Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wassily Kandinsky

We have so much fun when we study famous artists, and it had been a while since our last (Vincent van Gogh), so I put together a little study of Wassily Kandinsky for us to dive into.  
To start, we read The Life and Work of … Wassily Kandinsky by Paul Flux ...
... and The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art: The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock.
Next, we read about Kandinsky's painting, Square with Concentric Circles (shown below) ... 
... in The Usborne Art Treasury by Rosie Dickins (pages 52-55).
The same challenged us to make some art to simulate Kandinsky's Square with Concentric Circles painting using a piece of cardstock, oil pastels, and watercolor.  First, she drew circles of different colors into the six boxes we created by folding the paper.
 Next, she watercolored over each box!  Kandinsky-inspired art!
On the second day of this lesson, we read more about Kandinsky on pages 74-75 of The Usborne Book of Famous Artists by Ruth Brocklehurst, Rosie Dickins, and Abigail Wheatley.
Next, we studied  Kandinsky’s Yellow-Red-Blue painting (shown below) ...
... on pages 54-55 of The Usborne Book of Famous Paintings by Rosie Dickins.
We then decided to make some Kandinsky-inspired art for ourselves using the Roll-A-Masterpiece game printable we found at
She had fun with this!
Those certainly look like Kandinsky-inspired shapes!
Finally, it was time for the best part, our Black Lines Master Kitz painting kit!  (I buy these through Amazon.  We love them!)
First, we traced shapes from the provided stencils and colored them in using watercolor pencils.  (This was her first time using watercolor pencils!)
 She filled up the page with these shapes!
 Next, using a sponge brush, she ran over each of the shapes with a bit of water to smooth out the pencil marks into washes of watercolor.
 Finally, she traced some abstract lines over some carbon paper, which appeared directly onto her painting.  (Carbon paper, too, was a first for us!  We love these kits and the new mediums we're challenged to work with!)
 Maggie's Kandinsky-inspired, abstract art!
 Neither one of us are fans of abstract art, but it was still fun to study and experiment with!
Our next artist study will be on Paul Klee!  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Primeval Reptiles

In Lesson 5 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day, we learned all about "Primeval Reptiles, specifically, the "four saurs": nothosaurs, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs, and plesiosaurs.
We also did a lot of work in our notebooking journal for this lesson.
After reading about the "four saurs" in our text, we referred to The Usborne Big Book of Big Dinosaurs to see some fun illustrations of these creatures.
Wow, they looked fierce!
Maggie wrote some of the facts she learned about these creatures in her journal.
She illustrated one of each kind, too!
 So cute!
 The book challenged us to read about leviathan in Job 41 of the Bible, a creature many have believed to be a whale or large crocodile.  However, it was probably one of these "four saurs," possibly a nothosaur, because the Scripture references "limbs,"  (The other "saurs" had fins and flippers.)  We were then challenged to compare and contrast leviathan and a whale using a Venn diagram.  This was a great activity!  Here is Maggie's work below, which we adhered into her notebooking journal.
Here she is, putting together the primeval reptiles puzzles that came in her notebook.  (Emmett, our cat, was sure he could be of assistance!)
All done!  Great job, Mags!
We added these pieces back to her notebook with a Ziploc bag to keep them from spilling out.
And here is the fact wheel we assembled from the notebook!
It was time for an experiment!  We sought to answer the question, "Why are the fossils of ichthyosaurs so rare?"  Using our text as a guide, we gathered the materials for our experiment: a small clam shell, a Cheerio, two small glasses, and gloppy mud.
First, we placed the shell in one glass and the Cheerio in another.  (The Cheerio was representative of an ichthyosaur because it has pockets of air in it, just like an ichthyosaur had.)
Next, we made some gloppy mud in a little, plastic bucket.
The mud was then poured into each glass on top of the shell and Cheerio.
We lifted the glasses to look at their bottoms and noticed the shell had not moved.
The Cheerio, however, had floated up through the mud!  The air in it kept it from staying anchored to the bottom!  This floating of an ichthyosaur body would have made it easy food for scavengers, meaning few would have fossilized.  So, the answer to our question, "Why are the fossils of ichthyosaurs so rare?" ... THEY FLOATED!
There are a few amazing fossils that have been found, though, like the picture of this one, below.  This fossilized ichthyosaur was giving birth at the time of its death!  You can read more about this fossil at  
We then recorded the results of our experiment in our notebook.
For fun, we picked up this Smithsonian Prehistoric Sea Monsters (triops) kit at Walmart to set up.
(She was very excited about putting this together!)
We placed it under a desk lamp in our classroom so that the water would be warm for hatching our triops' eggs.
There's an egg, laying on the sand!
Homeschooling is so fun!
 (Here are some updated photos of our triops.)
Later, we found a documentary on mosasaurs on YouTube at, called "Mega Beasts: T Rex of the Deep."  In it, they design and create a working model of the powerful jaws of a mosasaur and it was interesting to see the strength they had!

When we visited my parents, we stopped at The Estuarium at Dauphin Island in Alabama.  Here is a picture of Maggie under a model of a mosasaur!  So neat!
Our next lesson is all about fish!  Check back with us!