Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

This Moment and Snapshot Summary, February 20-24. week 18

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments at SouleMama.

Snapshot Summary, February 20-24
Our colds are still holding on strong, however we did have some moments of learning between the coughs, sniffles and fever...

President's Day
We made Presidential Pockets which they filled with drawings of objects that represent the president of their choice, and ate chocolate log. It was supposed to represent Lincoln's logs but Steven suggested that it could represent Washington's Cherry Tree as well.

Mardi Gras

We learned that a celebration does not have to be expensive or time consuming to prepare.
We had very simple fun on Mardi Gras.

Throughout the week...
Geography: Salt Dough Map of USA
Inspired by Hodgepodge's salt dough map, we made one of America, and it should prove useful as we move into our unit on Lewis and Clark. We will paint it next week.

Science: Whales
We finally finished our whale studies by measuring the lengths of several whales on the sidewalk outside our house.

Math: Fractions
Continuing with the work with fractions we did last week, this week we used sticks of Unifix cubes to generate a greater variety of equivalent fractions than was possible with paper folding.
 First we began with a stick of eight cubes and I guided him through finding equivalent fractions by asking questions such as,
What fraction of the whole stick is one cube?
Can you break your stick into four equal parts? If the stick you started with was one whole stick, what fraction of it would one of your parts be?
I continue asking him to break the whole stick into various divisions and asking him what equivalent fractions they are. I record them for him on a sheet of paper as he answers the questions or makes discoveries himself.

Once he seemed confident in finding equivalent fractions in this way, I let him decide what stick length he wanted to work with.
To assist him, I continued being his scribe for awhile. I divided a couple of sheets of paper into sections, labeled the top of each section with a number. This number was the length of the cube stick. I just recorded what he told me about his discoveries. We worked on this for as little or as long as he wanted to for a few days. When we continued it on another day I felt he was ready to record his own discoveries and finish his chart of equivalent fractions.
On another day we played another game called, "Start With-Go By." To play, you begin by picking a number, say in this case, the number 3 and asking him to go by 3, generating a list of numbers which are three apart from each other. You then ask your student to start with another number, say 8 and go by 8 and he can generate another list of numbers. There was no specific length to this list, we just went until we felt we had generated a good list of numbers. Then  I asked him to tell the numbers that were in both columns and we underlined those.
I then gave him a fraction problem with those numbers in it, in this case, 1/3 + 1/8 =.  I told him that with the lists he generated, he could solve the problem.
 I asked him to take the first number given on the both list, which in this case was 24, and make two cube sticks of that length. Now break the first cube stick into sticks of 3 in length so that we could change the 1/5 into an equivalent fraction. He made eight sticks. We wrote down the equivalent fraction as 8/24 or eight sticks of three out of a 24 stick cube. The second stick was broken into sticks eight cubes long. We could then write the equivalent fraction for 1/8 as 3/24 or 3 cube sticks 8 cubes long out of a 24 cube stick.
Now solving the problem was easy. We added one cube stick from each group and together and got the answer of 11/24.
He happily did several problems like this.
More about fractions next week as we learn to multiply them.

All the Memes and Links to this post are listed here.


  1. I like your approach to fractions. Using the connecting cubes you've made the subject so understandable for a child! I'll have to borrow some of your ideas.

    1. That is what they are there for! Once we finish our fractions unit, I will gather all the things we did up into one post, but meanwhile I will post what we do each week in our Wrap-Ups.

  2. I need to get out the unifix cubes to reinforce equivalent fractions around here -- we're still having a little bit of trouble with this concept.

    Your weeks just always look so fun and your children are blessed. You inspire me each time I come to your blog - thank you!

    (I've also updated the button code for Collage Friday if you want to grab an updated button!)

    1. Let me know how the Unifix cubes work for you. It really helps to teach them what is happening in a hands-on way.

  3. I adore that top photo. So sweet! And - wow - that really shows how enormous whales are! Great visual. Love the chocolate log - we'll have to remember that for next year.

    We've had colds around here too! Only Dad has escaped. I agree - hanging on - with a little bit of learning between coughs, sniffles and fever. Get well soon, friends.

  4. Love the first photo and the perspective shot of whale measurement!!

  5. Always great activities here! Im going to dig out my unifix cubes. Thank you for the inspiration.

  6. I also love that top photo :) Another full week, even though you were sick...I hope that good health returns soon!
    I am really liking the fractions activities. Thanks for sharing them. I am wondering, since we don't have unifix cubes (maybe I should get some?), but we do have cuisenaire rods, if I could substitute them. I think I need to play around with the cuisenaire rods. I do have some activity books with them, maybe that will help me.
    Enjoy your weekend!

    1. The reason I use Unifix cubes is because you need to be able to build them into sticks the length of the Common Denominator of whatever problem you are working with, as well as be able to break them into whatever combinations you need for the problem at hand. I don't think that you could use Cuisenaire rods for this particular activity. Unifix cubes are a good investment. I use them for all sorts of things.

  7. What a fabulous and fun looking week. The whale size is amazing isn't it? We did that exercise a few years ago when we did Apologia Zoology 2 - our minds were blown. I love the salt dough map - looks great!

  8. Love your "this moment" especially with kitty in the background.

    Your salt dough map is really wonderful!


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