Saturday, 22 February 2014

Prykrete Boat

Rocket Boy LOVES watching MythBusters, always hanging out for a new episode, but will happily watch old ones over and over.

A few weeks back we watched one of the Alaska specials where they tested a myth about a unsinkable aircraft carrier made out of Pykrete.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A slab of pykrete

Pykrete is made of 14 percent sawdust and 86 percent water by weight.
Pykrete is a composite material made of approximately 14 percent sawdust or some other form of wood pulp (such as paper) and 86 percent ice by weight (6 to 1 by weight). Its use was proposed during World War II by Geoffrey Pyke to the British Royal Navy as a candidate material for making a huge, unsinkable aircraft carrier. Pykrete has some interesting properties, notably its relatively slow melting rate (because of low thermal conductivity), and its vastly improved strength and toughness over ice; it is closer in form to concrete.
Pykrete is slightly more difficult to form than concrete, as it expands during the freezing process. However, it can be repaired and maintained using seawater. The mixture can be moulded into any shape and frozen, and it will be extremely tough and durable, as long as it is kept at or below freezing.

In 2009, the Discovery Channel program MythBusters episode 115 tested the properties of pykrete and the myths behind it. First, the program's hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman compared the mechanical properties of common ice, pykrete and a new material specially created for the show, dubbed "super pykrete", using newspapers instead of woodpulp. Both versions of pykrete indeed proved to be much stronger than the chunk of ice, withstanding hundreds of pounds of weight. The super pykrete was much stronger than the original version.
The MythBusters then built a full-size boat out of the super pykrete, naming it Yesterday's News, and subjected it to real-world conditions. Though the boat managed to float and stay intact at speeds of up to 23 miles per hour (37 km/h), it quickly began to spring leaks as the boat slowly melted. After twenty minutes the boat was deteriorating, and the experiment was ended. The boat lasted another ten minutes while being piloted back to shore.

Normally on MythBusters they remind you 'do not try this at home' but when Rocket Boy asked to make a small scale Super Prykrete boat I couldn't see why not.  

As Daddy was home I was more than happy to hand the job off to him to complete with Rocket Boy.  The following photos and explanations are by shared by Rocket Boy. 


Daddy is cutting up newspaper.


I am putting newspaper in water.


We are moulding the wet newspaper into a boat.


In the freezer for the night.


Frozen solid.


Put in the water.


Added Lego figure.


15 minutes later.


The boat lasted 22 minutes. 


Friday, 7 February 2014

A Visit to the Museum

We are currently studying New Zealand which I imagine will take a few weeks if not longer depending on how sidetracked we get.  As Daddy had the week off work I took advantage of this and got to take Rocket Boy out for some one on one at the Waikato Museum, we visited the Ngaa Pou Whenua exhibition.

 "Ngaa Pou Whenua is a modern story of the four iwi of Tainui – Waikato, Pare Hauraki, Raukawa and Maniapoto.  From the mouth of the Waikato River, to the plains of Hauraki; the rolling hills of Raukawa and the valleys of Maniapoto.  Ngaa Pou Whenua is an exhibition of Tainui people and Tainui lands, exploring identity and belonging. See the taonga, listen to the waiata, watch the movie and touch the whakairo, nau mai, haere mai."

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We also visited the Never a Dull Moment! Hamilton Stories,  Rocket Boy enjoyed all the interactive displays, dressing up in school boy clothes from over a hundred years ago, and he loved finding all the swords and guns on display. 

Never a Dull Moment! Hamilton Stories takes a fresh look at the tales of Hamilton, and proves history exhibitions can move beyond musty stuff in cases.  Visitors will find it quirky, thought-provoking and entertaining.

Never a Dull Moment focuses on four themes covering the period from1864-1945, and key events and personalities from those years.

But this is no time line.  Imagine portraits that come to life, listening in on town gossip, or settling into a cinema to find out all about Hamilton’s theatre going past?  Perhaps you’d like to spin the settler ‘wheel of fortune’, or take home a recipe from a war time cook book.  (Economy cake, anyone?).





We will probably visit the Museum again after we've finished our study to see if Rocket Boy understands more of what is on display - and to take Ladybug who was a little gutted to have missed out. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand.

On February the 6th 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.  The Treaty was between the Queen of England - Queen Victoria, and the Maori Chiefs.

It was only signed by some 40 Chiefs on the 6th of February, and many many more signatures were obtained after this.  There were also many Chiefs who did not sign the Treaty.

There is a lot of drama (for the lack of a better word) over the Treaty as there were many different translations and it's likely that those signing it didn't know what they were agreeing to.  But as Rocket Boy is only 6 I kept it really simple, over the years he can learn more.

It's also been a great starting point for our unit study on New Zealand which I imagine will take up a large chuck of the start of this year.

Here's what Rocket Boy wrote about the Treaty.


"Treaty of Waitangi They let the Queen become the Master of New Zealand and they agreed they would only sell their land to her. They got to keep their land, and their fishing rights and their forests"

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Boxcar Children

It's just a bunch of children that were running away from their Grandfather, they thought the Grandfather would be bad to him, they didn't know that he was actually a nice rich man. That's basically they ran away from their Grandfather and lived in a Boxcar and then a long time after that they meet their Grandfather and he's a nice loving Man, and that' the end of book one, the end.

I sort of liked it and we're reading the next one.

By Rocket Boy

Friday, 31 January 2014

Letter of the Week - Letter B

letter of the week

B is for Butterfly.  If you ask Ladybug what letters we've covered she will say Butterfly, not B.  But that is not the point of doing this with her, it's to have fun and maybe some of it will sink in while we're playing. 

Here are photos of some of the activities Ladybug completed, again these are not everything she did, just what I managed to take photos of as it's more important that I'm with her rather than taking photos of her. 

I got the playdough out this week, pink which is Ladybugs favourite colour.  Ladybug will often get out the letter cards and playdough herself, and was delighted to see I had but this out in one of her trays.


Colour matching, also clipping spring loaded pegs onto cards are a great motor gross skill. 


Ladybug started this activity on the floor, but Jellybean kept trying to grab everything from her, now that Jellybean is crawling it's hard to keep anything away from her. 


I would have been in a lot of trouble if I didn't put some colouring activities out for Ladybug. 


This was a cutting and gluing activity.  Ladybug lost interest in this part way thru cutting so I helped her finish it off. 


And here's this weeks letter for Ladybugs alphabet book.  It's supposed to be a b with butterfly wings, and I guess it still is.  I do have to remind myself that it's not the end result, it's the process and it's how Ladybug feels that matters and she loves it. 


Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Every night, after Ladybug and Rocket Boy have showered (or bathed) are in their pajamas and snuggled up in bed, their Daddy reads them a couple of chapters from a book. 

A week ago they finished reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I asked Rocket Boy what happened in the book. 

"Dorothy gets, inside her house gets picked up by a cyclone and she gets transported to the land of Oz.  Then Dorothy meets the good witch and kills the bad witch and then she meets the munchkins who live in the munchkins land.  She travels on the yellow brick road and meets scarecrow, lion and the tin woodsman.  They go off to the emerald city where the great wizard of oz is, then they have to kill the wicked witch of the west. 
With water they melted the wicked witch of the west. 
The wizard of Oz went up in the balloon without Dorothy,  Dorothy really really really really wanted to go up in the balloon. 
The guard with the green whiskers told Dorothy and her friends to go to the country of the quadlings, that's when Dorothy used her sliver slippers to teleport back to Kansas after the good witch told her. That was the most powerful witch of all. 
That's all, that's the end of the story. "

I also asked Ladybug and she said
"I liked Dorothy and she had a dog"

We also had a couple of days of themed work which the kids really enjoyed.  We used the Wizard of Oz Preschool Pack from Homeschool Creations 

I got Rocket Boy to cut up this picture of the Tin Woodsman then glue it in order on some plain paper.


Rocket Boy wrote the names of each character, with a little help with spelling. 


Rocket Boy read a short story and then had the find and circle each word on the second sheet. 


Ladybug had to circle the odd one out, she needed help with this one, our printer is very low on ink so some of the differences were hard to spot.


Ladybug rolled dice and graphed the results.  She LOVED this activity and completed it twice, once with the Do a Dots, and again with stickers.


Ladybug is great at tracing, years ahead of her brother at the same age. 



Rocket Boy had to cut out the characters and glue them on the sheet in a pattern that he choose. 



Rocket Boy had to draw a line from the picture to the name. 


Both Ladybug and Rocket Boy had a go at this puzzle, both needed help.  Photo by Ladybug.


I'm new to using these cards, I've always skipped printing these when doing packs with Rocket Boy when he was younger.  I still don't know the 'correct' way to use these, but used them as a talking point with Ladybug and matching the pictures and words.


Ladybug LOVES colouring so I was printing more and more pages for her throughout the day. 



Rocket Boy had to put the correct fractions in Glenda the Good witches wand to complete the pictures. 


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Our 2014 Learning Zone

It's a new year so I thought we would change thing up a little, or maybe a lot and rearranged our house to make it work better for us.  While there may not be a lot of lounge type space for visitors, we have heaps of space set up for the kids to do their work and play in.  But we live in our home every day and I rather have it set up for us and not for visitors who may or may not come and don't live here all the time.


We have a calendar which I've gotten so slack at doing every day with the kids, but will hopefully get into a better routine now that Ladybug has started back at Montessori (today was her first day back) and all our extra curriculum start back next week.
We named the room our Learning Zone as I'm trying to move away from the word 'School' as we do not do 'School' here at home, and I rather focus on the word 'Learning' 
Also on our wall is our alphabet tree, this is for Ladybug and each week when she completes a letter in the LOTW curriculum we add the letter to the tree. 


I picked up this table from the habitat for humanity for only $10, it's the perfect size for us all to sit at.  It's near our computer desks, so I can just wheel over and work one on one with the kids.  
Adding the Lego Art Carousel to the middle of the table also made the table more appealing to both Rocket Boy and Ladybug. 


I found this cupboard at the salvation army which is the hub of our room, the 6 trays on the left are Rocket Boys and the 6 on the right are Ladybugs.  The blue drawer are filled with Jellybeans toys, the area in front of the cupboards are clear so Jellybean has the floor to play on or the older two can do their work on the floor if they wish to. 

Currently our frogs which we will be releasing soon are also on this shelve, but the plans are to add some Montessori inspired trays which are also safe for Jellybean and maybe some of our bigger toys which I can change up every week.