Thank you for coming back for more fun at the CSH Blog. This is an exciting week because we get to learn about a new saint, Mother Rose Duchesne AND a new art form, Pioneer Quilts! How cool is it also, that we learn about sewing machines in History, while we’re learning about quilts in Art?
Religion/ Math/ Language Arts
- Print the Saint Fun Pack and learn about Mother Rose Duchesne. Complete the activities for Week 10 in the Saint Fun Pack.
- On my own blog, I took the poem I wrote for the fun pack and made a mini-book for it. Check it out here.
- This week students learn that God is three divine persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Analogies to teach the trinity are extremely prevalent, however they are all heresy in one form or another. The thing is, the Trinity is something that we cannot fully understand, and any analogy we use to explain it falls short of the awesomeness of the Trinity. It’s tempting to use an analogy, especially with the youngest students (I’m even guilty of it) so they can have something to visualize. However, for your older students, probably middle school and up, this would be an excellent week to discuss the analogies used to describe the Trinity and how each falls short of accurately describing God. For you, the parents (and older students whom you feel are mature enough), check out this post on the trinity on catholicexchange.com and the silly video for a good laugh.
- For even more on the trinity check out Tim Staple’s blog post on the Trinity. (He is a writer for catholicexchange.com)
- Perimeters and Area are this week’s math topics! Get a tape measure and measure the perimeters of square and rectangular objects around the house. Do you have a desk? How about a refrigerator? Bookshelves? Air vents? Get creative, and get measuring!
- Challenge your older students to measure the perimeter of something oddly shaped, or curved like a round rug, circular table, weird shaped coffee table. How can they do it? Using a tape measure can be tricky on those weird shapes. Use a piece of string (something not stretchy. Rope/thread/embroidery floss work), to measure the distance around the object. Mark off how long a piece of string it takes to get all the way around, and then use your tape measure to measure the string. (A practical use of this concept is figuring out how much flower bed boarder to buy!)
- This week students learn about prepositions. Find an empty cardboard box. Then grab a doll, stuffed animal, or action figure. Practice your prepositions by moving your doll/animal/action figure around/in the box. How many prepositions can you use? Hints: He’s on the box. He’s in the box. He’s on/off/outside/inside/over/under/next to/near/below/with/in front of/behind/ etc the box.
- Did you know, as a rule of thumb you should never end a sentence with a preposition? That’s right, all prepositions need an object. Sometimes even professional writers make this mistake. Have your older students search a newspaper or magazine for a sentence ending in a preposition. Then, you can discuss how no one is perfect except Our Creator! (This is a good way to ‘trick’ your students into reading more this week!)
Do you have a computer or table with decent speakers in your school room? Turn on this youtube video of the Best of Beethoven while you are teaching school this week.
- The sewing machine changed the world! What used to take ages to sew something now takes minutes. Have your students sew something simple by hand this week with a needle and thread. It can be as simple as sewing two squares together to make a doll pillow. Then if you have a sewing machine repeat the exercise using the machine. Which was faster? (I hope the machine was!)
- The Pony Express was sort of like a huge relay race. Ask your students if they think a race can be run faster by one person, or by four people trading off. If you have enough students at home or when you meet in your program, you can play a pony express relay game. Go to a track or set up your own race track (maybe across a big parking lot, with no traffic). Choose one student to be the mail system before the Pony Express existed, and four students to be the Pony Express. Have one of the Pony Express students stand at the start line with the old mail system student. Then have the other three Pony Express students station themselves at intervals along the race track. Give the students at the start line a piece of mail, and have them race to the finish. The Pony Express students hand off the letter to the next student as they reach them (relay race) style. Who won the race? Repeat with more students if desired. My bet (and hope) is that the Pony Express was faster at reaching the finish than the old mail system. If your students stumble over the hand-off of mail, you can still discuss how they feel at the end of the race. I’m sure the Pony Express students are less tired than the one who had to deliver mail by himself. Then have a discussion on the Pony Express.
- For your older students this week (middle school and up) have them complete a writing exercise on how the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision in 1857, mirrors the Roe v Wade decision of 1973. Strive to have an essay that is informative and flows well into a cohesive thought or conclusion. A suggested outline would be:
- Introduction (brief introduction of the topics, thesis sentence)
- Explanation of the Dred Scott Decision (Who, what, when, where, why, and how)
- Explanation of Roe v Wade (Who, what, when, where, why and how)
- How the two are similar (or different if you have a devil’s advocate in your family)
- Conclusion (what can you conclude about either or both cases? Does the supreme court make incorrect judgements? What is the real meaning of the 14th amendment. Who is the only just judge? Do you think Roe v Wade will ever be overturned?)
- For your younger students learning about the Dred Scott decision, have a discussion about the 14th amendment, and what the issue was at the time. Explain why it was escalated to the Supreme Court, what the decision was, and the later outcome of it being overturned. Then discuss who the only just judge is (God!). The Supreme Court does its best, but ultimately it is a human-made system and does make mistakes. Conclude your lesson with a prayer for our judges, politicians, and government or you can use this simple one I just came up with:
Heavenly Father may you send your Holy Spirit to reside with those making rulings on important decisions. May you soften their hearts towards the oppressed and unborn, and allow them to hear You speaking to them as they make decisions that impact us all. Amen
- If you didn’t get enough fun out of Week 1 when learning about Native Americans, here’s your second chance in the History Timeline. The Plains Wars involved the Sioux Native Americans in most battles. They are the type of Native American we most commonly see in kids activities since they had teepees and those big feather head-dresses. (I guess they must be the ‘Indians’ in Disney’s Peter Pan?) If you want a great book for your elementary kids, consider the Picture the Past book, Life in a Sioux Village. I know I’ve told you before how I like these Picture the Past books. I found this one at the Library.
- Field Trip anyone? I don’t know if any of you live in or near South Dakota, but there is a huge monument of Chief Crazy Horse there. He was in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, one of the Plains wars on your History card. If you are able, take a trip and see the monument in person; if not, their website has photos and even a webcam. It’s even bigger than Mount Rushmore! While you’re there take a look at Rushmore too, and talk about the presidents immortalized in the rock there.
- Discuss the presidents in office during this period of history (James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Filmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan). Check out the White House’s website with short bios of each president. Why is Polk referred to as the Dark Horse? Click the White House link to find out. If you’re building that cool Presidential Lapbook I linked to in Week 6, add these presidents to it!
- Teach your kids what gold is this week. Pull out some of your old jewelry and talk about the properties of gold.
- Check out the Mid-Atlantic States Lapbook Part 2!
- If the lapbook is too much for your family (or you love Geography and want more to do this week) use this printable to make a brochure for one of the Mid-Atlantic Features. Research the area and write what you learn into the brochure as if you want to draw people to visit the area. Use color pencils to draw pictures of the feature, map of the area, food people eat there, things to do, etc. Adapt this activity for your different age groups by requiring different levels of detail in the blank spaces. Your younger students can write one sentence in each area, older students should strive to make the place sound appealing. Use descriptive language- lots of adjectives and adverbs! See if you can get your students to all choose a different places to research. (You could print multiple copies and use these for geography all year!) Print two-sided and flip along the long side! Fold in thirds when you’re done!
Here are some links to help your students fill out the brochure:
And a few pictures of an example brochure :
- This week students start learning about pioneer quilts in art and I have to admit, I love quilts. I love designing, buying fabric, sewing and quilting the final product, so this art subject is a favorite of mine. If you want to foster the love of this constructive and time-honored skill, be sure to check out the Catholic Schoolhouse Quilting Book. It takes you step by step through making quilt blocks for the earliest of beginners!
- One thing that quilters sometimes do is make a sampler quilt. Each woman in a group would make several of the same pattern of quilt block, and then when she got together with her friends they would trade. This results in a quilt with all different sorts of blocks.
You don’t’ have to have a sewing machine or use needle and thread to have fun learning about quilts. For the next three weeks try making a sampler quilt at home with your students. Look up different types of quilt blocks and make them using construction paper. Stick to a standard size (for example a 9-inch by 9-inch square, which is easy since you’re construction paper is 9 inches wide!) for all your blocks. Then at the end of the three weeks tape them together and hang on a wall for the full effect. (or put it under your clear table cloth for decoration~!) If you have only one student, make a small lap-quilt size paper quilt, if you have several students, make a huge quilt! Here’s a website with lots of example quilt blocks. Don’t forget the timeless four- patch and nine- patch quilt blocks!
Here are a couple examples to be inspired by:
They don’t have to be perfect! You can let your little ones be creative and make a ‘scrap’ quilt patch too:
- Atmospheric pressure can be a difficult concept for young students to visualize. Have a discussion about pressure using a cup, some water (or fun drink), and a drinking straw. Look at the level of the liquid level in the cup, and in the straw– they are the same! This is because the atmospheric pressure pushing down on the liquid both inside the straw and outside the straw is the same. The pressures are equal. Now allow your student to suck on the straw. Ask some leading questions: What happened? (hopefully they sucked up some water/drink and its in their mouth and swallowed it) How did that happen? (They sucked on it) How did pressure make that work? (Your student decreased the pressure in their mouth by sucking) When they did that, the atmospheric pressure pushing on the liquid in the cup was higher than the pressure in their mouth, and that force of atmospheric pressure on the liquid in the cup forced the water/drink up the straw to the area of lower pressure/ your mouth. (Flow is ALWAYS from the high pressure area to the low pressure area) Another way of looking at it is that you ARE NOT sucking the liquid into your mouth, the atmosphere is pushing it there. Neat right? Here’s a sketch to help those visual learners:
Thanks for reading!