Rafts and floating.


Today’s lesson was about floating. We have done versions of this lesson before, when Nicholas was younger. But this time I wanted to make it more about states of matter, density, and him doing things.

Our practice words for the day were : raft, float, density, and on.

We did our normal addition work sheets before we started.

Then I handed him a pair of scissors and asked him to cut the foam we were going to use into strips. Cutting is a skill that takes practice, just like writing. It always takes longer than you would think.

Then we measured how long the rafts might be and cut the duct tape to the length Nicholas wanted the rafts. Then we laid the foam onto the tape and finished the rafts by wrapping the tape around both sides. Abby even got to make her own raft by laying the foam strips onto the tape. You can also do this craft with glue and wood sticks.

Then we took the rafts to the pool outside. We wanted to see if they would float – they did. Then we practiced putting things on our raft to see if we could make the rafts sink.

Rocks, bark, twigs, leafs, grass, toy cars, a Barbie ….they all went onto the rafts. Some made the rafts sink – made them more dense than water- and some things didn’t make the raft sink.

We went back inside and defined density, using the correctness and volume words and concepts.

Then we went outside for some water fun. The fun part was just as great as the rafting lesson. While we were out, the outside chairs got turned over and the rafts were made to float down the river ( hose over the back of the chair = river). Almost everything in the backyard got floated – or tried – down the river. It was another good lesson for them to learn, and they did it all on their own.


Google’s new “World Wonders” tool.

Google has been hard at work helping homeschoolers – even if they don’t know it.

They recently came out with their World Wonders page from their Cultural Institute. It has a link to various World Wonders. It shows the wonder in 3-D on the screen and you can tour through it. Some of the Wonders can be toured in various ages (they used computer modeling).

Even better are their educational guides to the Wonders. Google split out the guides by various grades, but someone who is excited could take a guide and make it match their child and educational goals.

These are really great. Not all of us can travel to all of these places. Some of them are expensive, some are simply too much hassle to get to. Others have health issues that preclude us from going. But by using the new Google tools, everyone gets to experience the Wonders.

We looked at the Palace of Versailles.  The model showed how it looked throughout the ages, and links as to how it was built. My son was fascinated with the idea of building without construction trucks. He didn’t realize that it could be done to build big things. This allowed him to see that people can build too – and they can build big buildings.

We then built our own Palace of Versailles using sugar cubes. They weren’t quite as wondrous, but we had a lot of fun.

Play with cardboard.


Not all learning is formal. Kids learn as much about gravity from falling and play structures as they do from formal lessons. They learn about building from blocks and Legos.

More and more educational theorists are saying that play is as important as formal lessons.

So we play.

In our house we always repurpose boxes. Whatever their size, we find a new use for them before recycling.

This time, I cut them up into a few different sizes an gave my son the different sized pieces of cardboard and some tape. And look what he created. It was a racetrack for his cars.

Abby got a box and she decided it would be a good place to play hide and seek with. Then it became the place she say and took her books to read.

Even boxes can be great toys.


%d bloggers like this: