Life Science: This week’s life science theme was the 5 senses. The first lab, Jedi studied touch and sight, while trying to determine if you can train your senses to respond more quickly to a stimulus. To do this, I held a ruler about an inch above his hand. As I dropped it, we recorded the number of inches the ruler fell before Jedi caught it. Now, this was a bit tough for him because autism keeps him from having the quickest reflexes and a high level of eye hand coordination. But after about 10 trials, he was able to improve slightly, from allowing the ruler to fall 10 cm to allowing the ruler to fall only 6 cm.
For the second lab, I set up a station for touch, smell, sight, taste, and hear. With the exception of sight, all of the stations were closed in a container that couldn’t be peaked at, while Jedi was blindfolded. At each station, he had to try to guess the object using only the sense being isolated. The point of the lab was for Jedi to determine which sense he trusted the most, and which one was most reliable…for him, sight won on both accords.
Jedi testing out his five senses to find out which one was most accurate.
Earth Science: This week in earth science, we learned about the water cycle (how the water that is on the earth today is the same water that has been on the earth since the dinosaurs, and how the water goes from ground to air to cloud and back to the ground). We also learned about the states of water (solid–ice, liquid–water, and gas–vapor or humidity). To do this, Jedi observed ice, room temperature water, and then the steam that rose from boiling water. To create condensation, he then cooled the steam (by putting a cookie sheet of ice on top of the boiling pot of water, and then again by filling a glass with ice water).
Jedi learning about the water cycle and solid/liquid/gas/condensation/evaporation by using ice cubes, water, and the stove.
Math: In math, Jedi was learning how add numbers to equal multiples of 5. He was supposed to add mentally, but he had a lot of difficulty with that. Using the abacus, he was able to do it a little more easily, but still needs to practice some more on that concept.
Using the corner cards (cards with 1 number on each side). He had to put cards together so that any numbers that touched equaled 5, 10, or 15.
What it looked like after Jedi finished his pile of cards.
Handwriting: This week, I pulled out two books on journal prompts for Jedi. Since he has so much trouble with handwriting and spelling, I want him to have short bursts of writing to practice with so that he at least can practice getting ideas on paper, without having to worry about making it “publishing quality”. One book he works with daily and each day gives two choices for journaling–I have him pick whichever one sounds most interesting to him. The other book has a short sketch that he can do on a particular fantasy/fiction topic, and then a space for him to write one or two sentences describing his sketch.
Working on his journal prompt about a funny dream.
Computer: On the heels of the handwriting blurb, his therapists and I have decided to have Brandon learn to type so that he can use a word processor for assignments where he needs to write more than a couple words. With the word processor, he will be better able to recognize when a word is spelled wrong, and then he can choose from the correct spelling when the spellcheck gives him a choice between several words. Jedi learned the first 8 keys of the keyboard this week, and really did quite well. When he started, he was getting 3 (non-sensical) words a minute, and by the end of his 30 minute lesson, he was up to 12 (non-sensical) words per minute with near perfect accuracy. We’re hoping to get him typing well enough to have typing assignments be written into his IEP in October (yes, he’s homeschooled, and has an IEP as part of the Ohio Autism Scholarship program…otherwise, he wouldn’t still need an IEP. Just thought I’d clear that up in case anyone was confused!)
Working on his first typing lesson
Art: This week in art, Jedi continued his lessons on an object’s shape and form. With a charcoal pencil, he sketched the contours of his toy snake, filling in accents using only straight lines. He also worked on color blending. Using red, yellow, and blue watercolor crayons, I had him draw whatever he wanted to…the only rules were he could only use those three crayons, and for every other color, he needed to create it through blending two or more of the three crayons he had.
Using watercolor crayons to work on color blending. He was only allowed to use red, blue, or yellow crayons for this.
Using charcoal pencils to sketch the contours of his snake.
History: In history, we worked on Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and learned about the first writings from Ancient Sumer and Ancient Egypt. He learned about papyrus (and then we were able to observe it’s relative, the nutsedge, in our own yard!). He then learned to write and decode messages in hieroglyphics.
Creating a secret message using hieroglyphics
Geography: In Geography, we started on our 2 week unit on South Africa. We learned about life in South Africa, including the form of government, main languages & religions, how to say ‘hello’ in one of the South African dialects, and what type of currency is common there. We also started learning about the animals & musical instruments used in South Africa, and listened to a South African children’s nursery rhyme.
English & Spelling: In spelling, Jedi finished up learning about the short vowel sounds, and also started learning about ‘consonant teams’ (two consonants that are together and form a sound, such as ch, sh, and th). In English, we learned about nouns & verbs, as well as putting the events of a story in order.
Working on his English workbook