Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

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


2nd Grade Week in Review September 6, 2011

Once again, we were gone for the weekend and got in really late tonight, so all of my weekend and Monday posts are a few days late. One day, we’ll have a quiet weekend at home! 😉  This weekend, we were in Michigan visiting my family, which all of the kids really enjoyed!  They got to swim, hike, and play with their cousin, aunts, uncles, and grandparents!  It was hard getting them to agree to come back home…they wanted to stay longer! 🙂

Art: In art, we are continuing our unit on places where art can be found.  This week, the first lesson was on finding art in pottery and dishes.  Jedi made a bowl out of clay by using an ancient technique–in ancient times, clay used to be pressed into baskets or dishes and molded to that shape.  Jedi used a small bowl as his mold for his clay bowl.

In the second lesson, we learned about art in palaces.  Jedi made a piece of art using the fresco techniques to reflect what he learned about fresco paintings in palaces.

Making his clay bowl


Jedi being goofy after finishing his fresco painting of a giraffe

Life Science: In life science, Jedi learned about the Cnidaria phylum of animals.  First, we learned about the different types of Cnidaria, and then we focused on the sea jelly in order to study the life cycle (egg/sperm to larvae to polyp to medusa).  Jedi then created the cnidaria page in his animal kingdom book.

Jedi's cnidaria page in his animal kingdom book


Working on his 3d model of the life cycle of a cnidaria


Jedi's completed model

Chemistry: In chemistry, we continued our study on the parts of an atom with studying electrons.  In order to study electrons, we used a balloon to find out what happens when you create friction on the balloon (by rubbing it on the carpet), and then putting the balloon on the wall…or his sister’s head.  He learned that the electrons from the atoms in the carpet transferred to the balloon, creating a charge.

The balloon sticking to the wall


Monkey helping us out since she was the only kid with enough hair to make this work.


Apparently you can make a balloon stick to a dog as well!

Spelling/Handwriting:  In spelling, we continued working on beginning & ending blends, and added in double letters as endings (such as ending in LL).  We also worked on when you use a ‘c’ and when you use a ‘k’.  In journaling, he continued to do daily journal prompt exercises in order to work on handwriting and free writing.

History: In history, we finished our unit on Ancient Egypt.  We reviewed the myth of the Nile River flooding, and learned more about mummification and pyramids.  Jedi watched a Reading Rainbow episode on how mummies were made, which he really enjoyed.  The episode was well suited for his age range, without being too babyish or too scary.  The video can be found here:


Watching the Reading Rainbow episode

Reading his history lesson


Doing his review sheet on the myth of why the Nile River floods


Math: In math, we worked on adding 3 to a number, and adding 9 to a number.  Jedi also did a lot of practice with doing math facts that add up to 10.  He still needs to work a big more on these, as he’s really struggling to do the math facts without having to count out each number, but he’s making progress on it!





2nd Grade Week in Review August 30, 2011

Life Science: This week in life science, we began our unit on animal classification.  For the first lesson, he worked on classifying fictional creatures (called Blobonians in the REAL Science Odyssey curriculum).  First he classified them based on his own ideas of which creatures belonged together, and then he classified them according to the provided classification chart.  The goal was to find the male and female of each ‘species’.

Working through the classification chart in order to pair the animals.


Chemistry: In Chemistry, we worked on the parts of an atom.  He learned about protons, electrons, and neutrons, as well as the nucleus and the space between the electrons and the nucleus.

Coloring his "Parts of an Atom" poster.


Math: In Math, we continued our work on multiples of 5.  We played a game called “Go to the Dump”, which is Rightstart Math’s version of Go Fish.  A match consisted of 2 cards where the values added up to 10.  We also began work on the addition board, completing the math facts from 1-10 of +1, +2, +5, and then all facts that add up to 10.

Working on his addition board.


Playing Go To The Dump


English/Spelling/Phonics : This week, Jedi continued working on beginning & ending blends in words 4-5 letters long.  He also worked on adding suffixes to the ends of words (ed, ing, er).  Jedi’s having a lot of trouble remembering the rules for adding suffixes, so we are taking extra time working on this.

Geography : This week in Geography, we began our unit on Australia.  Jedi learned about what it’s life as a child in Australia, and also learned about the flag and geography of Australia.  Finally, Jedi attempted to learn how to throw a boomerang…that is a lesson we’re still trying to figure out! 😉

Doing a lesson in the net swing

History–In history, Jedi continued to learn about ancient Egypt.  This week, we focused on the process of mummification and pyramids.  Jedi *loved* learning about mummification (sounds about right…this kid loves things like mummies!).  At the end of the week, Jedi sculpted a body out of clay and then dressed it in white cloth, King Tut’s mask, and then created a burial box, filled with “gold” treasures.  Jedi really got into that (the project was supposed to just be the mummy, but he decided to go all out and create a box filled with treasures. 🙂 )

Jedi wrapping his clay body.


The mummy


Filling the box with treasures


Art: In the first art lesson of the week, Jedi worked with water color crayons in order to create a picture using red, yellow, and brown.  The goal was to make new colors by blending.  In the second lesson, Jedi started his unit on places art can be found.  This week’s lesson was on cave painting.  First, we took a virtual tour of the Lascaux cave (  Then, Jedi created his own cave painting out of brown paper and black/red/brown/yellow soft pastels.

Making his cave painting


Jedi working on his color blending, with Bug wanting to color along with him.

Misc.: Jedi finally completed his puppet show writing project and performed it for the family this week!

Performing his puppet show, Silly St@r W@rs.