Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Geo blocks.

I’ve not been keeping up the blogging here as much as I should. I’ve been taking tons of photos, but to sit down with all the paperwork and write down the things we’re doing formally is a chore and I’ve been procrastinating it. So let me inundate you with ALL THE PHOTOS for now. Later I’ll collect the other info and record it in another post.

Margie did a science with the lenses from the 3D glasses. And then she took the frames and wore them. Good thing I accidentally brought them home.

I went to see Jurassic Park in 3D a week or so ago and I accidentally wore the glasses home (on top of my head like I so often wear my sunglasses). This turned out to be a happy mistake since Margie likes the glasses for dressing up and she showed me a thing they did in science class with polarized lenses like these. You can’t see in that picture up there, but as you turn the lenses from side to side, they change tint.


The place the kids take science classes recently hosted an educational event with Sea World. I know. Sea World. Margie was surprised I was interested in going since we’d sort of made the decision to not visit Sea World again. But here was my reasoning: We would not be visiting the park itself. They were coming to the school and bringing some animal ambassadors along. I have much less of a problem with smaller animals than I do with them keeping whale-sized animals in relatively small tanks. We put no money into this. I mean, we paid our tuition at the school and I’m sure that money went partly towards this trip, but no extra money of our own. Whether we showed up or not would be completely irrelevant to Sea World. So we went. And it was fantastic. I may have certain issues with the park – and those issues may prevent me from visiting it again – but I do realize they do some good work in the world, too. And I’m glad my kids got to see that side of them as well. They talked about animals they rescue and nurse back to health and even showed a video about JJ the baby gray whale they saved back in 1997. They brought a balloon which they used to show how big she was when she was released:

how big jj the baby gray whale was when they released her back into the ocean

And then they brought out animals. A parrot, an alligator, and A PENGUIN.

and then the macaw flew across the room and my camera took a shitty picture of it

garfunkel the alligator

Here are some pictures of Margie swimming.




And then we visited a new (to us) place. The Tijuana Estuary is where the Tijuana River flows into the ocean, right on the border. We learned about some local plants, and saw some little critters.

Tour at the estuary.

Cholla cactus:

Cholla flower.

Honeybee on Black Sage:

Honeybee on black sage.


I brightened this photo of an agave plant to show you how rainbowy its edges are.

Adjusted the colors of this agave plant in #snapseed to show the rainbowy edges better. It was really, really pretty.


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farm food is just prettier

Spring has sprung!

This week we celebrated Ostara (the Vernal Equinox). Granted we celebrated it a couple of days after the actual celestial event, but the kids had begun the week with a head cold that threw off my game (or that’s the excuse I’m claiming anyway). Also, we had a field trip scheduled for Friday and spending Ostara on a farm seemed like a really lovely way to celebrate Spring.


This farm is right in the middle of the city, about five minutes north of our home, on a plot of land surrounding a historic Victorian house that once belonged to the WalMart family. Like. I do not have any clue why they picked National City (widely considered to be ghetto as hell) to live in (we did not even have WalMart stores here at the time), but there you have it. Since I am obsessed with am interested in local history, I have long wanted a chance to tour this house. Which we didn’t exactly get to do. We did get in the kitchen and we got to wander the grounds. Which was pretty darn cool anyway.

i want to live at there

it's a hard life

The kids learned about how to start a garden (mulch, soil, etc), how to prepare food (Elliott peeled garlic and cooked eggs), and all about composting. It was an excellent field trip.

hard labor

making the kids work for their meal

and then my son learned to make eggs

The day before our celebration, we invited some friends over and dyed eggs.

i sort eggs into rainbows. i may have issues.

How goth kids celebrate Spring:

how goths do easter

And, yes, they traumatized me with glitter. I seem to have survived.

and then the kids forced me to use glitter

Other stuff that happened in photos is below.

Very sprouty apples:

Elliott created (another) Lego game:
elliott's lego game

Trip to the library (blurry photo is ART):
Maybe I'll become a librarian.

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional Irish/Cornish feast. You know. How you do:
Pork pasty and cabbage.

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Still recovering from the Halloween sickies, and with a cold storm blowing in, we decided to skip our usual Friday park day and visit the Aquarium instead. Because it’s mostly indoors. And because we have a membership that we’ve only used once so far.

Elliott and jellyfish.

Margie and the kelp forest.

Elliott loves jellyfish, Margie loves the baby animals (she took the picture of the seahorse below), and the kelp forest is my favorite part.

Margie took this one.

In fact, Elliott chose a moon jellyfish as his character this time in Junior Theatre and will be performing as one in their show next week.

Moon jellies.

Leafy sea dragon.

We spent a little while outside at their exhibits about currents and water-power. But not long because I hear pneumonia is no fun at all. Elliott and I also checked out the shark tank where he used the chart to identify a few sharks before he got bored and ran off.

Margie found this conch that looks like an (upside down) map of Middle Earth.

Margie noticed that this conch looks like Tolkien painted it with a map of Middle Earth (and that the aquarium placed it ungraciously upside down). That’s both literary and scientific.

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And then we went to Mars and saw Curiousity.

We joined a local group for a field trip up to the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana. We’ve been there a couple of times before, most recently for their Star Wars exhibit. This time we went for their Indiana Jones exhibit, but before we got to see that, we spent time in the rest of the museum.

And then Indy went to the supermarket.



And then into the exhibit. Margie did the entire scavenger hunt they provided, and Elliott mostly watched the boulder scene over and over again. I enjoyed listening to the “Truth and Fiction” bits in the headphones they provided.

boys watching temple of doom scenes

elliott worked for awhile as an archeologist

As for the rest of the week…

In science both kids began working on an egg drop in their engineering class, and started learning photoshop in their computer class.

In grammar Margie was working on future tenses. She has also started working on a blog to practice writing which I will link to later. Elliott began learning about contractions in grammar.

In math Margie continued working on Roman numerals, multiplication (3-digit numbers by 1-digit numbers), and geometry (angles and line segments). Elliott continued working on subtraction, time, and numbers up to 100.

In history the kids both learned about pilgrims (the Mayflower, and at Salem).

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Science is Cute

These are the science videos we’ve been watching this week.


BABY ECHNIDAE ARE CALLED PUGGLES. <–Best thing ever. Also the fact that the plural of echnida is echnidae.

In other science news, the kids had to learn facts about their chosen animal characters for Junior Theatre. Margie picked the common dolphin and Elliott decided on moon jellyfish. The lines they have to memorize are below.

~The Moon jellyfish is an invertebrate, meaning it has no bones or internal skeleton.
~Jellyfish have no respiratory, cardiovascular, or digestive systems.
~Jellyfish bodies are gelatinous, consisting of a bell, which is the dome that makes the jellyfish swim, and the tentacles, which drop down to paralyze and catch small animals to eat.
~Jellyfish belong to the phylum Cnidaria, and their closest relatives are the sea anemone and coral.
~The moon jellyfish is the most widespread jellyfish in the world, living in almost every single ocean and sea.
~A group of jellyfish is called a bloom, a swarm, or a smack.

~The common dolphin is a mammal, because it is warm-blooded and gives milk to its babies, called calves.
~The common dolphin can swim very fast if it wants to using its fins, flippers, and malleable body.
~Common dolphins travel in large aggregations of hundreds of dolphins.
~Common dolphins are willing to dive hundreds of feet to find their favorite food, fish and squid.
~The common dolphin is not commonly captivated, like its relative the bottle nose dolphin.
~Dolphins, like whales, breathe using a blowhole on the top of their bodies.
~Dolphins have been known to save the lives of drowning humans by keeping them at the surface of the water.

And because the title I’ve chosen to give this blog entry has given me an ear worm of science, enjoy this They Might Be Giants video.

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Monday: Science Class

First time in a lecture hall.

I’ve been wanting to put the kids in these awesome science classes for a long time now. But Elliott has always been too young so I’ve waited. Until now. Monday was their first day. Both kids were nervous, but probably especially Elliott. After reading all the rules (like, pay attention and don’t goof off) I got afraid that Elliott might get kicked out. Heh. Luckily, they seem to have the classes set up into age groups and I assume that means they will be used to handling little ones. Also, Elliott’s friend Elijah is taking the same class. I’d totally forgotten they’d be there so it was a nice surprise.

That's Margie's head there in the middle.

Anyway, I went in with them and sat through the opening assembly and it was great. I got a fantastic feeling from the administrators. They way they spoke with the kids, taking them seriously and also knowing how to be silly with them, gave me a lot of confidence in the program. And, of course, I’ve heard amazing things about this program for years from people so by the time I left the kids to their classes I was totally comfortable with everything. I went to get a frappuccino and sat in the car reading JK Rowling’s new book.

How I'll spend the next two hours while the kids learn a science.

When I picked the kids up, they were so excited they couldn’t stop talking over each other to tell me all the cool stuff they did. They are each taking four classes this semester: Natural Science, Engineering, Computers, and Chemistry. Margie had the first two and Elliott had the second two; they will switch on Wednesday. Margie made a fan in her engineering class, and did some work with lightbulbs and batteries. They didn’t have a lot of time in Natural Science this week because of the into assembly. Elliott learned how computers work (and then came home and drew me a diagram) and did some work with different kind of liquids in chemistry.

Elliott's diagram Of how a computer works.

I’ve been worried about how stressful this school year was looking to be, with nearly every evening full of activities, but their reaction to these classes is more important than, like, dinner. I mean it. Srsly.

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School pictures

School pictures.

School pictures last week. It was so fast. We were in and out in 15 minutes, and that was only because I had to stop to use the restroom. Normally we wait awhile. This was a nice change. Except last year we sat and talked with friends while we waited and that was fun, too.


We watched the vice presidential debate. It was like the 1950’s in that we watched it while eating dinner, but we watched it on YouTube and brought the computer into the dining room. So less like the 50’s, I guess.

In 2012 the TV eats in front of you! I mean sits there while you eat. I mean the computer. This joke isn't really translating well.

At this point Margie and I discuss a lot of what’s going on in politics, but Elliott isn’t really there yet. I think it’s important to have this sort of thing on around him, though, so that it’s a natural part of life and when he IS ready, it will already have that space prepared in his brain.

In grammar Margie worked on verb phrases, helping verbs, and linking verbs. She has been reading The Twits by Roald Dahl. In social studies she began learning about the colonization of the Americas. In math she covered Roman numerals, multiplication sequences, and word problems.

In math Elliott worked on fractions and division. In grammar he worked on adjectives, commas, and identifying verbs. In social studies he read a graphic novel about Roanoke and dictated a paragraph about it to me.

But we also took a trip to the tide pools. Saturday evening I saw that a local newscaster was promising a negative tide (very low tide) on Sunday afternoon so we decided to go and our friends decided to join us. It turned out to be a good thing they came along because I would never have been so adventurous myself. We climbed along the rocks all the way around into a little inlet. Along the way we saw tons of hermit crabs, some shore crabs, some fish, tons of seaweed and kelp, and an octopus. I didn’t see him, but everyone else did. Lev even noticed him change colors. He was hunting fish. It was a really incredible day, and I hope to do it again sometime soon. Apparently there willbe about two negative tides a month until May. You can see the tide schedule here.

a bouquet of...  mussels?

me and elliott

my girlie


Margie took this picture:

margie took this one

Elliott took this one under water:

elliott took this one

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