Morocco,the Five Senses, the Urinary System, the Digestive System, the Central Nervous System, and a Monarch Hatch-Out

One of my favorite topics for kids is the five senses.  There is much fun to be had guessing at paper bag items by touch, smelling spice canisters, and shaking plastic eggs to make sound matches.

On this second week of studying the human body we were able to label a poster of what we’ve learned.

We went in depth into the digestive system because it’s everybody’s favorite.  Oh, it isn’t?  Well, it’s our favorite.

We also did the Bread in the Bag simulation of the digestive system.  It was effective in demonstrating the steps of mechanical breakdown in the mouth (child rips up bread with fingers), the breaking down of the food in the stomach (add water and squeeze for a while), the absorption of water by the large intestine (pour water out of one corner of the bag), and the waste passing out of the body (squeeze all food out of one corner of the bag into the sink).

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Labeling pictures has quite a bit of value for our daughter- it helps her retain new vocabulary words, encourages her to practice writing (which is not her favorite thing to do), and provides her with a finished product to present to her dad at the end of the day.

We had several field trips this week.  This one was to the Little Explorers Program at Historic St. Mary’s City to learn, “How to Stay Well”.  The kids put together a vegetable soup out of ingredients that were around during the colonists’ stay in Southern Maryland.

A second field trip was to a local college in order to touch a human brain.  This was a pretty amazing experience for a 5 and 3 year old to get to have.  It is good to have friends.  We made some brain hats before we left and discussed the central nervous system as well so we would be prepared.  We also watched several Youtube videos on how the brain works.

We were able to compare the sizes and weights of a rat, sheep, and human brain.

Our final field trip was to the home of friends who were lucky enough to attract a large group of monarchs with their orange butterfly weed.  The new monarch caterpillars built chrysalises all over the front of their house- under the porch railing, at the top of a picture window, on the front plants, and one in the carport.  We visited a couple weeks ago and admired their beautiful green and gold homes when they were newly made.

We went back when we heard they were starting to hatch.  Sure enough we found the individual above drying off.  We also discovered that many of the chrysalises were becoming more transparent.   In this one you can see the veined wings peeking through.  SO AWESOME!

We did mini unit studies this week on both monkeys/apes, and lions.  The paper plate lion masks, though not impressive, were fun to wear until I got tired of being a gazelle.  Too many predator/prey books……..

Target is currently selling plastic brain molds- we made this as our dinner centerpiece on “Brain Day”.

Our Africa study is winding down- only one more week to go.  This week we covered only one new country- Morocco.  We’d been waiting for this one for a long time.  The picture book above is called Mirror and it was a really great find.  It tells two side by side stories of a boy from Australia and a boy from Morocco on a typical day in their lives.  There are no words, only pictures and they are highly detailed.  Tomorrow we will attempt to write our names in Arabic and continue with Nelson Mandela’s Favorite Folktales.  It is another excellent book although geared more toward a 2nd or 3rd grader. The vocabulary level is really high and the subject matter can be intense.

Thanks for reading, that was a peek at our week.

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