Sunday, 22 May 2011

Plants and flowers lapbook

We've finally just about finished our latest, major lapbook, at last. As it was begun in early Spring I decided it would be a good idea to look at flowers, generalising it out a bit more to plants as that was the subject of 2 science clubs while we worked on it.

We've planted a few seeds this year, which Iona helped with a little. Mostly she just liked messing around with the pots and compost, but she did help me plant the potatoes.
She has since got very "into" planting seeds, and came to me the other day with a little pot she'd found in the garden, filled with compost she'd taken from one of the spare tubs, saying she'd planted a seed! I don't know what she'd put in it, but whatever it was has started to grow (it looks a bit like a bean).

We did this rather nice activity to practise her colours (which she already knows pretty well), and her colouring, which is getting much better - I was really pleased with how she followed instructions for this activity.

Making Learning Fun also had this easy dot-to-dot which I decided to try with Iona. She can count from 1 to 10, knows the written number, and is beginning to get much better pen control, so I decided it was worth a try. However, she needed a lot of hand-over-hand help at this stage, and preferred to do her own thing.
Over the course of this unit we have looked close-up at lots of flowers, with me explaining the correct names for the parts to Iona. Although I liked the diagrams of flower parts I found online, I decided in the end that our diagram would be more meaningful to Iona if we labelled a photo of her favourite flower to dissect at the moment - the yellow poppy in our back garden, so I took a photo of one she'd brought me before she tore it apart! Unfortunately our colour printer cartridge was giving up the ghost at the time, but this enabled me to turn it into more of a line diagram with pen and ink to make it clearer.

We also made some egg box daffodils (can't remember where I got the idea from but it works really well) for Grandma for Mother's Day, and some for our next-door neighbour who was ill, so I photographed them and put the photo in the lapbook.The final piece of work on this page was a write-up of one of our dog walks to a wood where we picked a few flowers and leaves. To preserve these flowers we made our own flower press.
A really interesting book we borrowed from the library during this unit was "The World Came to My Place Today" by Dr Jo Readman and Ley Honor Roberts. It was about the different ways in which we use plants and where they're from, thus bringing in some geography. As an experiment we talked about how plants are used as dyes and decided to see how well different plants and their products dyed. I had prepared some fresh beetroot so had the water left from that, and used turmeric in water, too, as I'd read that that gave a strong colour. Iona said about the yellow petals from the poppies in our garden, which she was very interested in at the time, so we soaked some of them in some water too, to see if that would stain the material. For dyeing we used some natural-coloured cotton, and left it in the 3 solutions with either vinegar or lemon juice as a mordant overnight. As a pattern for how to write up an experiment we followed the procedure of "Guess with Jess", which is a BBC CBeebies programme that Iona loves, as I felt that it was a good demonstration of the scientific process with which Iona could identify.
We were lucky enough that, while I was on one of my dog walks next to farmland, I found some stalks of wheat that someone had pulled from the field. I had brought them home to show to Iona, so for this unit I stuck one, along with a grain of wheat, into a minibook for her.

This diagram of a tree was found on Enchanted Learning. I asked Iona the names of the parts of the tree, which she mostly knew, just calling the trunk the stem instead!
This picture that Iona coloured according to shape (with not a little prompting!) came from Making Learning Fun. I found it useful as it reinforced the shapes which Iona has been good at for some time. The only problem with it was her determination to do things her own way (which can be an advantage, of course but can still be irritating at times!).
The front of the lapbook contained various activities found on Homeschool Share and Homeschool Helper. "Will it Come Up?" was just a fun activity based around carrots growing, which was appropriate for us as Iona's been involved in growing carrots last year and this. "Parts of Plants we Eat" was a useful and interesting activity, as Iona loves her vegetables and fruit, so she was quite good at suggesting plants to me. I planned to find some photos of plants to put in here, but that never quite happened!

The pollination mini-book was surprisingly successful, as Iona and I have talked a lot about pollination, so I was able to ask her what pollination was and basically just wrote down her answer with a little embellishment.

The carrot seed rhyme was rather cute. I'd hoped to persuade Iona to do a bit of movement to it, curling up small like a seed then growing up tall, but she only watched me do it and wouldn't do it herself. She seemed to like it, though.Finally, we made a "Life Cycle of a Flower" craft from 2 paper plates and a split pin. I drew the pictures on and Iona "coloured" them in. It was inspired by this activity from Homeschool Helper.
A good book, that Iona liked, looking at plant life cycles was "Amazing Life Cycles: Plants" by Honor Head

As part of this unit we looked at the work of some of the impressionists, particularly Monet's waterlilies. A book that I was really impressed by (pardon the pun!) to introduce this subject was "Katie and the Waterlily Pond" by James Mayhew, which we borrowed from our local library. We also tried "At the Time of Renoir" by Antony Mason,which was too detailed to read to her but was good to show a variety of styles and artists within impressionism. After reading through these and describing the idea of impressionism to Iona as best I could, I worked with her to try to produce our own impressionist paintings of flowers. I chose dandelions and bluebells, as they happened to be out at the time, and showed her one flower of each to paint. The results were probably nothing special, but at least this time, having only given her one colour paint at a time, they were a colour other than muddy brown! After I'd tried to teach her to look at the flowers to paint them, I wondered what the results would be if we used a flower to print with, so I gave her the dandelion and the resulting picture was interesting:
This was Mummy's attempt, using printing and splatter painting:
Finally, 2 other books that Iona and I really enjoyed on the subject of plants, again from out local library, were "First-Hand Plants and Flowers" by Lynn Huggins-Cooper, which had a nice story aspect to it, and "All Kinds of Plants" by Carrie Branigan and Richard Dunne, which had good clear diagrams, just at the right level, and covered a wide range of topics.

Drawing progress

I can't get over how quickly Iona is growing up. It seems only a matter of weeks since she was doing random squiggles on paper, though she would tell us that they were of particular things. Suddenly, at Sunday School one week, she put 3 dots resembling eyes and nose on a blank face shape:
Was I imagining it?! Apparently not, as a few weeks later, on 14th April, she produced these faces:

3 days later, she added some hair and legs (although got slightly confused with the number of mouths!):
2 days later she surprised me once again, by producing people with eyes, noses, mouths, hair, arms and legs:

She sometimes since has added circles for cheeks, and will sometimes put some for ears, although lately she has taken to making the eyes a little less complex and just doing them as dots. I presume this is because her attention is now being drawn to detail elsewhere.

Within the last 3 weeks she has started trying to draw animals. This began spontaneously on 2nd May when she drew this elephant:
Notice the ears either side of the head and the long trunk in the middle. She has since drawn a lion and a tiger on birthday cards for friends, although I didn't think to photograph them. I reminded her what she needed to put on, but the lion had a lovely mane, while the tiger had definite stripes.

The final picture here follows her birthday, when she had several cakes and candles in one week. She told me she was drawing a birthday cake, and drew the top shape as a cake with candles. She then drew another cake at the bottom of the page, and surrounded it by people, saying it was Iona, Mummy and Daddy with a birthday cake: