Thursday, November 15, 2018

Genetics: Karyotype

 Karyotypes are literally picture of chromosomes taken through a microscope, and they are used to screen for major genetic abnormalities.

In our case, we used these sample karyotypes to cut and paste homologous chromosomes and sort by size (the largest chromosomes are chromosome 1, and the smallest are chromosome 22).

A word of caution, the site provides some karyotypes showing chromosomal damage (trisomy 21, for example).  It's important to use the normal examples first, and move on to the abnormal ones if you want to do more karyotyping later (otherwise, it can be very confusing).

I had my girls do normal girl karyotypes, and the boys do normal boy karyotypes.

They enjoyed it, and it really helped them understand the homologous chromosomes and chromatids.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Awesome Geography: France

France was fun!  For our active activity, we did French Hopscotch, also known as Escargot since it's shaped like a snail shell. 

We used this often to tech skip counting, especially for the difficult 6 and 7 times tables. 

Since we had younger kids, we did 1s, 2s, 3s, and 5s, and they loved it!

Our art activity was inspired by Monet's waterlilies.

We drew the bridge and some waterlilies with oil pastels, then blotted the paper with very watery watercolors. 

We finished by sprinkling with kosher salt to give a patterned look to the final artwork, although, as one child pointed out, it also made the paintings sparkly!

Our snack was Madeleines.  If you haven't had them (and so they evoke no memories) they are sort of a cross between cookies and buttery cupcakes.  You need a special pan to make them with their classic sea shell shape, but I presume you could pipe them on a cookie sheet and they would be tasty, if not instantly recognizable.

I made ours strawberry flavored and dipped them in chocolate - c'est magnifique!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Genetics: Candy DNA

 Time is flying by: we are in the last section of our science survey class!

We've been doing all sorts of things with genetics, punnet squares and heredity.

One fun thing, while explaining DNA replication, was to make models of DNA out of leftover Halloween candy!

In these models, red licorice is the sense strand, and yellow is the non--sense strand. Fruit flavored tootsie rolls are the bases: cherry for adenine, blue raspberry for thymine, lime for cytosine, and grape for guanine.  We used tooth picks to link everything together, and Laffy Taffy to make the zipping and unzipping enzymes.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Poems of the Week: The Chambered Nautilus

The Chambered Nautilus

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,—
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,—
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreath├Ęd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

HT: Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Awesome Geography: Switzerland, Germany, and Austria

 We had an actual Swiss person, Shelli's husband!

He talked to the kids about what it was like to grow up in Switzerland in a farming village.

He actually grew up and became a Swiss Guard at the Vatican!

 Our active activity was churning butter in this nifty little churn.

Our snack was Swiss chocolate (believe me, that was a hit!), but we had a secondary snack of the butter on a sweet German spice bread.

And our art project was making "haunted" castles since it was just before Halloween and all three of these countries are known for their beautiful castles.

You just cut out a castle shape from gray paper.
 Then cut out flaps for windows and doors.

Then tape or glue a yellow or orange paper behind the castle.

Then draw whatever is in the castle through the open doors and windows!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Who would Win, a Giant Squid or a Great White Shark?

 Finding out now on my ceiling!

As part of our Oceanography class, we did one class on sharks, and made a life sized (19 foot) model of a Great White.

We put it up on the ceiling because it was the only clear space to put it.

Then we did the very next class on squid!
 Well, cephalopods, anyway.

It was a great class!

And, of course, we made a life sized giant squid...

And, of course, they are now fighting it out on my ceiling!
UPDATE: Giant Squid Wins!  Seriously, the shark fell off the ceiling last night, leaving only the squid...

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Poem of the Week: Contemplations


Sometime now past in the Autumnal Tide,
When Phoebus wanted but one hour to bed,
The trees all richly clad, yet void of pride,
Were gilded o’re by his rich golden head.
Their leaves and fruits seem’d painted but was true
Of green, of red, of yellow, mixed hew,
Rapt were my senses at this delectable view.

I wist not what to wish, yet sure thought I,
If so much excellence abide below,
How excellent is he that dwells on high?
Whose power and beauty by his works we know.
Sure he is goodness, wisdom, glory, light,
That hath this under world so richly dight.
More Heaven than Earth was here, no winter and no night.

The rest of the poem and a tip of the hat: Poetry Foundation

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Fall Bike Trip

The leaves are just starting to color up and we've had a few nice days, so we've been out biking!

We have a nice set of bike trails near us, and parts of the trail are punctuated by exercise equipment- like a playground for grown ups!

It's taken me a long time (like 21 years) to have every single person in the family have a working bike, a fitting helmet, and the ability to ride...

And that includes me!

I hadn't been on a bike in 30 years, but, it turns out, it's just like riding a bicycle.  It being actually riding a bicycle.

Actually being out on bikes, going on adventures with my kids is everything I always dreamed it would be.

Except for the part about feeling like my legs will fall off!

Friday, November 2, 2018

All Souls Day

Eternal rest

grant unto them

o Lord,

And let

perpetual light

shine upon them.

May they rest

in peace,