Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas book science

Last week was a light week here, well, school-wise anyway. We always focus on Christmas-type studies for the two or three weeks prior to Christmas. Things that aren't directly related to our study I try to tweak to make them a little more festive (such as practicing cursive by writing a Christmas list.) I also found a great download of Christmas critical thinking pages - it was only $1.99 at Curriculum Click.

But mostly we just read and do fun stuff. Yesterday, we read this:

Well, not that exactly. We read it in english. The Christmas Train by Ivan Gantschev. Apparently it's out of print and if you wish to buy it through Amazon, it will cost you $252.68 (or $98.84 if you can read German). Wow. It's good, but not two-hundred-dollars-good. I'd check the library first.

ANYway, it's based on a true story (LOVE that!) of the author's aunt in Bulgaria who, as a child, bravely and selflessly made a signal fire of her own Christmas tree on Christmas eve to warn an oncoming train of a rock slide, saving all inside. Her father always said that if there was an obstruction on the tracks, make a signal fire 400 yards ahead of it. Z-Man realized that this is the equivalent of four football fields and we got talking about momentum and why it takes a train so long to stop. Aha! Sounds like a science experiment!

We made a ramp out of a table leaf and a "brake" out of an empty box at the end of the ramp. We sent our little tykes truck down the ramp and measured how far it pushed the box (32 inches). Then we added weight - 3 heavy bolts, one at a time. Each made our truck take a little farther to stop. The most impressive result, however, was when we added speed - starting our ramp on the kitchen chair instead of the small step stool. And, you guessed it, the high ramp (speed) and the three bolts (weight) sent our truck the farthest - almost seven feet before it stopped!

I'm so thankful that we found the Five in a Row curriculum when Z-Man was younger. This book isn't in it, but I credit FIAR with enabling me to find lessons in the other childrens books we read. Before we started FIAR, I just didn't think that way. Thank you, Lamberts!

1 comment:

  1. I often say that Five in a Row helped us learn how to homeschool too! Finding lessons in books and real life is so fun!
    I read your comment on Harmony Art Mom's blog and I'm eager to hear what you think of Truthquest History when you get a chance to figure it out. The Yahoo Group for TQ (HistoryQuesters) is very, very helpful if you have questions!