Friday, February 17, 2012

Unit Study Week-Detectives and Mysteries--Wrap Up

We've had such a great time learning about detectives this week! I've learned quite a bit, too. (See other posts from this week below).

Since detective week was coming to a close I asked the kids which activities off the list they wanted to make sure they got to try. We did most of them yesterday. 

They wanted to make sure they:

1. Experienced the jigsaw method of glass fragment re-creation. We turned puzzles over and completed them only by shape--not picture. (Idea from Detective Science book below)

2. Solve Morse Code puzzles here at the National Security Administration website.

3. Play Clue board games.

4. Solve codes by reading the indented paper left behind on a notepad.

Things we'll probably try yet:

-writing our own mysteries
-reading more mysteries
-household photo I Spy which helps train the eyes to see details
-analyzing dirt samples

Celebrating Presidents Day--Lincoln in Perler Beads!

Just in time for Presidents' Day, my ultra-talented Dh came up with a project for making a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in perler beads. It turned out really well so he even put a video on YouTube showing how he did it. Find it here!

If your kids like using Perler beads I think it's a pretty do-able project. Let me know how it goes!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Unit Study Week-Detectives and Mysteries--Day 2

We spent part of today enjoying each other's Valentine's Day company. We also continued our discoveries about detectives.

1. We did the detective graduated book from homeschool share.

2. We continued reading mystery books.

3. We read a non-fiction book about the job of a real police detective.

4. We did a few more activities from the Detective Science book below. We looked at how different witnesses can give different perspectives of the same event. We also took our lip-prints and learned how they've been used to solve real cases (who knew)! We took our fingerprints and studied them to see what shapes they were. The detectives-in-training also tailed me during lunch to see if I was doing anything suspicious. (I, of course, did, since I was being "secretly" tailed.)

5. My sleuths also practiced their cryptanalysis (code-breaking) skills--I used several different types of codes to write clues to the location of their Valentines.

6. Some of today's new vocabulary: surveillance, stakeout, tail, impartial, contact-trace theory, cheiloscopy.

Ds8 said that his favorite part of the day was tailing me. Dd6 said that she liked so many of them it was hard to choose.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Unit Study Week-Detectives and Mysteries--Day 1

Today was a lot of fun. This is the basic order in which we explored the topic today:

1. After our regular devotion today we looked up several Bible passages in which the word "mystery" appear. In our New King James Bible Mark 4:11, 1 Cor. 2:7, 1 Cor. 15:51, Eph. 1:9, and 1 Tim. 3:16 were just a few verses that used this word. I hadn't planned this ahead of time, but there were many interesting things that came up about the mystery of God's will, the mystery of the kingdom of God, etc.

2. We talked about what we already knew about detectives and what the job entailed.

3. We did some searching online at Wikipedia for detectives and Scotland Yard.

4. We spent some time on the CIA and FBI websites looking through their sections for kids. We learned about the history of the organizations and the missions and careers people have. We also learned about the CIA K-9 unit.

5. We used the printouts at the FBI site to make credentials and we talked about detectives sometimes working incognito.

6. We used pages 5-14 of the book Detective Science: 40 Crime-Solving, Case-Breaking, Crook-Catching Activities for Kids. So far it's really fun and age-appropriate for my 6 and 8 year-old.

Product Details

One of the activities they did was to follow the correct procedure for securing a crime scene and collecting evidence without compromising it. The kids staged a "stolen coin" scene and then took photographs of the room to record any "evidence".

7. We discussed some of the mystery books they're currently reading, especially with regard to suspects, clues, and key words used to help solve the mystery.

8. Dh agreed to visit our detective school. He was to bring some things with him, take some things with him, and discuss some things with the "detectives in training". When he left, I asked the detectives to remember any and all details about the visit--what was he wearing, what did he bring, what did he take with him, what did he talk to you about...It was intended to sharpen skills of observation.

I should mention that we're using our Top Secret folders (pictured below) to hold some of the pages we've been notebooking/lapbooking on the topic.

We covered LOTS of vocabulary today, including intelligence, counter-intelligence, credentials, confidential, incognito, cryptanalysis, warrant, alibi, motive, sleuth...

The kids' thoughts so far:
Ds8 said he gave it a thumbs up. Dd6 said she'd give it 10 thumbs up. That's a pretty good start!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Unit Study Week-Detectives and Mysteries

The case files are ready.

The credentials are ready to be filled in.

The kids and I have been looking forward to this week. We're going to take time to follow and interest and see where it takes us. 

The goals:
-To learn about and do something fun 
-To follow an interest that we all share

To prepare, the kids spent the last school day last week covering math, grammar, piano practice, Latin, and Spanish. These are subjects that won't get much coverage with the detective unit.

Subjects that will get a lot of coverage this week are Reading, Writing, Vocabulary, History, Science, Logic, and PE.

I did some looking for resources online and have four major sources:
Homeschool Share
Scholastic (and search detective)
FBI (fun and games section)

I added other activity ideas as the inspiration hit.

I've inter-library loaned a couple of non-fiction books about detectives and science projects related to detective work.

I've also collected our dozens of detective books and inter-library loaned some more. These include Cam Jansen, Jigsaw Jones, Encyclopedia Brown, Concord Cunningham Scripture Sleuth, High Rise Private Eyes.

I'll report back on the activities we use.

Activity #1 For Fun: Watch G-Force, Disney's (PG) movie in which an elite team of special agent guinea pigs has to save the world. The kids really enjoyed the movie despite a few scary parts and typical PG-ish humor. It was a good way to get a "spies in action" feel. We also talked a little about detective-themed words like what a "mole" is (not the mammal).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday's Light Lunch--Yummy Banana Muffins

I always enjoy reading other people's Meal Plan Mondays. I get many good ideas there! I like to have my meals planned out each week, too, since it saves a lot of time and hassle later in the week. I'll try to start posting menus. For today, I thought I'd share our lunch:

Banana muffins (recipe here) warm out of the oven
Apple slices
Carrot sticks with hummus to dip
Nuts (for those in the family not allergic)

A note on the banana muffins: I have to say that I'm getting older. I can tell by the way I cook. For as long as I can remember I have had very strict rules--dessert and health should not be mixed. For instance, please don't try to put raisins in my cookies or chunks of fruit in my cake. Even oatmeal in the cookies or nuts in the brownies were verboten.

Fast-forward to the present: Banana muffins are a pleasure and I even stuck oatmeal in the cookies a couple weeks back. What's this world coming to?

But please, still, don't mess with my cake...

...or my brownies...

...or the Thanksgiving stuffing.

Maybe I'm still not as grown up as I thought.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Promoting Good Will in the Family--An Experiment--Update #1

For this second round of the experiment (see below for the original) I am hearing a lot of, "Ooh, Dad's helping Mom with the dishes. That's suspicious," and "Hmmm, Brother is letting me go first at...That's suspicious."  Wink  Wink

What I love about this is that people are pointing out good things that are being done right away. Why wait until "the big reveal" to share the good you saw? (I know I'll forget a lot by then anyway!)