Friday, October 22, 2010

Terrific Tigers!

This week we finished Terrific Tigers, another Download N Go unit study by Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse.  I have never really been much of an animal lover, but I found Terrific Tigers to be very interesting and I am saddened to find out how endangered they are.

We saw lots of videos of tigers; some large tigers and some very cute baby tigers. I didn't know that tigers are swimmers or that one kind of tiger even has webbed feet. Keep reading to find out how you can win a copy!

In this 5 day unit for grades K-4 (though my 5th grade son enjoyed the videos and library books) you will find:

Day 1: What Is a Tiger?
Day 2: Getting to Know Tigers
Day 3: Where Are the Tigers?
Day 4: The Science of Tigers
Day 5: Cool Things About Tigers

sample pages

For the first time since we started using Download N Go, I did not do much planning ahead. I usually print out the worksheets and organize them by day and child and place them in folders.  This time, I went through the the lessons the night before and just printed a few sheets.  We went through all of the lessons but we didn't write everything down.  It ended up being the perfect amount for the week.

This unit covers tigers, veterinarians, habitats, endangered animals and what it means to be extinct.  It also covers geography (one of my favorite things about all of the Download N Go units is the amount of time we spend using maps....just the right amount!), Bible, math activities and so much more.

We got a National Geographic DVD Tigers of the Snow from the library.  One of the video clips from the week came from this special.  The kids seemed to get a kick out of the fact that they had already seen that part.

We ended the week by making this tiger cake and cupcakes. (It's always fun to spice up a unit study with a recipe!) I didn't have all of the candy I needed so I just used peppermint patties and frosting.  I was going to make these cupcakes too but I didn't have the candy to decorate them so I just made striped cupcakes instead.

Connor and Ellie happily watching me decorate.

The finished tiger cake and some striped cupcakes to go along.

And now for the giveaway!  The Old Schoolhouse has generously offered a free copy to one of my blog readers.  Please read carefully for details on how to enter. Also, remember to leave me an e-mail address so Download N Go can e-mail Terrific Tigers to you. (Another winner will be selected if I do not have an e-mail address to contact you.)

To enter to win: (each comment counts as 1 entry)
** read the disclaimer below for eligibility

1) Comment on this blog post 
2) Post a link to this post on Facebook and leave me a comment saying that you did. 
3) Follow my blog and leave a comment that you follow it. (if you're already a follower that counts too)
4) Blog about this with a link back to my blog and come post the link to your blog in the comments.

I will choose a random winner on October 29. Now that you have read my review and entered to win your free copy of Terrific Tigers, go on the blog tour to see what others are saying and enter to win their giveaway!

Go here to read my other Download N Go reviews.

**disclaimer- TOS affiliates including members of the TOS crew are ineligible to win.  In addition, if you have won a DNG study from one of MY giveaways before you are ineligible for this one.  You are free to enter on another blog though!   I was given a free copy of Terrific Tigers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Outdoor Hour-Challenge #2

This weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to a local hiking area.  It was our first time there and a nice change from our usual "backyard" forest adventures.  One of the nice things was a regular path.  In our backwoods we are mainly just trekking through the woods without a path.

In this challenge, I read from the Handbook of Nature Study (just to myself not the kids).  We collected a ton of leaves along with a few mushrooms, some acorns and a couple of pine cones.  We were on the trail for 2 hours so that was a little long with the young ones but we all had a good time.  There are 3 trails so we will have to go back and hike the other 2 trails soon.

By the time we got home we were all tired so we left our bag of "treasures" until later.  After supper, we had fun making leaf rubbings and even used a rainbow stamp pad to do a few leaf stamps.  I don't care how old I am, I love making leaf rubbings.  (maybe more than the kids)

The main point of this challenge is to use your words to describe what you heard, saw and felt.  This was pretty difficult for the kids so I think it was a good challenge because it gets them thinking.  The next time we go out I think they will be more observant.  Here are their responses:

Jenna (5)
One word to describe something you heard.  water
Two words for something you saw.  brown mushroom (with a white stem)..yeah I know more than 2 words
Three words for something you felt.  soft, fuzzy leaf

Emma (7)
One word to describe something you heard. crinkling (leaves)
Two words for something you saw. wobbly bridge
Three words for something you felt. soft, bumpy mushroom

Ryan (10)
One word to describe something you heard. cricket
Two words for something you saw. animal den
Three words for something you felt. smooth stick (he couldn't come up with 3 words)

As always, I took pictures:
starting out on the nephew came along too

Emma wanted me to take this picture to show how tall the fern was.

Can you find Connor?

This was so cool....sprouting acorns

princess pine (we took some time to learn a little about spore cones)

Ellie wanted me to take her picture with this leaf.

the boys throwing rocks in the river

Favorite picture of the day.

waiting for everyone to catch up

I came up on Jenna kneeling over these tiny flowers she found.

everything is going to seed

Ellie and Connor walking the end of the hike hand in hand.


Emma was so happy about these giant leaves.

lots of leaves

about a foot long!

you can see we found quite a variety

Emma making a leaf rubbing

Friday, October 8, 2010

Expedition China

This week we did Download N Go's Expedition China.  This was really a crazy unexpected morning of helping my grandmother with Alzheimer's, doctor appointments, several days of rain....just not a great week but we were still able to complete all of the lessons.  Honestly, I tried to do too much!  I don't know if I have mentioned this before but I have a problem with perfectionism AND I hate to waste stuff.  I purchased this unit in the summer after having only completed one Download N Go unit.  I printed EVERY page and because I did this I felt that we had to DO every page.  I would not recommend doing this.  There is so much in this unit, it's really too much to try to do in one week.  I think it would have been better if we had chosen a few things to focus on. With all that being said, we still enjoyed China.

Panda bears are so cute!

Emma was the only one that really completed the work in this unit.  Some of the kids watched the videos and did some coloring but Emma went through all of it.  (I did make her do too much.  I'll try not to do that anymore...LOL)

The week before we started Expedition China, I started reading, These are My People by Mildred Howard.  It is a biography of Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China.  We are enjoying reading it and I hope to finish it in the next few days.  I also got a stack of books from the library list but we haven't really read any.  I think I will read some before we return them to the library though.

I originally planned to cook some kind of Chinese food but we ended up going to a local Chinese restaurant with a few of the kids tonight.  It was fun and we got to try chopsticks.  They also have a fish tank with goldfish (one of the animals we studied this week) and it had a pagoda in it.

Emma trying to use chopsticks. (I'm not sure what Connor is doing.  LOL)

checking out the goldfish in the tank

So, my recommendation for this unit would be to buy it but, do one of two things:

1) Complete it in a week but pick and choose what you want to cover.


2) Do all the lessons but take a much longer time to do it.

There is PLENTY here to fill several weeks especially if you add library books.  I am finding that I like to spend a week on a Download N Go unit (or 6 days if we add a field trip).  I just need to learn to scale back when I do this! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rocking Robots

Our most recent Download N Go unit is Rocking Robots.  We spent an enjoyable week learning about robots from the first toy robot to how robots are used today and how they might be used in the future. As with all of the Download N Go unit studies there are 5 days of lessons.  We spent 5 days working on the unit and then on the 6th day we took a field trip and made a special robot treat!

In Rocking Robots you will find:

Day 1: What Is a Robot? 
Day 2: The History of Robots
Day 3: People and Places of Robots
Day 4: Science Secrets of Robots 
Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Robots

Although I did get a stack of books about robots out of the library.  We didn't really use them or need them.  (My husband and older son did enjoy reading some of them.)  I really didn't have much interest in robots and the kids weren't that thrilled with it either but any time I've been hesitant about a Download N Go unit we end up having a good time so we went for it.  I think we all learned a lot and it was fun to watch the robot videos.

I didn't take any pictures while we were working on the unit but we visited the Mystic Aquarium where they have a large exhibit that features underwater robots and videos with Dr. Robert Ballard.  It was a great way to end our study.  Well that, and the robot cake! (You'll find links to the directions in the study.)

Dr. Ballard (a sign as you walk in to the exhibit)

a life size replica of Jason

I can't remember the name of this ROV (you'll learn what that is)
but the kids can climb down inside.

Inside the ROV. The port holes have "movies" going by so it seems as if you are underwater.

A Titanic exhibit where the floor is a movie screen that is like the sea bottom

I think I'll pass on that ticket even at the original price!

one of the movies

decorating our robot cake

Emma, Ryan and Jenna with our robot

We really enjoyed Rocking Robots and I was amazed at some of the videos and the things robots can do. You can read more reviews on the Download N Go blog tour.

* I received a free copy of Rocking Robots in exchange for my honest review.

Becca's senior pictures

If you read my blog you'll notice that I don't post very often about the older children.  It isn't really intentional it's just easier to blog about the things I am doing with the younger kids.  Anyway, Becca is a senior this year.  It really doesn't seem possible that we have homeschooled her since day 1 and she is in her last year.  Wow does time fly!!  We got her senior pictures taken a few weeks ago (she hasn't had professional photos done in 9 years...sad but true.)  Here are a few shots:

Outdoor Hour-Challenge #1

Today we completed the Outdoor Hour Challenge #1-Getting Started from the Handbook of Nature Study blog.  Over the past several days I read pages 1-8 of the Handbook of Nature Study.  It has been raining for the last several days so today was the first chance we had to get back outside.

I didn't have any agenda but to just go out and see what we could find.  Emma (7) and Jenna (5) came with me today.  We recently went looking for mushrooms and so now the girls have an eye for that and kept pointing out lots of mushrooms on our walk (many that I just passed right over.)  I took a few pictures of mushrooms that we hadn't seen before and some that they liked.  Emma also picked up quite a few leaves and filled my pockets with giant acorns.

When we came inside, Emma laid out all of her treasures (except for the oak gall because I thought it probably had bugs in it.) Then we looked at the acorn section on the Handbook of Nature Study.  After that we looked up a few websites on Oak Tree identification.  We think that the oak trees we have are Scarlet Oak. I cannot find my Tree field guide (and it's driving me crazy!!) so we relied on the internet.

I am really coming to love our little nature study walks.


I thought this leaf was pretty

This was a neat mushroom.  It didn't seem to have any gills.  It was very spongy.

another mushroom we hadn't seen before

bright yellow

There is a tall mushroom between the girls...we took it to show
how big it is but somehow you can't tell!

mushroom growing in a dead tree on the ground

mushrooms on a different tree on the ground

Emma notices tree roots.  She pointed out this Elm tree growing
over a rock. It's pretty cool.

Near the end of our walk we found this cool purple mushroom.

Time for a swing.

a gall

Emma with her "goodies"
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