Friday, May 6, 2011

Joy School - Mountains and Arctic

Between taking an Easter break, and sick kids in our Joy School families, April Joy School was minimal. To make up for lost time, we combined two of our weekly themes into one meeting that two moms jointly hosted.

First, one mom taught us about mountains.

Lesson Time:

First we talked about what a mountain is. What do they look like? What are they made out of? Have you ever been to the mountains? What did you do?

Then she showed several pictures of mountains and pointed out the tree line.

Lastly, we discussed the different ways that mountains can be formed: volcanoes, two tectonic plates overlapping, or the last kind when the earth is getting pushed from two sides, and buckles under the pressure. For this last one, she used a sheet of paper and held on to both ends. Then she slid the ends towards the center, which forced the paper to move up in the middle. Our very own paper 'mountain.' Great visual.

Art and Snack Time:

This was such a fun idea. We made Rice Krispie Treat Volcanoes.

The kids all got to take turns adding in the ingredients for the treat. (We added some chocolate too to make our mountains brown. Plus chocolate makes everything better!)

Once they were all mixed up, each child got a sheet of waxed paper and a little blob of butter to smear all over their hands so that they could work with the Rice Krispies without sticking. It was funny to see which kids weren't reserved about touching the butter, and which were (mine!).

Once they were all buttery, they shaped their scoop of treats into a mountainous form, and to make it into a volcano, they added a depression on the top by pressing in their fingers. It was so fun to watch them sculpt their snack.

While it set, we moved on.

Story Time:
This was a very peaceful, quiet book. I think I'd like to read it to my kids next winter while there is a cozy fire burning in the fireplace and we are snuggled under a quilt, drinking hot chocolate. That seems like the perfect setting.

Craft Time:

For our mountain craft, we made some rustic bird feeders. The pine cones we used were actually from the Rocky Mountains, and the host mom had picked them up several summers earlier on a hike. Kinda cool, eh?

The kids were each given a little bowl of peanut butter and a Popsicle stick to spread it on their entire pine cone.

Bird seed was poured into a pie pan, and then the kids rolled their pine cones in it.

(This picture is in our own backyard. Almost as soon as we got home, my little Joy Schooler wanted that hanging up on our tree!)

Snack Number Two

Yup, it was a lucky day with two snacks. This one was something you eat while you are in the mountains. Trail Mix!

And I think I'll just admit here that I pilfered a lot of his while he wasn't watching. I had to go and buy my own later. It was so good, and had been so long since I'd had it. Yum.

Then we switched gears, and moved into the Arctic portion of our day.

Lesson Time:

This is a REALLY blurry picture, I know. But it was the book she used as a resource for her lesson and it had some great pictures in it.

We learned about the Arctic circle and where the Arctic officially begins. Here, I learned something: Did you know much of Quebec was in the Arctic? I didn't realize that.

We talked about the months of darkness, the months of light, the animals of the region, and the plants that survived there.

Craft Time:

I will try to explain what we did here: She had cut out the form of a polar bear and then we loosely put a clear plastic bag over the area. After it was taped down, we flipped it over and filled up the plastic bag area with cotton balls. Then we flipped it back over on top of a sheet of black paper, (to be the long arctic night) sandwiching the cotton balls between the black paper and the plastic bag, creating a puffed out looking polar bear.

I wish I could describe the instructions more clearly, but it was very creative.

At this point we began to run out of time, which was too bad since this mom had clearly prepared more to do with us. She even went to the library for resources, and since she hates the library, this is saying something.

But before we left, she handed out this Arctic Counting Book.

And I was extra glad to find the link to share it with you, because I thought it was really great.

Another very fun week. I really love that I have this time set aside each week to spend opening the world to my preschooler. It has been so good for us!

1 comment:

  1. Fun! I love seeing how your group taught the same topics. I did the arctic too. So many great ideas can't wait to use them in one form or another around our house.


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