Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun and Messy Pastels

We tried pastels this week for some great, messy, artistic fun. I found 30 pastels tutorials at Hodgepodge. The instructions were easy to follow and I think the results were stunning! The tree reflections tutorial is number 15 in that link if you'd like to try it.

Little Man, hard at work and sporting a green cheek and multi-colored sleeve.

To LM's way of thinking, if it's a picture of trees, then it should have as many trees as he can fit on the page.

Z-Man wasn't quite as into the mess, but we had baby wipes on hand for clean-up.

I think they both did a great job.

And I gave it a shot too.

We'll definitely have to try some more of these great tutorials!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day at the museum

To wrap up our study of photographer Ansel Adams, the boys and I went to an exhibit of his work! Thank you, Mom, for financing our field trip!

We couldn't take pictures inside, but the boys were happy to pose on the front steps for me.

Before his death in 1985, Mr. Adams selected a group of photos that he felt best represented his work and this show contained about two thirds of those, in addition to some of the camera equipment that he would have used. It was wonderful to see the prints up close.

Among those we saw were Monolith: The Face of Half Dome and

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico.

Our favorite biography in this study was Ansel Adams: America's Photographer.

We also watched a nice interview from 1983 on YouTube here. It is in four parts and that link takes you to the first. The other three can be found on the right side of the screen. I can't really recommend the Ric Burns PBS documentary. It seemed to me that they misrepresented him and there were a few things that weren't suitable for younger viewers.

All in all, we have enjoyed this artist study immensely and I think we all have a new appreciation for the art of photography.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The beautiful Adirondacks!

We are so blessed to live near the Adirondack Park!

The view of Fourth Lake from the top of Rocky Mountain.

Us at the top, having a snack.

The boys climb like mountain goats but they scare me sometimes.

Back in the town, a lovely moon rise to end a perfect Autumn day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Science Day!

A state park in our area hosts an amazing, annual science day where groups of students visit different stations to learn about everything from earthworms to acid rain. There are many stations and each group visits six. Our homeschool group visited:

-A station where we tested solutions with cabbage juice to see if they are acid or base.

We then tested the lake to see if it had been affected by acid rain. We were happy to see that our little sample of lake water turned blue/green, which means that it was a base.

And then, of course, we had to mix acid (vinegar) and base (baking soda) because who doesn't love that sudden volcanic eruption!

-A Zoo station where we met Matilda, the eastern box turtle. We learned that her kind are the only turtles able to completely close their shell, transforming themselves into little "turtle rocks." The only thing able to get them open at that point are crows, who pick them up, fly high into the air and - are you ready for this? - look for a parking lot in which to drop them. Ugh.

-An animal CSI station - this one was so clever!

We learned how an animals skull can tell us whether they are prey or predator, and then we visited some "crime scenes" to sift through the evidence and determine who the victim and the attacker were.

In some cases, samples of "scat" showed us that the victim had themselves eaten another animal that day.

-A paper recycling station where we made our own recycled paper, complete with shredded leaves, flowers and cinnamon. This is one we want to try at home!

-A forest recycling station where we learned about earthworms, bacteria, fungi and the decomposition of leaves and fallen trees.

-At the final station we met several beautiful owls, falcons and a turkey vulture.

All in all, it was a fun and fascinating day made even better by a game of beach football at the end!