Tuesday, November 15, 2011

October Kindergarten Review: Weather & Seasons

With the weather changes and fall leaves that blow about, October seemed like the perfect month to think about weather and the change of the seasons.

We got a bunch of library book, pulled out some of the science books, and jumped right in.

Brother-Bug was already good on the seasonal differences, knows what season we all have our birthdays in, and some of the things that are traditionally done in each season, so much of the focus was on weather.

The first thing we did was make a calendar of October and start charting the weather each day. We marked if it was sunny, rainy, or cloudy, and if we thought is wag hot or cold. This was excellent practice for handwriting skills and observation (especially the observation skills for my book-bound little boy who would rather read than do anything else). On November first we counted up how many of each kind of day we had had - how many hot, how many sunny, etc. and made a list. We had a little discussion of what there was the most of, the least of, and how (looking at our list) we would describe the October weather. Was it consistent with our memories?

The detailing of the day's weather.

We did two awesome hands on science projects to learn about pressure in the atmosphere. The first was making clouds in a bottle! Papa-Bug found the instructions on this site and what fun we had. It was great for us to see exactly how pressure changes the cloud state. I think I learned as much in the project as Brother-Bug did.

Changing the pressure, creating a  cloud.
Once we knew about pressure, we made our own barometer, using these instructions. We watched the pressure everyday - here again I think it was just as fun and edifying for the grown-ups. We've decided not to disassemble the barometer because it's so fun to check everyday, as well as being useful for biking and hiking and planing other outdoor activities. Brother-Bug wrote a short report about what a barometer is and how it works. The way we write reports right now is that I ask leading questions and write down his answers, helping him find the answer if he gets confused.

We did seasonal activities, like a visit to the pumpkin patch, and hunting mushrooms - with discussion about what things are specific to each season, what comes ripe and what is happening in the garden, and similar.

Papa-Bug put a Weather App on his iPhone that Brother-Bug could easily navigate. Then they put location pins in familiar places - where friends live, where favorite books are located (James and the Giant Peach, for example, is in New York City). Bother-Bug would take the phone and Papa-Bug would quiz him to find out what the weather was in... North Carolina? Is it hotter or colder there than in NYC? What will the weather be like in three days where your Aunt lives? And so on. We learned all kinds of geography (a great carry over from last month's study of maps), comparisons, research, and sorting skills - and it was on the iPhone... which always makes it a special project.

We started a simple art project, making a tree showing all four seasons to tie into our conversations. I set Brother-Bug the task of using the hole pinch to meek snowflakes. He was having such fun with that job that I changed my plan mid-stream to let him do a lot more punching. He punched small green leaves and pink flowers for spring, and cherries for summer while I glued things. Then we listed out some on the things we notice or do in each season, leaving plenty of room. Finally (to keep enjoying the hole punch and do some math) we sent out a text to many friends and relations, asking their favorite season. When they responded, he found the season and joke punched it to tally. Of course we followed up with a review of the results - which season has the most/least kind of questions. .

Those were the high points of our October. On to November and learning about emergencies - first responders, what to do, who to call, buying a fire extinguisher, and so on.


Usually I get these reviews out in the first week of a month. With the Occupation work our family is doing, regular life, my writing projects, and preparing for the holidays, blogging has taken a bit of a back burner. Thanks for your patience. After Christmas we will return to our regularly scheduled blog adventures.

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