Thursday, July 31, 2014

Night of the Moonjellies

Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha was our latest Five in a Row read and, boy, was it fun to dive into!  We did a lot, and there are a lot of links, so please bear with us.
We had studied New England before, when we rowed Cranberry Thanksgiving, but we revisited it with a reading of Travels with Charlie: Travelin' the Northeast by Miles Backer.
We noted this picture from the book, of Rockland Lobsters, since lobsters are mentioned several times in Night of the Moonjellies.  Apparently, Rockland is the "Lobster Capital of the World," so we decided we would be placing our story disk for this read on Maine.
We also read Surrounded by Sea: Life on a New England Fishing Island by Gail Gibbons.  (We read this for Cranberry Thanksgiving as well!)
This book gave us lots of information on lobster trapping!
Then, we colored our story disk for this book ...
 ... and placed it on our map!
We talked about owning and running a business, like the family in Night of the Moonjellies did.  We talked about responsibility and being helpful and cheerful.  We talked about the Biblical story of Ruth, and how she cheerfully and lovingly helped Naomi and was responsible with her work.  We then read Ruth and Naomi by Karen Nordberg Rooney.
Once we had finished reading about Ruth, we talked a little more about owning a business and came up with our own business plan, using this little "Owning a Business" business portfolio that we found at
 When the completed portfolio is open, there are little mini books with questions.  Each question lifts away to reveal her written answers.  (She was very proud of her business portfolio!)
 Her answer to "What would you sell?" was ... "XBOX games."  (Why am I not surprised?)  She also said that her business would be located in Montana.
 When asked, "What would your responsibilities include?" she wrote...
 This is the name she gave her business and the business sign that she said would be out by the road.  Funny girl.  :)
We then touched on life near the sea.  (We dove deeper into this a few days later, when we covered the Science of this book.  Keep scrolling.)  This was a GREAT book for discussing this topic ... A Walk By the Seashore by Caroline Arnold.
All this talk about lobster got us hungry.  It was time to make the recipes for the lobster rolls, French fries, and onion rings that are in The Five in a Row Cookbook (page 42).  We noted that our lobster came from Maine!
In the book, Mark and Gram make onion rings for the nighttime rush ... "She opened a bag of onions and sliced them into loops.  We dipped them into sticky batter, then into bread crumbs."  We did the same.
 Making onion rings!
 Ready to bake!
 She was tickled to have the food and orange soda that were served in the book!  And every one of these recipes was delicious!  I was worried she would turn her nose up at the lobster rolls after I saw how much the lobster meat cost us ($44!), but she did not disappoint!  She loved them!
The next day, for Language Arts, we completed this writing sheet from, and talked about punctuation, italics, first person point of view, and the vocabulary of this book.
 We also talked about lists, then made one of all the food items she could remember from the story.
 It was time to talk art.  We noted the medium used in the book was pastels, so I challenged her to make her own moonjellies picture with her oil pastels.
 I loved her completed picture!
 This is her cat, Emmett, in a raft, with a line still attached to the boat.  He is checking out the jellies.
 And here she is, also checking out jellies!
 The cabin of her boat, under a night sky!  So cute!
 After that, we talked about viewpoint, noting one of the pictures in the book is illustrated from a low viewpoint.  Here, Maggie is sitting on the kitchen floor, drawing the kitchen clock on the wall from a low viewpoint.
 (Her view.)
 (Her completed picture doesn't necessarily look like it's from a low viewpoint, but I think she understood the concept.)
 The last thing we did for art was make the "Watercolor Jellyfish" again that we made over three years ago (  (She didn't remember it, so it seemed new to her.)  All you need is a large piece of paper, watercolors, a brush, and a bit of water.  Here, Maggie is painting the bowl-shape of her jellies with watercolors.
 Then, she added a few lines to the underside of her jellies for tentacles and tapped the paper against the table so the paint would drip lower.
For Math, we learned a bit more about money.  We read Money Madness by David A. Adler ...
 ... and The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Lanczak Williams.
We then talked about how money would have been used in this book.  We decided it would be fun to use play money to pay for our dinner that night, using food found in the book.  We came up with a small menu and a few prices to match.
To help with our "orders," I printed the guest checks at  (In case this link doesn't work, I found it through  Use it to open the pdf document and you will see the link on the second page of the pdf.)
 Maggie took my order first.  (Yes, this is her, in her Tom costume!  Who says homeschoolers can't work in disguise?!)
(Excuse all the boxes in the background in the posts here and to come.  We are moving in two weeks.) 
After we took each other's orders and made change for payment, we made the food ... hot dogs, melon slices, and orange soda.
 A happy customer!
Finally for Math, we completed the "Night of the Moonjellies Story Problems" from
Next, it was time for Science.  To get better acquainted with jellyfish, we read A True Book: Jellyfish by Elaine Landau ... 
... Down in the Sea: The Jellyfish by Patricia Kite ...
... and Gooey Jellyfish by Natalie Lunis.
We then learned more about moonjellies at this site by the author:  Once we read about ctenophores, it was time to see some moonjellies in action!  We watched these three short videos on YouTube.
Last year, on our trip to Seattle, we saw moonjellies at their aquarium and I reminded Maggie with these two pictures of her in front of their exhibit.
On another day in Seattle, we checked out some of the tide pools on the coasts and found jellies like Mark did in the book!  Here is Maggie's Daddy, holding one!
And here is Maggie, touching it before they put it back in deeper water.  Cool!
For our first jellyfish activity, we made a "Jellyfish in a Bottle" like the one we saw at, using a plastic, 2-liter soda bottle, a plastic grocery produce bag, scissors, white thread, and water with a little food coloring.  First, cut a large piece out of your produce bag that is shaped like a square.
 Pinching up the middle, loosely tie your bag about one and a half inches down with the string.
 With some sharp scissors, cut tentacles from your bag underneath the string.
 Once cut, turn your bag over and fill the bulb with water over the sink.  Leave a little room for air so the jelly floats.
 Push your jelly into your bottle then fill with water.  Add a few drops of food coloring for a fun ocean color!
 Our jelly!
 (She really enjoyed this activity!)
 Next, it was time to see some jellies glow!  Copying the idea we saw at, we cracked some glow sticks which we then added to clear plastic baggies. 
We added water to the baggies so our glow sticks would float, then put those in other larger, clear plastic baggies with more water. 
This is a picture with the lights off.  My camera flash automatically took over, so I was bummed we'd get no "glowing" pictures.  (I was not about to fish out my camera manual and start reading.)  But, the glow effect was neat.
Once the baggies were closed tightly, we added them to our bathtub, filled with water.
(Again, another flash picture so you can't see these glowing, but it was neat.  You'll just have to trust me on this.)
Once our jellies were floating, we talked more about ocean biomes.  Then, we read The Ocean Biome by Bobbie Kalman ... 
... Under the Water by Harriet Ziefert ...
... and Oceans by Joy Palmer.
 In the book, Mark adds some sea glass to the plastic bag with the found jelly.  It was time to investigate some real sea glass (which I had purchased at a craft store)!
After we learned about sea glass, it was time for a snack!  I found this recipe for "Sea Glass Candy" at using very few ingredients (sugar, light corn syrup, water, food coloring, flavoring oil (we used lemon), non-stick cooking spray, and powdered sugar).  Here, Maggie is mixing 1 cup sugar, 6 tbsp. water, and 1/3 cup light corn syrup in a small saucepan.
Then, we heated it over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolved.
Once dissolved, we added our candy thermometer and waited until it reached 250 degrees.(Thanks for my thermometer, Mom!)
When our candy mixture hit 250 degrees, we added 2 drops of our coloring.  (Maggie picked blue.)  Then once it hit 300 degrees, we removed it from the heat and added our lemon flavoring.
Our next step was to pour the candy onto a prepared pan to cool.
Once cool, we covered it in waxed paper and had a whack at it with a hammer!  So fun!
Once cracked, we poured it into a bowl and added a bit of powdered sugar to keep it from sticking and to give it that buffed look.
Sea Glass Candy!  YUM!
Finally, we played the "Moonjellies File Folder Game" from, with trivia questions created from this book.
We used pieces of sea glass as our game pieces!
She was the victor and very happy about it!
 Thanks for checking in with us!

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