Friday’s Factoid 32 (by Titus and Joel)

We are studying about astronauts. There are astronauts in space right now on the International Space Station. We have seen it flying over Hawaii. You can see it fly over your house too if you look it up on the internet (Joel 7 1/2).

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The astronauts in space are mostly doing science experiments. We did more science experiments this week too. We learned about a law called inertia and how fire needs oxygen and how heated up air particles can make things move (Titus, 9).

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)

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To kick off our space travel and technology unit, we took a little field trip to see our neighbors, Dick and Linda. Dick is a retired helicopter pilot and therefore, the closest thing to an astronaut in our neighborhood. And according to my boys, helicopters are almost as cool as rockets and definitely worth learning a thing or two about. So armed with a page full of questions and empty tummies (gotta have room for Linda’s yummy homemade cookies), we headed next door for a lesson in “lift.” This is the second time we have done an interview/lesson with one of our elderly neighbors and it is a practice we will definitely be continuing. Not only do our boys gain valuable information, the older folks seem to genuinely enjoy being put in the spot light for a while and having their wealth of knowledge and wisdom tapped. Next time you are tempted to just Google a subject for answers, think first if there isn’t some older person in your life who might be an “expert” in that field. I guarantee you’ll walk away richer and wiser for the experience and you’ll leave someone else feeling a little more valued. That’s way more than an hour spent surfing the web could ever offer.
(For more on building relationships with seniors click here).

Friday’s Factoid 31 (by Titus, Joel, and Nate)

We started learning about space travel. We learned about rockets and the Space Race with Russia. Russia sent a little dog named Laika into space in a rocket and everyone loved Laika but Laika died because the Russians didn’t know very much about staying alive in space (Joel, 7 1/2).

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We did lots of science experiments this week. We turned water upside down and it didn’t spill and we tried to drink water through straws with one straw in the cup and one straw not in the cup. That doesn’t work at all. We hung balls from a string and blew in between them and they banged together instead of blowing apart (Nate, 6).

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Yesterday was a Solar Eclipse. We used special glasses to watch it and we made a special viewing box that made a picture of the sun on a screen so it wouldn’t hurt our eyes (by Titus, 9).

Our Hawaiian/American/Japanese/Canadian/Mexican “Boys Day” Celebration

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We bought a Hawaiian calendar as soon as we moved here and the first thing we noticed was how it was full of holidays we’d never heard of. They celebrate everything here, including a Japanese holiday called “Boys Day” which falls on May 5 and consists of the eating of sweet rice Mochi wrapped in a Japanese oak leaf (apparently you’re NOT supposed to eat the leaf. Now we know.) and the hanging of windsocks shaped like carp fish to represent all the manly males in your house.
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This year we hosted a Boys Day party and it was a true multi-cultural affair. Our Japanese friend brought the Mochi (minus the leaves this time) and taught all the boys how to make origami carp while they munched on very carpish-looking Swedish Fish candy.

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Then we partook in a good-old American hot-dog BBQ. This was followed by a rowdy game of floor hockey in honor of our new friends on vacation here from Canada.
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And of course, we couldn’t just ignore the fact that this was also Cinco De Mayo so we finished off the festivities with a pinata. We made it shaped like a puck and the boys whacked it around on the ground with their hockey sticks until the candy came flying out. So here’s to boys and “Thank you, Lord for them!”

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Friday’s Factoid 30 (by Titus, Joel, and Mom)

Dark Matter isn’t like anything else. It can pass through us. It is invisible and it is everywhere. Scientists are trying to capture it in a bottle (by Titus, 9).

The galaxies are all spinning too fast and should all fall apart but Dark Matter holds them together and Dark Energy makes them get farther and farther apart (Joel, 7 1/2).

We have spent almost the entire school year studying the visible universe. This week we turned our attention to the other 96%, the part of the universe we can’t see and the most mysterious substances of all: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter acts as an invisible framework that holds the visible properties of the universe in place. Dark Energy seems to be working against gravity to stretch the universe out at a faster and faster rate. We’re posting the first part in a series put out by the History Channel on these amazing new discoveries. I highly recommend looking up the rest of this series. As you watch keep in mind 2 of our memory verses from this year: “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isaiah 45:12) and “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16,17).