Region/ North Pole/ Polar Bear Unit Study

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For Christmas this year the our boys got a subscription to Koala Crate (along with Kiwi Crate, Tinker Crate, and Doodle Crate), and the very first box we received in the mail was one with an Arctic theme.

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I had already been thinking of doing some kind of North Pole/Polar Bear themed unit study, since I also had the free Polar Bear Pack from All About Learning, so this was just icing on the cake.

In addition to reading lots of fun stories about polar bears, reindeer, and other arctic animals, we used some of the activities from the All About Learning printable pack.  Barrett practiced his letters…

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Logan and Conner each did a crossword puzzle…

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and practiced some rhyming words…

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Some of the activities in the Koala Crate…

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We also worked on the arctic habitat from this Scholastic packet.

And the boys’ favorite part of the whole week was when I made polar bear pancakes for breakfast!

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