Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

2nd Grade Week in Review October 1, 2011

Or rather, 2 weeks in review… ūüėČ ¬†Here is what Jedi’s been working on for the past two weeks:


Art: ¬†Jedi learned about two different types of art the past few weeks. ¬†The first was about artwork on streets. ¬†Since art on streets tends to be in statue form, both projects Jedi made during that unit used clay. ¬†The first was a clay sculpture of an animal–this project emphasized pulling the clay to form limbs instead of creating limbs separately and trying to stick them onto the sculpture. ¬†The second clay project was a face in clay. ¬†Jedi also learned about mosaics and chose to do a mosaic of Darth Vader’s face.

Jedi working with clay


Jedi's mosaic


Making a face with clay.


Life Science: Jedi finished his unit on mollusks by exploring various shells that were formerly used by mollusks. ¬†He identified the shells and labelled them with the animal that used to possess the shell. ¬†We also observed a slug that was found on one of the kids’ outdoor toys. Then he moved on to studying echinoderms. ¬†He learned that echinoderms can be divided into fives and practiced that by taking a banana peel that was split into fives and creating the shapes of echinoderms. ¬†He also studied real life preserved echinoderms. ¬†We also watched several videos on sea cucumbers and their ability to regenerate their digestive system.

Identifying the type of mollusk each shell belonged to.

Making a sea star out of a banana peel. He also made the shape of a sea urchin and a sea cucumber.


Studying various echinoderms.


Chemistry: ¬†In chemistry, we continued our work with the periodic table ¬†Jedi learned the abbreviations for several elements matched the element with what the element is used for and with the element’s symbol. ¬†Since one of those elements was sulfur, I pulled out a piece of sulfur from the mineral kit and let him smell it as well.

Working on his element matching.


Ancient History: In Ancient History, Jedi finished his unit on Ancient India by learning about the lost city of Mohenjo-Daro. ¬†We used the Indus Valley page on BBC ( to explore more about the artifacts found at Mohenjo-Daro’s site. ¬†We then moved on to learn about stone monuments and why civilizations create large monuments.

Viewing pictures of the buildings in Mohenjo-Daro


Reading about monuments


Math: ¬†In math, Jedi began adding two numbers where each number is a two digit number. ¬†We also learned that Jedi will reverse numbers even if he says them correctly–for example, I will ask him to write 62 + 48, and he will repeat it and write it, but then add it as 26 + 84. ¬†So, we’ve began to use symbols under numbers to help him keep things straight–we use an X under the 10’s place numbers and a _ under the one’s place numbers. ¬†This seems be helping Jedi a lot because he doesn’t reverse his numbers as much when there are symbols helping him know what to add. ¬†Jedi also started learning about Roman Numerals. ¬†Of course, he had a head start because he remembered how to write numbers 1-6 from the Star Wars titles!

Jedi writing his Roman Numerals


Spelling/English: In spelling, Jedi learned about open and closed vowels, and has now finished level 1 of All About Spelling! ¬†He was very excited to move on to level 2 this past week (although level 2 starts with a very quick review of the important concepts from level 1. ūüôā ) ¬†He also has been continuing with his daily journaling, still turning each journal entry into a game show script. ¬†He decided to do this all on his own, and by doing so, he’s gone from writing a single sentence for each journal prompt to writing multiple pages.

Geography: In Geography, Jedi worked on his unit on South Korea. ¬†One of his favorite things was using the internet to do research on the animals of South Korea. ¬†He especially enjoyed researching a bat found in South Korea because the first page that popped up in the search engine was a page where it showed the bat’s¬†resemblance¬†to Yoda. LOL! ¬†I’ll post more on that unit later this week. ūüôā

Jedi researching animals from South Korea


Using the globe to map out South Korea.


2nd grade week in review September 19, 2011

Art: ¬†Both of Jedi’s art lessons this week involved clay. ¬†In the first lesson, he used clay to make a seal…a raised object on a textured slab of clay. ¬†Jedi made a giraffe. ¬†In the second lesson, Jedi learned about art on pottery. ¬†In order to do this, first he made a clay pot, and then he painted some figures on it in black paint.

Jedi's clay seal--he put a giraffe as his seal.


Working on his pinch pot. Once it dried, he painted small figures on it.


Math: In math, we continued our work on the addition table, this time working on doubles (2 + 2, 4 + 4, etc.) and near doubles (2 + 3, 4 + 5, etc.).  We also worked on odd & even numbers.

Working on his addition table


Working on "odd" and "even". The tiles helped him to see what happens when you add an odd number to an odd number, an even number to an even number, and an odd number to an even number.


Life Science: This week, we finished our unit on worms. ¬†We used one of our composing words and conducted experiments with him to see if worms like light or dark (by covering half of a pan with foil and leaving half open to see what side he preferred), sweetness (by putting some ice cream on the pan and seeing how the worm responded), chemicals (by putting some vinegar near the worm), hot or cold (by putting a warm towel and a cool towel under him and seeing which one he preferred), and smooth or rough (by putting a piece of sandpaper on the tray). ¬†For each test, except for the vinegar, the worm had half of his body on the control and half on the experimental part. ¬†We then observed which direction the worm went–towards the control or towards the experiment. ¬†We found out the worm liked dark, cool, rough, and sweet. ¬†And did NOT like vinegar.

Jedi's worm for the test


Testing if the worm likes light or dark


Using sandpaper to test if the worm likes smooth or rough


Geography: In order to test how animals survive in arctic climates, we filled a bowl of ice water. ¬†Jedi placed one hand in the ice water to see how it felt (he didn’t keep it in very long!) ¬†With his other hand, we put a plastic bag on his hand, and then filled another plastic bag with shortening. ¬†We then put that 2nd bag over his bagged hand and molded the fat layer around his hand. ¬†Then, he stuck his hand in the ice water and didn’t feel any of the cold!

Jedi's hand in a bag of shortening. He then dipped his wrapped hand and his unwrapped hand into the ice water to see what each felt like.


History: This week, we began our work on ancient India & the Indus Valley.  The big thing that Jedi learned was that villagers in Ancient Egypt could use the sea and rivers to trade with the villagers in Ancient India.  We also learned about Mohenjo-Daro and the fact that the city perished with no known reason.

English: Jedi continued his daily journaling. ¬†He also worked on words ending in ‘ng’ and ‘nk’.

Chemistry: We began learning about the periodic table this week in chemistry. ¬†Jedi used marshmallows to make the first 10 elements on the periodic table–pink marshmallows were protons, large white ones were neutrons, and small white ones were electrons.

Using small white marshmallows, large white marshmallows, and large pink marshmallows to form the protons, neutrons, and electrons of the first 10 elements in the periodic table.


Close-up of a few of the elements