Sunday, July 29, 2012

FIAR: Grandfather’s Journey (Japan & Birds)

Geography: Japan

We found Japan on the globe and talked about how we would travel to get there – could we drive a car? IMG_3173Treyton was interested to know how long it would take for us to fly there. I looked it up, it would take us about 12-13 hours for a non-stop flight (wow!). We talked about how long it took Grandfather to get to the new world (3 weeks on a boat).  IMG_3175Sushi Take Out

One night, we enjoyed a Sushi dinner from one our favorite family restaurants in the area – and drank a traditional Japanese Soda which Aunt Toni just happened to bring us a couple of weeks ago (and we purposely saved for our Japan meal). IMG_3269The kids LOVE this soda (it’s bubble gum flavored) and you open it by “hammering” the glass ball that seals it – it’s good fun and taste good. 

Japan Lapjournal Pages

Alexa colored some traditional style Kimono clothing for her lapjournal pages as well as a Japan flag. IMG_3359She was proud to be putting together pages that looked a lot like Treyton’s school, but were her very own. IMG_3358

Play-Doh Sushi

I saw the idea on pinterest to make Play-doh Sushi, and I knew Alexa would love it. So a few days after our genuine sushi dinner, we made our play-doh version. IMG_3331Instead of using real seaweed however, which I knew Alexa would not work with after smelling it, we used wax paper. IMG_3336I of course explained that in real life they used seaweed, rice and whatever “stuff” you want in the middle. IMG_3337

Audrey was very excited about this activity, so she got in on the action too! IMG_3335

Craft: Japanese Cherry Tree IMG_3322After I drew the outline of the tree, both kids colored in the tree and then painted with pink paint and soda bottles, their own Japanese cherry trees.

IMG_3324 Treyton’s Japanese Cherry Tree

IMG_3326Alexa’s Japanese Cherry Tree

Science: Birds

Our science topic this week was birds, Treyton actually remembered a lot of information from our MFW co-op from earlier this year, so most of the stuff we did was review for him. Alexa however really learned a lot.

For Alexa I printed off some bird life sequencing cards to put in order from Scholasitc. IMG_3343

Originally I printed off this bird puzzle for Alexa to put together (which she did), but then I found these more simple animal puzzles from montessori-n-such that I LOVED (I created my own labels). IMG_3299So I cut those ones out from felt so that she could use them on her felt board (which she loves) and it works for her to do over and over. IMG_3300I will be using some of their other animal puzzles in a few of our other upcoming rows. I know I’ve said it before but I have to say it again – I LOVE our felt board!!IMG_3305I had Treyton go ahead and use the more complex bird puzzle.

Building a Nest

One of the kids favorite “non-school” activity to do is to build their own nests, honestly, I will find them all over the yard and they will come to me for different materials to try and create them out of. They use the Birds, Nest and Eggs book off our shelf for inspiration and correct design. IMG_3357This is one of their most recent nest creations – Treyton (the head designer) was trying to copy a robin’s nest. He did use elmer’s glue, which happened to glue it more to our front porch than anything else :) but he also added in the mud, strings, grass and sticks he could find.

We listened to a variety of different bird calls on this website. This was something that I had never really thought of, but that I think added a valuable perspective to our lesson. The many different sounds of the many different birds, what a creative Maker we serve!

Bird Houses

Treyton painted and assembled a bird house earlier this year at one of his VBS and we had yet to hang it. This week gave us the perfect opportunity. IMG_3347


Treyton had gotten a wooden bird house a while ago and we never got around to painting it. I pulled it out this week and had him and Lexie work on it together, and then hang it on a tree in the front yard. IMG_3320


Dad even let Treyton run the drill which I don’t think I need to tell you was a BIG deal for our little man. IMG_3350 


Bird Watching

We have two bird feeders in our yard. One right next to the window – we enjoy watching a lot of house sparrows and finches from this feeder. The other is out near our garden. On that one we will occasionally see a couple of cardinals, a blue jay and lots of black birds (which we are not fond of). While bird watching this week I asked Treyton to draw one of the birds from our yard in his nature journal as well as to write a sentence about it – he chose the cardinal.IMG_3345 Preening Experiment

While we were camping we did a bird preening experiment. We took two sheets of brown paper bag. IMG_3220We covered one with oil and left the other plain. We talked about preening and why we thought birds might preen, Treyton already knew so he explained the concept to us. IMG_3226We then took a bowl of water and added drops to both of our bags. We saw the oil covered bag repel the water (like it does for birds) and the non-oiled bag absorb the water.  

We then used a real feather we found outside and added drops of water to it to see what would happen. IMG_3227We talked about how important it is for the birds to have this ability, because without it they would more than likely freeze to death or become too wet to fly, making them unable to feed or protect themselves in certain weather. We talked about how wise God is to design them with this ability.

Bird Classification

Because we are focusing so much on classification in our REAL Life Science curriculum, we went ahead and did the classification experiment they included. We cut up an assortment of random bird pictures (fake birds, presumably) and I had Treyton classify them as though he were a scientist. IMG_3231At first I gave him no direction – after he got started, I did remind him that he should sort them only according to one primary characteristic (at a time). He had chosen to sort them according to their feet type – clawed, long toed or webbed. He did really great at this activity. He really enjoys “pretending” to be an expert. IMG_3232Miscellaneous Printables

Just for fun, I printed off a copy of some bird mazes for the kids because they both love doing them. It was a little too easy for Treyton, but he did it anyway :)

I also happened to run into this bird r-controlled vowel worksheet, which is what Treyton has been working on in spelling so I printed that for him to work on in his spare time.

Links and Ideas (some I didn’t get too)

Grandfather’s Journey on Homeschool Share

Grandfather’s Journey @ Delightful Learning

Grandfather’s Journey @ Our Homeschool Fun

Color the Japanese Flag (and other coloring pages) at

A very helpful list of Bird Units, particularly montessori inspired activities.

1 comment:

Deb Chitwood said...

You have so many wonderful hands-on activities, Amber! Thanks so much for linking to my bird unit! I added your post to my Montessori-Inspired Bird Unit at