How to Make a Vegetable Brain

October 25th, 2019

make-a-vegetable-brain

Studying the brain? Today I will be showing you several hands-on brain activities, including how to make a vegetable brain. My daughter and I are studying psychology from a Christian perspective with a curriculum by 7 Sisters Homeschool. The first chapter was on “The Brain and How It Works.” We learned all the different parts of the brain and how they function together to help us to think and make sense of the world around us.

But first we answered the question: What is psychology? It’s the study of the mind, which is why it’s appropriate to begin by looking at the brain.

Throughout history, though, people have talked about the mind being in other parts of the body, like in your heart or in your bowels. Eeks! Even in modern times, we have sayings that refer to body parts when talking about emotions. Here is a list that my daughter Rachel came up with, along with what each one means:

Music to my ears— Something you wanted to hear
A sight for sore eyes— Relief
I love you with all my heart— I love you a lot
Keep your nose to the grindstone— Keep working
Cold shoulder— Not being open and talking
The apple of my eye— My most treasured thing that I’ll protect
Hands down— Not arguable

Next in our study of psychology, we looked at the human brain and noticed that it looked like cauliflower. Yes, it does. I’m sure you’ve noticed it, too. So we decided to grab some vegetables (including cauliflower) to make a vegetable brain:

How to Make a Vegetable Brain

Grab some cauliflower for the different lobes of the brain: frontal, perietal, occipital, and temporal lobes. Fit them together like a puzzle. Then shove a stick of celery into it from the right side at a diagonal, for the brain stem, which is connected to the spinal cord. A piece of tomato can be the cerebellum at the back of the neck, under the occipital and temporal lobes. Voila! A vegetable brain!

More Hands-on Brain Activities:

You can always draw a diagram of the human brain and color it it with colored pencils:

drawing-of-brain

Then you can grab some play-doh and form a brain by rolling the play-doh into a snake and then coiling it up in a spaghetti mess for the all the lobes of the brain. (If you want, you can make each lobe a different color rather than lumping it all together.) The brain stem and cerebellum can be formed out of different colors and attached to the spaghetti brain:

play-doh-brain

The brain is made up of neurons, which are cells in the nervous system that transmit information. Each neuron has a body, axon, and dentrites. While your play-doh is out, you might as well make a play-doh neuron:

pay-doh-neuron

Or take out LEGOs and create a LEGO neuron:

lego-neuron

Once you’ve done one or two or all of these fabulous activities, you should have a fairly good grasp of the human brain and its functions. (In the video above, I mention what each main part of the brain is, and how each part functions.)

If you are wondering which curriculum we are using, here it is: {affiliate link} Introduction to Psychology by 7 Sisters Homeschool. I love their no-nonsense approach, so that you can get through the basics of psychology without all the fluff. This gives us time to add fun hands-on activities, skits, and movies to the curriculum. Their teacher’s guide includes links to videos and articles online to augment the material presented, along with lists of movies and books that are appropriate to add to each chapter if you want to have an even beefier course. I’m loving it!

High School Astronomy for Homeschoolers

October 7th, 2019

high-school-astronomy-homeschool

I have been researching high school astronomy for homeschoolers for quite a few years, and it wasn’t until this year that I found a curriculum that looked beautiful, was beefy but not too mathematical, and that was understandable. I finally found it! I ordered the majority of these from Master Books, but my dad already had several of the books and DVD’s. The large Hubble coffee table book we got from Costco.

Here is a list of books that we got:

  • The Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky (includes planisphere inside back cover)
  • Survey of Astronomy: 9th -12th Grade Teacher Guide
  • Our Created Moon
  • Taking Back Astronomy

The four books listed above are all you need for a full year of high school astronomy. Besides the huge Hubble book, I’ve also added:

  • The New Astronomy Book
  • The Privileged Planet (DVD)
  • Our Created Moon (DVD)
  • The Heavens Declare (set of 3 DVD’s)
  • Binoculars, and hopefully a used telescope at some point

Unboxing High School Astronomy

To see the books up closer, take a look at this unboxing video, where I show you the beautiful photos and describe what I am doing for astronomy this year:

High School Field Trips for Astronomy

Just during the month of September, we have already gone on 5 astronomy field trips! The first one was an astronomy workshop at a local library, where the speaker presented many different astronomy activities that would be taking place in my area. I asked him where the nearest observatory was located, where the best place to see the Milky Way was, and when the next star party was scheduled.

nasa-space-suit

On a different day we went to a planetarium, where we leaned back and observed outer space from a domed ceiling. I’ve always love planetariums because it makes me feel like I’m an astronaut in outer space, just floating and looking at the nebulae and planets.

solar-flares

We looked through telescopes at the sun during the daytime, to try to find solar flares and sun spots. On the day that we were looking, there were no sun spots or solar flares, but it was still cool to look through the expensive equipment to see the sun without hurting our eyes. The Spokane Astronomical Society had a booth at a local festival, and they were getting the public interested in astronomy by having their telescopes set up.

sun-spots

At night we attended a star party, which was also hosted by the Spokane Astronomical Society. We were able to find basic constellations, the north star, and some planets. We actually got to see four of the moons of Jupiter, and a red stripe going across it! (I’ve never been able to see that in real life before, so it was definitely cool.) And we also saw the rings on Saturn!

nasa-space-stuff

Our family also attended another workshop at a different library, presented by a NASA representative. The workshop was entitled “Space Frontiers.” We saw a space suit, Shuttle EVA suit glove, small rocket steering thruster, Martian meteorite, and other artifacts. Joe Bruce was the speaker, and he had witnessed four space shuttle launches and the launch of Space X Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center. He described what it was like, from the perspective of someone who was there!

star-party

We have learned so much high school astronomy so far and have experienced it! I’m always astounded at how much fun I have homeschooling my kids, and this year is no exception. Hands-on is the best way to learn about a subject, and we plan to go star gazing many more times this year.

Field Trip to British Columbia, Canada

September 30th, 2019

field-trip-to-british-columbia-canada

So my grandma wanted to go up to Canada, and this time she decided to haul me and my mom along. Here’s how it went.

Actually, not much of the trip had to do with my grandma at all, although I did see her a bunch, but for the most part, we split up: grandma to hang out with her brother, and the rest of us to have a sunny day out. Lunch was fish and chips by the shore of Steveston Harbour. The birds really liked when I randomly threw french fries everywhere.

fish-and-chips

For some reason, the wind decided on being weird. So whenever we went back to the car to get the kite, it would die down, and when we’d come back, there it would kick up again. Hmm. Oh well, the wind can’t foil our plans to explore the salmon cannery!

steveston-harbour

A while back, the cannery closed down, but later on some people came to clean it up and make it into a museum. Joke’s on them, because the previous owners of that place didn’t clean up the fish guts before leaving. So there was five-year-old salmon in every cranny of the machines! I don’t envy whoever had to clean it.

salmon-cannery

Coming into the place, there was a life-sized wax scene with a boat and fishermen. All around the place were little pieces of history that were interesting to look at.

picnic-at-cannery

There were different machines for everything in the cannery, and apparently no safety features, as some of the workers lost fingers. I also heard that if anything was caught in the machinery, someone had to run across the building to yell to someone to flip the off switch, and by then, what was likely your hat got caught off your head and is now torn up and has messed up the gears and chains. Congratulations.

Other than that, the machines looked pretty cool. Oh yeah, there were fish scales permanently embedded in the walls and ceiling. At one point, scales were dripping down like a stalactite. It was a lovely learning experience. Well, I’ve probably grossed you out enough…

fish-cannery-scene

We got to see labels of tons of different cans from each decade, even cartoons to advertise them. But it really made me realize how racist everyone was back then. It was a bragging right on labels if it was canned with “100% white labor”… yikes! Because most of the time, Japanese women were hired for the fish gutting.

fishing-boats

The drive home (and driving throughout Canada) was quite pretty actually, and made me realize how lucky I am to live in Washington, which is literally an extension of Canada. The landscape included hay farms that wrapped their bales in white tarps and scattered them around randomly, making the whole place look like a marshmallow farm… Well, anyway, I’m back, and I enjoyed my time there.

PS. This blog post was written by my daughter Rachel.

Korea Day Activities

September 23rd, 2019

korea-day

Isn’t it lovely when there’s a little Korean town in the middle of a bustling city? And isn’t it even better when that town holds a festival of its own to attract attention to its little self? Welcome to Korea Day.

korea-in-british-columbia

This is the event I went to recently on my trip to British Columbia. The place itself had a grocery store, a bunch of restaurants, and clothes stores. Oh yeah, and ninety percent of everyone was Korean.

It was interesting. It was as if I was actually in some place located in Asia; I felt out of place as an American. But after I got over that and realized that they didn’t even notice or care about me, that’s when the fun began!

korean-restaurant

We got Korean pancakes, which were filled with glorious sweet brown sugar and peanut filling. After that, me and my third cousin once removed went browsing the clothes stores while the responsible adults left us to fend for ourselves. We noticed a certain hat, maybe it’s popular in that country to have sun visors that are super long. Our time of browsing was cut short as the rest of the group were trying to find us for the past five minutes. Oops.

korean-food

We went to a restaurant next, and it was so hot in there I almost melted, but that’s not the point. All the stuff we ordered were put in separate little bowls and put all together to look pretty. There were a lot of different foods. Mostly spicy foods. I have a feeling Koreans are best friends with fiery spices. My favorite foods were the ones drowned in teriyaki sauce. These were the beef and chicken dishes. We also put a bunch of the sauce in our rice, and we had no regrets.

car-photo

Overall, it was an interesting experience to get out of the culture I’m so stuck in, and see the way people on the other side of the world live. And really, Korean culture is not so different from ours. They have styles and brands and good food, just like we do, but they have their own way of expressing it.

PS. My daughter Rachel wrote this blog post.

Related Posts with Thumbnails