Saturday, 12 May 2018

A British Garden, Part Three

Hunting for flowers to inspect under a microscope.



The female part of a flower is called the pistil. It comprises, the stigma, style, ovary and ovule.

The male part of a flower is called the stamen. It comprises the filament and the anther.

A flower with both male and female parts is called a perfect flower.

A flower with only one part is called an imperfect flower.

The children spent a morning identifying these parts in different flowers. It was fascinating.

Pollen on the anther.









The Boy dissected a pistil he found...

And located the inside of the style and the ovary.

He cut open the ovary and found the ovules (eggs). Amazing and so teeny!

Monkey Girl took her studies out into the beautiful sunshine. Please stay, sun!

In search of blossom flowers to investigate. 
We talked about how once an ovule is fertilised the ovary becomes the fruit of the plant or tree, such as a tomato, apple or blackberry.

Consolidating their work on paper.


Cheery mornings are for making teeny fairy doors.





We planted beans against the sides of glass jars so we could watch their roots form and the plant grow.


And the same with carrot seeds.


And cress because it's easy and fun.

Growing marigolds from seed.


The Boy and I researched how to take a cutting from a tree to grow another tree. Watch this space.

Beetle books

We have previously successfully drawn earthworms to the surface by soaking the ground with water but we had no luck this time...

...so we dug some up from our experimental and much loved mud patch...

...and bought them inside for some earthworm experiments.


Using damp and dry conditions in dark and light parts of the the box we confirmed earthworms prefer the dark and damp.

Earthworms have bristles on their bodies which help them move through the soil and cling to their burrow when they are being pulled by predators (we had this issue when a tiny one started climbing into a tiny hole in our microscope!). The kiddies put worms on paper and listened to the noise of their bristles.

Looking for the bristles. 

And looking at the segments and heads. So cool up close!

Earthworm worksheets (life-cycle, vocabulary, labeling, writing and comprehension).

Monkey Girl is off on her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition this weekend.

We finished the week with a trip to the library, a date night for Mummy and Papa, a party with cousins, and a whole lotta' rain. Bleurgh. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

A British Garden, Part Two

Ballet Girl has finished her second book! Over 70,000 words and a year of dedication. She is now editing and looking for a publisher. I am so incredibly proud.

Panda Girl scattered this beautiful idea across the rose bed in our garden. 

Anatomy of a bee. Panda Girl (The Boy has been wiped out with bad chicken pox this week) looked at this cool picture and we discussed all its parts.

We dissected a dead honey bee to see if we could locate all the parts in the picture.



We found the honey sac straight away - really incredible to see something so tiny which is actually such a significant part of our lives. Honey bees can visit 10,000 flowers a day yet only make enough honey in their entire lives to fill a teaspoon!

Even my poorly Boy wanted a look.

And big sister Monkey Girl was called from her studies to inspect.

We also found the brain,

the wing,

the proboscis,

and the hair on its legs which capture pollen.

We did manage to slice open the stomach but that was a bit too gross to look at for long under the microscope apparently...

Panda Girl made a tiny display of her dissected bee.


And then, in contrast, made an enormous picture of the anatomy of a bee.


She's so great at drawing (!) and this really helped solidify what she had seen.

Continuing our honey theme from last week she made honey milkshakes...

...topped with hob-nob crumbs.


Making hexagonal honey bee cells from a hive.


The cells contain honey, pollen, bee eggs or baby bees.

With the last of our honey, Panda Girl made a honey cake.


We invited over our elderly neighbour and had a fun afternoon tea.


Learning how orb spiders weave their webs. After the spiders abandon their webs they become cobwebs. Cob comes from an obsolete English words for spider. 

Frame and spokes first.

Then a spiral from the middle.




Not all spiders weave spiral webs. Panda Girl went on a web hunt and found a house spider's sticky web.

We read some amazing spider facts but we think these two are our favourite:

"Spider webs are not passive traps. Instead, because of electrically conducive glue spread across their surface, webs spring towards their prey. Scientists also found that the glue spirals on the web distort Earth’s electric field within a few millimetres of the web."

"The silk in a spider’s web is five times stronger than a strand of steel that is the same thickness. A web made of strands of spider silk as thick as a pencil could stop a Boeing 747 jumbo jet in flight. Scientists still cannot replicate the strength and elasticity of a spider’s silk.

 And also that spiders' legs use hydraulic pressure to move!


Panda Girl drew a forget-me-not by looking at it through a microscope.

The Boy started to feel better so he joined us for a mini-beast identification day.








Nanny sent over her egg identification book. Thank you, Nanny!

We went into the garden together to pick dandelions to make dandelion tea and the children found a whole bunch of four leaf clovers! Everybody is very happy. :)



Anyway, we needed fresh dandelion leaves and roots for our tea.







I loved it! The children - not so much. Tut!

Raft design and construction.



They're both brilliant!

Our garden time rolled into a beautiful weekend. Everybody, except maybe the baby, spent the entire day on Saturday weeding and chopping and sawing and trimming and mowing and carrying and ta daa! The garden is ready for Summer!






Even the guinea pigs had a spring clean :)


We celebrated our hard work with a bonfire and drinks.



The children started back at the lake with cadets this week in time for boating season. They have courses and competitions coming up. 

Monkey Girl had her Intermediate Ballet Exam on Wednesday with the Royal Academy of Dance. Results in a month or so.

The Boy managed to be well enough for his guitar lesson later in the week but he missed Taekwondo, freestyle gym and his last rugby training of the season so he's a little gutted. 

Panda Girl and The Boy continue with their workbooks in the afternoons. 

My two big girls are ploughing through their American High School Diploma. Some subjects are taking longer than others but they are keeping their heads down. Keep going, girls. I'm very proud of you. You can do this.