Science: Gems & Minerals

Weeks 22 and 23 of school we learned about gems and minerals using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 14.

We made cookies without using a recipe. Each ingredient represented a mineral and even though we all had access to the same minerals, each cookie turned out totally different from the others.

We identified various minerals.

We tested the various minerals for hardness, scratch, reactive to acid, etc.

We made crystals using borax and also using salt and vinegar.

We watched several YouTube videos.

We went on a minerals scavenger hunt.

We sorted and identified some gems.

History: Slave Trade

Weeks 22 and 23 of school we learned about the slave trade using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 14.

We added to our timeline.

We watched several YouTube videos including a documentary on the Middle Passage.

We labeled the parts of the triangular trade route on a map.

The boys held a debate on the pros and cons of the slave trade. Adrian was against, Fritz was for, and Cameron was the moderator. Fritz did a pretty good job of arguing for something he feels incredibly strongly against. He said he could do it because of playing Dungeons and Dragons.

The boys got under some chairs in a very small space (Cameron wasn’t actually able to fit at all) to show how uncomfortable it was on the slave ships.

Interest Led Learning

On the boys’ assignment list each day, I have written “Interest Led.” That subject has a few rules:
1. It can be about whatever subject they want to learn more about.
2. They can write or draw or take notes on whatever they learned.
3. They can change topics every day or stick with the same one as long as they want.

Adrian tends to watch SciShow Kids on YouTube. Fritz tends to come up with questions to answer and then searches that topic. He’s going to be starting a short, free HTML course soon during his interest led time.

I decided to do this because my number one goal for my kids’ education is for them to be able to learn for themselves whatever they need to know. I can never teach everything to them before they graduate from high school, but if they can find the answers to what they haven’t learned, then I have succeeded in giving them a good education. And interest led learning is an important part of meeting that goal.

Science: Metamorphic Rocks

Weeks 20 and 21 of school we learned about metamorphic rocks using Layers of Learning, year 3 unit 13.

We watched a couple YouTube videos about metamorphic rocks.

We squished Snickers to show how the layers compress when metamorphic rocks are made.

We demonstrated foliation using glitter in Play-Doh.

We used a brick to squash frozen Play-Doh balls as they thawed and warmed up.

We demonstrated how gneiss forms by pressing together and folding flat layers of Play-Doh.

We learned how metamorphic rocks are made.

We demonstrated how metamorphic rocks are made by putting boiling water in a jar with egg white around it and watched how the heat from the water changed the egg.

We demonstrated high and low grade rocks using rice noodles cooked at high and low heat.

We identified metamorphic rocks.