Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Tomb, Part I

Today was a good day.  We stayed in, got lots done, and have some neat projects to show for it (not to mention clean laundry, a clean kitchen, and a dinner in the works worth writing home about)!  During this sacred Lenten season, we have been busy studying the works and miracles of Jesus, leading up to his death and resurrection.  We have been using this great resource, The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories, particularly, the stories from the New Testament, which are chock full of pictures and written in short form in easy words someone Maggie's age can understand.  We love this Bible!
After that, we got to work on our special Easter project, an ongoing one that we'll work on now, through Easter day, a model of the tomb of Jesus!  But first, an update on our 'Frog Life Cycle Station' ...

Here is one of our first graduates out of the tank!  Maggie and Al released about three the first go-round and they happily obliged the transition.  But, of course, my crew just couldn't come home with an empty jar.  (Why would I ever think such a thing?)
 They brought home a bigger one to show me what our graduates would soon look like.  (This picture is deceiving, as he was actually about three inches long.  See the next picture for a better image.)
Here he is, a bit nervous.  (They let him go again within minutes after checking him over.)
But, alas, there were more to come.  They later came back with three LARGE bull frog tadpoles.  (You can see the difference in their size from the ones we've been caring for, here.)
 They also brought home a pregnant fish!  [sigh]  (I have to admit, though, that she does seem quite content with her new digs!  I guess it's much better than the puddle from whence she came.)  
 So, here is the new crew, compliments of Al and Maggie, now taking up residence in my kitchen!  (I am grateful, though, for a husband willing and eager go pond-diving for the sake of our daughter's education!)
And also, before we get on to the start of our tomb project, for those of you who don't know, when we review our letters (the sounds they make and words that start with them, as well as the practice of writing each), we always make them with something that starts with that letter.  Maggie decided that this week, she wanted to make her Oos with olives!  So, here she is, in the process of the same.
 'Olives start with O!'  (They don't make a bad snack, either!)  :)
Then, it was on to our tomb project!  I got the idea from one of our local homeschooling groups, who made this project at the park together one day.  We weren't able to attend, as Mags was sick last week, but we recreated it at home and now, we can share it with you!  For the initial stage of the same, you will need a large clay saucer, a small clay pot, potting soil, shade grass seed, and small pebbles.  (You will also need on hand a bowl, a spoon, and some water.)
 First, lay your pot on its side in the saucer.  (This will be the tomb.)  Surround it with a layer of your pebbles, which will keep the 'tomb' from rolling around.  (Mags always has that tongue out when she's really in the thick of things!)  :)
 Next, prepare your seed mixture.  Pour a significant amount of soil into your bowl, followed by a handful of grass seed.  Mix well.
 Once well mixed, add about a cup of water to moisten your soil, but don't get it too wet or else it won't pack easily.
 Our soil, ready for the saucer.
 Next, carefully pack your soil mixture around and over your 'tomb,' creating a hill.  (Once your grass seed starts to grow, this hill will be a grassy one!)
 Here is the back of our 'hill.'  It should look great when the grass starts growing!
 Finally, to protect our shelf in our classroom window, we placed our saucer in a glass pie plate, and put that on top of a large piece of plastic.  (This will be helpful when we water it with our spray bottle as needed, probably daily.)  Place in a sunny window and let your seeds sprout!
 Throughout the week, we'll tend to our grass seed, watering it, and trimming it as needed to create the grassy hill over our 'tomb.'  Stay tuned for more additions to our project next Friday, Good Friday ...
Then, for a fun Spring project, we made painted cherry blossoms using a large piece of white paper, a brown poster paint marker (you could just use brown paint and a brush as well), pink paint, and an empty, clean 20-ounce soda bottle.  (We got this great idea from http://alphamom.com/family-fun/holidays/cherry-blossom-art-from-a-recycled-soda-bottle/.)
 First, using your brown paint, paint a branch across your paper, like ours below.
 Then, pour some of your pink paint into a shallow dish.  Using the underside of your empty soda bottle, use it to stamp into the pink paint, covering the bottom, like below.
 Stamp onto your paper, along the branches.
 (She loved this craft!)
 Looking good, Mags!  :)
 All done!  Beautiful!  And so easy!  :)
Happy crafting!

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