"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."

"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Discover and Explore: The Summer Nighttime Sky

Full Moon
First you might want to print out and put together this star chartIt is interesting to see how the stars change as the months go by. 


The Summer Triangle

Starmap of summer triangle
source
This is the perfect time to learn some summer constellations. The first thing to look for is the "summer triangle" which is a triangle formed by three constellations; Cygnus, Aquila and Lyra. 

Go out after dark and if you have a smart phone, use an app such as Stargazer to locate them in the night sky, so you will know where to look. When we first looked, it was too cloudy for us to actually see anything but one bright star, which we think was Vega, in the constellation Lyra. 
6/1/12
Keep looking each evening until you can locate them. You have all summer to work on it!

The Summer Constellations: Lyra

source
This week we focused on the constellation Lyra from the Summer Triangle we found last week. To find Lyra, look for Vega, the brightest star in the constellation. Lyra looks like a small, lopsided square, with Vega just beside one of the corners of the square.
source
The legend of Lyra tells the story of Orpheus, who was given a harp by the god Apollo. Orpheus married the lovely maiden Eurydice, but after their wedding, she was bitten by a snake and died. Orpheus was so stricken with grief that he journeyed to the underworld to win her return. His music not only gained him entry to Hades, it caused Pluto, the god of the underworld, to soften his heart and grant Orpheus' wish, but there was one condition -Eurydice had follow Orpheus, who could not look back until both had gained the upper world. Before Eurydice could take the final steps into the light, Orpheus turned to gaze upon her and she vanished. Once Orpheus died, the Muses buried him, and Apollo placed his magical harp in the sky -- as Lyra.

Aquila
source

After finding Lyra, Aquila was next on our list. If you can find the summer triangle (see above) you can see that Lyra is on one of the points of the triangle, and Aquila is on another of the points. Aquila means "eagle" in Latin, and looks like an bird with its wings spread in flight, with its beak (a rather large one, too) made with the brightest star, Altair (which comes from the Arabic phrase "al-nasr al-tair", meaning "the flying eagle".) Aquila represents the eagle who carried out many tasks for Jupiter (and Zeus in the Greek mythology) including carrying his thunderbolts. This constellation was also known to the Romans as "Flying Vulture" (vultur volans).

Cygnus

The last constellation in the summer triangle is Cygnus, which isn't too difficult to find since we have been practicing finding the Summer Triangle and this constellation forms the left hand corner of the triangle. We learned that Cygnus is a Greek word that has been Latinized and means "swan". There are several swans in Greek mythology, but the one we chose to read about was Orpheus, who was transformed into a swan after his murder, and was said to have been placed in the sky next to his lyre. A prominent feature of this constellation is the asterism known as the Northern Cross, formed by the five brightest stars in the constellation. An asterism is a pattern of stars that is not a constellation.The brightest star is Deneb, which is at the top of the constellation. Cygnus is bordered by Cepheus to the north and east, Draco to the north and west, Lyra to the west, Vulpecula to the south, Pegasus to the southeast and Lacerta to the east.

Hercules

source
The next, and last, stop on our summer constellation study is the constellation Hercules. The mythical stories associated with this constellation are obvious and many. We read about him in D'Aularies Book of Greek Myths, where he was called Heracles. Hercules has no first or second magnitude stars, so it might be a little harder to spot.
The Summer Triangle, and the globular cluster M13 in Hercules, as seen at 10 p.m. on July 20.source
However, if you have been following us in finding the summer triangle, it should not be too hard to find. Locate the summer triangle and then Lyra and you will find Hercules just to the right of Lyra. Look for the faint smudge of the Great Globular Cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules. If you look the constellation up in books, you will see it positioned to show the figure of Hercules upright, but in the summer sky, he is upside-down. An asterism that forms the lower part of Hercules body is known as the Keystone. You could also find the constellation Hercules by finding this Keystone, which is to the right of the bright star in Vega in Lyra. If you begin at the bright star, Deneb in Cygnus, you can follow that edge of the Summer Triangle, go through Vega in Lyra and continue going straight and you will find the Keystone asterism in Hercules.

Perseus
Night sky photograph of the constellation Perseus


Oh, and the 2014 Perseid meteor shower will peak between August 10 and August 13. It is so named because the direction the shower seems to come from lies in the same direction as the constellation Perseus, named after the Greek hero of that name. The constellation lies in the north-eastern part of the sky.


Links:

Lego Challenge #24: Favorite Food

Inspired by Sam's Lego Quest, (which is no longer active),  I wanted to start a 
weekly Lego challenge 
that kids can do and you can link up to. 
This linky has been open for a whole year, and will be closed soon. If you want to link up, please do so this week.
With the photo, please give your child's age, what country (or, if the the US, what state) you are from and anything your child wants to say about his or her creation.This can be simple or extremely complex, it's up to you. The only real rule is that it has to be custom built. Your own creation, not a pre-designed one.
You can write a separate post for the challenge or you can just add the photo of your child's entry for the challenge to a weekly wrap-up post.
You can also get inspiration with these posts, even though their linkies are now closed. 


You can write a separate post for the challenge or you can just add the photo of your child's entry for the challenge to a weekly wrap-up post.

Lego Challenge #24: Favorite Food
Make your favorite food out of LEGOs. 
It can be a single food item or a whole meal. I use the word food loosely, basically anything you eat.



With the photo of your child's creation, please give your child's age, what country (or, if the the US, what state) you are from and anything your child wants to say about his or her creation.

Our Homeschool Weekly Report, Summer Learning, week 4, July 18-24

July 18-24

We celebrated Alex's 20th birthday with a simple cake, presents and sparklers, which he loves. (His birthday was really last Thursday, but we were on a field trip that day, so we decided to wait until the weekend to celebrate.)
They all enjoyed playing with Alex's new pool toys.
We went on a great field trip to Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Middletown, Delaware. They don't let you take photos inside the facility, but we got a group photo out front.
We went swimming with friends at a nearby community pool.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup and Kale Salad with walnuts, dried cranberries and goat cheese

We have been enjoying new healthy recipes.
Our Homeschool group's yearbook from last year came in this week, and here is a sampling of the photos that were included. It was a great year and I am looking forward to more fun this coming year.
summer-learning
week 4
We have been so busy, we haven't gotten much school work done, but, hey, after all, it is summer.

Science

We put some rocks in our rock tumbler I inherited from my brother. I should have taken a picture of them before we put them in, because the difference was so dramatic. They all looked like dull brown driveway gravel when we put them in and now, look at them! We put them back in for the medium grit grind, which smooths down the small grooves.

Botany: The Pea Family



This week we reviewed the Pea family in our botany studies, which is characterized by its irregularly shaped flower containing five petals: a banner, two wings and a keel (which is comprised of two petals that look like one). We also looked at the differences between Monocots and Dicots, a major division of flowering plants.

Astronomy

Summer Constellations: Cygnus

This week we found Cygnus, which wasn't too difficult to find since we have been practicing finding the Summer Triangle and this constellation forms the left hand corner of the triangle. 

Latin Roots

The Latin roots we learned this week were Inter which means between, Ars, Artis which means art or skill, Vivo, Victum which means live, Magnus which means large or big and Demos which means people.

History and Geography Meme #127: Summer Break

Sorry, but we are having too much summer fun to do any history or geography studies this week.
How about you?

As always I hope that you continue to link your new (and old) posts with any history and geography topic to this meme every Thursday.

What are your plans for geography study during the summer, or are you taking a break?
  Remember that I am pinning all posts to Pinterest.
You might want to check out the Pinterest board and see all the past posts.
Follow Phyllis Bergenholtz's board History and Geography Meme on Pinterest.

Please include this button on either the post you have linked or your sidebar or mention All Things Beautiful History and Geography meme in your post with a link. All posts that do not link directly to a history or geography post will be deleted.
All Things Beautiful

Botany: The Seven Most Common Families of Plants, Lesson 3: The Pea Family

Sweet Pea Color Plate
"The sweet pea has some of its leaflets changed to tendrils which hold it to the trellis. Its flower is like that of the clover, the upper petal forming the banner, the two side petals the wings, and the two united lower petals the keel which protects the stamens and pistil."
-Anna Comstock, Handbook of Nature Study, page 589

We learned about the family in our botany studies, which is characterized by its irregularly shaped flower containing five petals: a banner, two wings and a keel (which is comprised of two petals that look like one).


The Pea Family also produces pea-like pods that open along two seams and often have pinnate (opposite) leaves. We don't have any peas growing in the garden and we have never been able to find any blooming members of the family in our neighborhood except the clover. I have invited the boys, in the past, to find clover in the backyard and to bring some inside to sketch, and when they did, they found White Clover.
July 2009



The clover's petals are hard to identify as a banner-wings-keel because they are so long and thin, but looking at the clover closely, they noticed that the flower is made up of many small flowers, each with their own calyx. Several years ago, Katie examined some clover thoroughly and was able to draw the flower as it looks from far away and then a cut-out that shows the flower pattern.


July 2009


 "The white clover has creeping stems. Its flowers depend upon the bees for their pollination and the bees depend upon the white clover blossoms for honey." Handbook of Nature Study, p.597

Sam noticed several years ago, when we studied white clover, that the bees were swarming the clover one day but not so much the next. We had learned the previous year, when we studied bees, that bees choose a different flower each day to get the nectar from, so this made sense.
July 2009

They also noticed that the flowers are not all just white. The leaves, too, are not just a single green, but several shades and some even had hues of red in them. Other members of the Pea Family include lupine, most beans and legumes and alfalfa.
Dissecting a Lima bean that we soaked overnight; June 2008.


Flowering plants have been divided into two major groups, or classes,: the Dicots and the Monocots. Since one of the main divisions between Monocots and Dicots has to do with their seeds, you can look at the differences by soaking a corn seed and pea seed or bean seed in water overnight and then comparing the two. The pea or bean, being a dicot, breaks into two parts and the corn seed, being a monocot does not. If you decided to sprout the two different types of seeds you can further see the differences when the cotyledons develop. Cotyledons are the "seed leaves" produced by the embryo .The number of cotyledons found in the embryo is the actual basis for distinguishing the two classes of angiosperms, and is the source of the names Monocotyledonae ("one cotyledon") and Dicotyledonae ("two cotyledons"). The cotyledons serve to absorb nutrients packaged in the seed, until the seedling is able to produce its first true leaves and begin photosynthesis.

Other ways of determining a dicot from a monocot include:


  • Number of flower parts: If you count the number of petals, stamens, or other floral parts, you will find that monocot flowers tend to have a number of parts that is divisible by three, usually three or six. Dicot flowers on the other hand, tend to have parts in multiples of four or five. This character is not always reliable, however, and is not easy to use in some flowers with reduced or numerous parts.
  • Leaf veins: In monocots, there are usually a number of major leaf veins which run parallel the length of the leaf; in dicots, there are usually numerous auxillary veins which reticulate between the major ones. 
  • Stem vascular arrangement: Vascular tissue occurs in long strands called vascular bundles. These bundles are arranged within the stem of dicots to form a cylinder, appearing as a ring of spots when you cut across the stem. In monocots, these bundles appear scattered through the stem, with more of the bundles located toward the stem periphery than in the center. 

  • Those are the basic ways to determine the difference between Monocots and Dicots. There are other ways to tell them apart, such as pollen structure and root development.

    Why is it helpful to know the differences between them? Again, it is easier to look a plant up if you can determine which category it falls in. Plant Field Guides are written by botanists, so it is helpful to be able to think like a botanist, if you want to find things in Field Guides.

    Lego Challenge #23: The 30 Brick Challenge

    Inspired by Sam's Lego Quest, (which is no longer active),  I wanted to start a 
    weekly Lego challenge 
    that kids can do and you can link up to. 
    This linky has been open for a whole year, and will be closed soon. If you want to link up, please do so this week.
    With the photo, please give your child's age, what country (or, if the the US, what state) you are from and anything your child wants to say about his or her creation.This can be simple or extremely complex, it's up to you. The only real rule is that it has to be custom built. Your own creation, not a pre-designed one.
    You can write a separate post for the challenge or you can just add the photo of your child's entry for the challenge to a weekly wrap-up post.
    You can also get inspiration with these posts, even though their linkies are now closed.


    You can write a separate post for the challenge or you can just add the photo of your child's entry for the challenge to a weekly wrap-up post.

    (from left to right) 5 - round plate 1x1, 5 - brick 1x1, 5 - brick 1x2, 5 - brick 2x2, 5 - brick 2x3, 5 - brick 2x4
    #23: The 30 Brick Challenge

    For this challenge, everyone will be using the exact same LEGO pieces. 30 of them to be exact, (color does not matter). Build whatever you like out of these bricks.

    With the photo of your child's creation, please give your child's age, what country (or, if the the US, what state) you are from and anything your child wants to say about his or her creation.

    Chemistry, Lesson 2: Moving Matter

    States of Matter
    The concept that matter has different states and these states all have different properties can be taught from a really young age.

    Solids

    Rates of Freezing

    Salt Lapbook

    We have looked at the way in which salt affects the rate at which water freezes. In a liquid state, the molecules of the water have a significant amount of energy. They are free to move around, so they are constantly traveling around their container. To get into a solid state, the molecules have to slow down and stop moving around as much. The only way this can happen is to take energy away from the molecules. As a substance cools, its molecules lose energy. As they lose energy, they start to slow down until eventually they lose enough energy so the they almost stop moving around altogether. At that point the liquid turns into a solid. Well, when the salt is added to the water, the salt molecules also begin moving around in the water. Since the water molecules are attracted to the salt molecules, a chase ensues. The mutual attraction between the two adds more energy. Thus, in order for to get all of the molecules to slow down and stop moving, more energy must be removed. The only way this can happen is by lowering the temperature further. This is called freezing-point depression. This is why they put salt on icy roads and steps in the winter and why the salt helps make ice cream freeze when you are making it. It lowers the freezing point.


    We also experimented with what substances freeze the fastest under the same temperatures.We put 1/4 cup of hot water into three other cups. To the first one we then added 1/4 cup of table salt, and to the second we added 1/4 cup of Epsom Salts. The third cup we left with just the water. To the fourth cup we put 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol in.  To the fifth cup, we put 1/4 cup of Jello with hot water added to make a liquid. Next they had to hypothesize the order in which the liquids would freeze. We checked the cups every hour throughout the rest of the day. Cups Two and Three froze first. It was somewhat difficult to tell exactly when the Jello froze solid and when it was just thickened. The fourth cup froze last. This is to illustrate that different substances have different freezing points.
    Alcohol, on the left, never froze, even after 24 hours, but the Jello, on the right, froze solid.

    Liquids

    There is no better way to examine liquids and their properties than giving them some mystery liquids to explore. I chose four liquids that were either clear or nearly clear: liquid hand soap, baby oil, canola oil and corn syrup. The first thing they did was explore the properties of the mystery liquids, comparing and contrasting them. (The Homeschool Scientist has a great Properties of Liquids worksheet you can print out to use with this exploration, if you wish.) I introduced the term, "viscosity" which is best described by experience. You can say that it is a way to describe a liquids movement against gravity, but they will probably be most contented to think of it as the liquid's thickness. The boys ranked the liquids from the one with the most viscosity, to the one with the least. There was some differences of opinion, and that was okay with me. Now, with this in mind, I brought out the containers of the real liquids and had them match them up by what they had observed from handling the test tubes of liquids.

    Next, we decided to see how the liquids responded in experimenting environment to see if what they had observed about the liquid held true. I put one cup of flour in four bowls, one for each liquid we were exploring. I labeled each bowl with the liquid's name and they began by adding two Tablespoons of each liquid to the bowls. We kept adding more of the liquid until it formed a pleasing dough to play with. They quickly noticed that the more viscous the liquid, the more tablespoons they needed to mix in in order to make a dough. They ended up adding 6 Tablespoons to the Corn Syrup, 5 Tablespoons to the Liquid Soap, 4 Tablespoons to the Vegetable Oil and 3 Tablespoons to the Baby Oil.

    Non-Newtonian Fluids

    Concoctions For Play: Oobleck
    We have made, played with and experimented with the mixture of cornstarch and water many times over the years and we have discussed the term "Non-Newtonian Fluid" in connection with the mixture. A liquid like this is called a non-Newtonian fluid because it does not follow the rules that Newton discovered most liquids follow. A non-Newtonian fluid has properties of both a solid and a liquid and reacts to stress with increased viscosity. Cornstarch (amylose) and water can be considered a colloidal suspension. A colloidal suspension is a two-phase system in which the starch and water are not dissolved but simply mixed into a permanent suspension that will not settle on standing.

    Drops

    Raindrops and Oil Drops, May 2008
    The boys have experimented before with the properties of two liquids, water and oil, comparing and contrasting drops of both liquids on a piece of wax paper. Drops are made possible by the fact that liquids have atoms that tend to stay close to each other.

    Surface Tension

    Liquids in Space
    Surface tension forms a like of skin in space that holds liquids together in spheres. Earth's gravity is strong enough to squash these spheres into ovals. I reminded them of a demonstration that we did that showed how liquids look in free fall and how gravity flattens them and breaks surface tension.

    Gas

    A Chemical Reaction

    The classic baking soda and vinegar demonstration can be used to show voluminous expanding gas. Because the gas, caused by the chemical reaction, needed more space, it pushed against the balloon, causing the balloon to inflate with the expanding gas. The gas molecules put pressure against the sides of the balloon.

    Changing States of Matter

    There are many simple ways to show changing states of matter. Perhaps the simplest one is to make some Jello. It begins as a powder, or solid. Water, a liquid, is added to the Jello, but not before some of it turns into steam, a gas by the physical change of the water's boiling. Once the hot water is added, the Jello powder turns into a liquid as well as it dissolves. Putting the Jello liquid into the refrigerator, chilling it, by physical change, turns the Jello back into a solid.
    You can also look at the changing states of matter by dissolving lollipops in some hot water and seeing the solid change into a liquid. Take this liquid and pour it into an Popsicle mold and pop them into the freezer and you will see your liquid turn back into a solid as it freezes, and make a tasty summertime treat as well, but be careful to eat them before they change back into a liquid state! We talked about how temperature can affect the changing states of matter.


    You can demonstrate the water cycle by using a pot with a small amount of water in it, a zippered sandwich bag full of ice and a bowl. When the water in the pot reaches the boiling point, the steam, or water vapor, will hit the pan lid and the coolness caused by the ice should turn the vapor back into liquid form, or condensation. This represents what happens when clouds form. Eventually you will see water dripping off the pot lid and into the bowl. This represents precipitation.


    sources and inspiration:
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