Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Pin Map Progresses

JV is unwinding himself from the strands of glue gun glue. He says that Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes was right, “It is worse than mozzarella.” The boys are now giggling in some shared mental humor.

UH. never mind. They want it to be shared humor. So here is the relevant part:

He has dedicated a few epidermal cells to the cause and lots and lots of his time today and into this evening to make the map.  Tomorrow he begins the pins.


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Filed under Geography and World Studies, JV, Oceans and their creatures, Science

Interesting blog post on Sponges

Variety_of_SpongesIn the ever widening hunt to understand the different aspects of sponges.  We found this old blog.  It discusses interesting aspects like giant sheets of single cells that cover some sponges like epidermis.


We then discovered this reference: “Glass sponges (Hexactinellida) have perhaps the most unusual body plan within the Metazoa because the majority of the tissue of the adult consists of a single giant multinucleated syncytium that forms the inner and outer layers of the sponge and is joined by cytoplasmic bridges to uninucleate cellular regions.” (Integrative and Comparative Biology Advance Access first published online on February 16, 2006)

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Filed under Biology, Science

And it is back to Casa

This week is split between Porifera and ocean geography.

AV is tackling the sponges and surprisingly they are not all soft. Ha. Ha.   Yesterday was research and today is 3 part cards.


Here is AV’s short paragraph about sponges.

Porifera, Our Filter Feeding Friends

As the name suggests, they are filter feeders. They filter via sucking in water through tiny holes in their “skin”.  The osculum is the hole in which the water enters the sponge.

Once the water is circulated  through the osculum, it enters the sponge’s main cavity, the spongacil, to get spit back out thus repeating the process.

Today he has created a classic three part card series of six parts of the sponge so the guys can quiz each other.


JV is working on a puzzle map. He is pin pushing the outline of the continents. (It has been a bit of a challenge without the puzzle map to go by.) He then is cutting them out with the nail scissors.  He is planning on gluing them onto a large sheet of blue foam mounted to a cork board which is serving as his oceans. His goal is a pin map (the work he most misses from his old school) of ocean geographical features.

He got his idea from a walk through of a discussion based on public school teaching materials found on this site:

Usually we only use college materials as we find the “age appropriate” materials too simplified.  However, this was not the case for this lesson.

So a day of three part cards and map work.  How 3 to 6.


Filed under AV, Biology, Geography and World Studies, JV, Montessori, Science

Our new favorite Quote

We went to hear a speaker about deep sea corals.  He is out with H1N1.  Oh well.  We heard a guy discussing algae eating krill-like creatures and the toxic intake from the algae into the creatures which they can “detox” from by eating other algae until the toxic wears off. It was a lot of  “consuming calories” instead of “eating” talk.

The grad students were interesting and their information was also for the most part in science talk which limited our interaction with their information.  The great exception was the study of beach “re-nourishment” sand type and the effect it has on a specific type (most common in SC) of bivalve.  If the sand is too “shelly” or to “powdery” the bivalve has a hard time burrowing.  She was great.

We also got to see Dr. Wiseman again.  He is our C of C professor of algae.  We were all excited to see him.  He had an invasive crab he had caught in the Breech Inlet.  He said ballast water is dumped when the ships load up at the port. The crab hitch-hiked from somewhere to here.

Anyway. Beside finding out about the amount of “poo poo” an 80 year old man will produce in his life (400 metric tons) – Dr. Wiseman in the q and a session of the talk – yes it was tangentially relevant, we enjoyed the presenter’s quote:

Seaweeds are not wet trees and marine mesograzers aren’t just soggy insects. (Hay and Steinburt, 1992)

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Filed under AV, Biology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, Science

AV’s project – Hunting Island, GA

AV’s project book covers:

Topics studied:

Geography of the eastern seaboard with specific attention to the southern South Carolina coastline and particular detail of the St. Helena and Port Royal Sounds;

History of the War of Northern Aggression with attention to lighthouse needs for the Union Navy and late 19th century Philidelphia; history and uses of light ships; history of Fresnel Lenses and their production;

Physics of Fresnel Lenses and construction of cast iron lighthouses.

Life skills worked on:

Time management:  making a plan and not getting distracted

Writing: writing rough drafts and revising until final is more polished

Art:  brush stroke, “washing’ water color, using rubber cement glue, aging paper, page thematics, placement of  elements for artistic pleasure, using a light box

Construction: Sizing and cutting wood, sanding, preparing staining, and drilling wood

Practical Math: measurement of wood, paper, spacial and geometric recognition.

He still is lacking a few design elements that he will remember later – headings on the pages like on the Maps page.  And he wants to add two more pages.  One on the phosphorous trade and one on the fauna of the island.

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Filed under Art, AV, Geography and World Studies, Oceans and their creatures, Projects, Science, Writing

The rest of the “work” day.

Then we began to think about presentation.  Then the oldest got a great idea.  “We have some old plywood. Can I cut some?”  Then we went down the rabbit hole.  Cutting, sanding (after trying to file first), staining, drilling, lacing, hot gluing fabric, deciding that there weren’t enough pages and we shouldn’t bind yet – not until more pages get done.

JV thought that AV had a great idea and wanted to use the scrap piece to make his own.  Fun.  Cutting, sanding (at least no filing), staining but with polyurethane so it hasn’t dried yet.

BR laced and folded his 62 card time line, finished the outfield, and organized the rest of his papers.  Presentation is still unfinished because we became sidetracked on an orgami box that would fit the time line.  (Poster paper is the size you need.)

Sigh.  Monday will be the end.  I pray.


Filed under AV, BR, JV, Practical Life - Elementary, Projects, Woodworking, Writing

Project week – Day 5

Today the kids were to wrap-up their projects before we went to Fort Johnson’s Marine Biology Grad Student Presentations to hear about deep benthic corals.

Here are a series of photos to show the day.

That was all before lunch.  THEN… the fun began.

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Filed under AV, BR, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, Practical Life - Elementary, Projects