Posts Tagged ‘science’

How to Make a Vegetable Brain

Friday, 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

Monday, 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.

Health & Nutrition for Teens

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

health-nutrition-teens

“This is going to be my favorite subject!” declared my teen daughter excitedly, smiling when the health books arrived. I hadn’t told her that I tried to find another high school science course that she would like, and that I finally found one. As a blogger, I get paid to review honestly the very books that I would have ordered for our homeschool anyway. So when I these books arrived in the mail free of charge, she was literally jumping up and down, which is highly appropriate for this subject.

apologia-health

This post contains affiliate links.

Flipping through the book, we could see this health course–Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition–is more than just a high school science course. It’s also about the mind and emotions, and how to cope with life in a healthier way. It’s about food and exercise. It’s about not being bogged down by stress.

It’s going to be fun for me to learn along with my daughter because we both want to be healthier. Part of the reason Americans feel a lack of energy is the food we eat and our lack of exercise. We focus too much on survival or getting the needed things done. We need to get back to a place where we are thriving and not just surviving.

Health & Nutrition for High School: Chapter 1

We’ve started the course with chapter 1: “Who am I and Why Does Health Matter?” This chapter includes the concepts of nature and nurture—that we are a compilation not only of the genetics passed down by our parents but also by our environment. Physical advantages can be passed down through family lines, causing the person to innately be good at a certain activity—like basketball or piano.

apologia-party-girl

The chapter also discussed temperaments, which are predispositions to certain behaviors, emotions, or thoughts. Learning about the personality types helps teens to understand who they are, in order to accept themselves the way God made them, and to learn to accept others who have a different personality than they do.

For example, if we are extroverts and rejuvenate around other people, that doesn’t mean that introverts will be refreshed at the same social gathering. We need to build time alone into our schedules if we gain more energy from solitude. (Many moms of small kids suffer from over-exhaustion because they can never find time alone. Understanding who we are can help us to thrive.)

Dramatizing the Four Temperaments from Chapter 1

My daughter dramatized the four temperaments. Her three brothers represented a crowd of people for the two extroverted temperaments (choleric and sanguine), while my daughter was alone for the two introverted temperaments (melancholic and phlegmatic). Take a look at what we learned about each temperament:

The fun student notebook includes pages to take notes, activities and quizzes, a review for each section in the book, and multiple-choice tests. The answers for the tests, along with chapter extras, are found on the website with a code given in the book. Here is one of the pages from the student notebook that helps the student to internalize the information from the four temperaments:

health-notebook

Sexual Purity Emphasized in Reproduction Chapter

I love the fact that this is a Christian course, tying key points to Scripture (especially wisdom relating to the emotions and the mind) and encouraging teens to remain pure until marriage, which is rare in a health book. Here is a quote about sexual purity from the chapter on reproduction:

“As a human being, you can set up boundaries to control your sexual urges. You are not a dog or a horse that must act on the urges whenever the mood strikes in a parking lot or pasture. You must guard your sexuality and preserve it for marriage.”

apologia-health-book

Developing Healthy Habits

Developing healthy habits while young will help teens to have life-long better health. Of all the sciences, I think this one is the most practical for everyday life and can improve our quality of life if we apply its principles. I’m looking forward to going through this year-long course with my daughter, and I might be blogging more about it in the coming months.

To get a free Health & Nutrition Activity e-book and samples of the text and student notebook, click here.

If you would like to purchase this health course, you can get it here.

You can also follow Apologia on social media:

Two copies of the book set Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition are being given away! Enter the giveaway below:

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Ocean Shadow Box

Monday, September 18th, 2017

ocean-shadow-box

If your kids are learning about underwater sea creatures, why not make an ocean shadow box? It is super easy and will re-enforce the children’s learning about ocean creatures.

The first thing you will want to do is paint the box blue. It helps if a shoe box is a plain white color on the inside. We taped black construction paper around the outside of the box, but you could paint that black if you want.

In other shadow boxes we’ve made, we have spray painted the entire shoe box black, both inside and out. This is a great backdrop for any scene. If you are creating sea creatures from the deep, it is appropriate for your water to be black, especially if you make a flashlight fish out of clay, and place an LED light inside!

painting-shadow-box

Let the paint dry overnight, and then you will want to attach a plastic aquarium plant to the bottom of the box. Use clay to attach the plant to the box. (Make sure your shoe box is on its side when you decide where the ocean floor will be!)

Pour white school glue on the bottom of the scene, gluing around the plastic plant as well as the rest of the ocean floor. Pour sand on top of the glue and shake it off.

play-doh-manta-ray

If you have some small plastic ocean creatures, you can hang them with white thread to the top of the box. I used strong packing tape, but you could also use duct tape.

We added a rock and some walruses to the top of the box, along with some dolphins splashing out of the water. (See the picture at the top of this post.)

play-doh-hammerhead-shark

You can also create ocean creatures out of clay. We make a manta ray, a hammerhead shark, a starfish, a whale, and an anemone. If you study and shape one sea creature per day, you can add to your collection. You can display your creatures on built-in cardboard shelves that you have painted blue or black to match your shadow box, hot gluing the shelf into place.

simple-ocean-shadow-box

You can also make a simple ocean shadow box by spray painting a box black, adding a goldfish in a small fishbowl, and throwing seashells or any other ocean toys into the display.

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