Inside the Mommyvan

Homeschooling & Life Inside the Mommyvan - an old dog learning new tricks
 

My kids, like my husband and I, are fascinated with anything that has to do with outer space. We kicked off our school year with a star party at Kennedy Space Center during the Perseids meteor shower, and the educational activities that UF Astronomy students provided really inspired me to find ways to make science more interesting this year.

One thing that really caught the attention of my crew during the KSC visit was that a few different people talked about the “Mars generation” — that the first astronauts to travel to Mars are, right now, kids around their age. I thought I’d capitalize on this surge of interest, and a little poking around on NASA’s websites found a page chock full of Mars resources for educators. The main Mars Exploration site is another good starting point, and NASA’s main educational resources page if you have interests outside of just the red planet.

You’re in training, I told them. If you want to be the first humans on Mars, now is the time to start learning all you can about your mission. They’re eating it up. Even when it’s about side topics like what’s up with all those GPS satellites?

A big hit has been the Surviving and Thriving on Mars [PDF, 5.3Mb] activity booklet. Color printing makes a striking front-and-back cover page holding 16 (B&W) pages of games, coloring, puzzles, and Mars facts.

Destination: Mars [PDF, 1.1Mb] from Johnson Space Center has activity guides for teachers/parents and worksheet pages for students on everything from orbital dynamics to imaginary Martians.

I loved the Mars Match game [PDF, 4,2Mb] from the Phoenix Mars Mission robotics lessons page. We got into a great discussion about how scientists can figure things out about places we can’t get to ourselves from images alone, and what other types of data they use to answer questions about what might be happening on planets in our solar system and elsewhere!

If you have access to Discovery Education videos, Red PlanetRover [43 min.] is a great addition to these activities, following the Curiosity rover and the NASA engineering and science teams through the first 200 days of its mission.

Science is, for me, the easiest subject to make into interesting learning that they maybe don’t even realize is schoolwork, but it still takes some imagination and some preparation. NASA has a wealth of resources that make all of that even easier!

Well, <h1> (in html) used to strike me. But i do html with ease <h1> is heading (h) 1! I started with javascript, went to python, then to html, then css. 4 languages fast I enjoy this. You should too, or at least try to!

If you learn other languages like java, python, or css first. But it’s very wise to start with python. And how did I learn it? You will say “of course” but, i used python for kids! Its not just for kids. Adults find it fun! They find it most fun doing it with their kids! (the kids think it is very very very fun with parents too!)

I hope you find yourself telling everyone else this:

(you don’t need to read all this, its the same thing up there! 🔝🔝🔝)

“Well, <h1> (in html) used to strike me. But i do html with ease <h1> is heading (h) 1! I started with javascript, went to python, then to html, then css. 4 languages fast i enjoy this. You should too, or at least try to! If you learn other languages like java, python, or css first. But its very wise to start with python. And how did i learn it? You will say “of corse” but, I used python for kids its for adults to! Trust me! Do it with your kids and both of you find this activity fun!”

We all made lots of music on Christmas Eve!

We spent some time at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa yesterday. One topic of discussion this morning was the high-wire bike, and why the kids woule never ever go on it.

We did a little science project about center of mass and how it affects balancing, and now they can’t wait to ride!

 

Amidst all of the adorable back to school pictures our friends posted on various social media, these were ours:

11953314_10153545551544727_8293208923135990811_oYep, THIRD graders! (Who haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since preschool)
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These are the days I need to remember when the going gets tough!

This year’s summer musical camp at our church was twenty (soon-to-be) 3rd through 6th graders performing a 45-minute musical with a great message. They had some time before the camp week to rehearse their lines and the songs, and in 5 mornings they learned all of the choreography, polished the show, and performed it that Friday evening.

Each child had at least a couple of lines plus a solo in one of the songs. A couple of the older kids had bigger parts, and we had one of our youth volunteers playing the “coach” – he did a terrific job!

We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful music experiences at our church, with a music director who loves kids and is so versatile in her talents.

We had an exciting performance experience just sa our summer is wrapping up. The crew is signed up for a week of summer musical camp at our church. A couple of weeks before that began our music director send around a message asking if we could get a group of children together to sing our National Anthem at a baseball game… the following Sunday!

We did, the kids rehearsed hard, and they had a marvelous experience (as did I, videographer & assistant kid-wrangler) going “backstage” at the stadium and then out onto the field to sing in front of a sellout crowd. Take a look!

IMG_5033.JPG

I don’t art very well, so my kids attend summer camp at a local fine art center each year. This morning a local news station was there. My youngest had a moment in the spotlight, but was too busy to give the interviewer much.

My husband, ladies and gentlemen:

Living the meme