Thursday, 20 February 2014

Then and Now #8 - Trip to IGA

The field trip to IGA was a success! Even with the rain, it didn't diminish the children's spirit at all! Before the trip, each child was assigned one ingredient he/she needed to buy:

paying at the with cash

Theo - syrup
Allye - eggs
Molly - flour
Alfie - milk
Brendan - butter

4 ways to pay
When we reached IGA, the children went down the aisles in search of the items needed. At the cashier, I told the children that unlike the olden days (bartering or paying with real money), we can pay in 4 different ways. The children were given the choices of paying with a bank card, credit card, gift card or cash. Molly and Allye chose to pay with cash and Theo, Alfie and Brendan chose to pay with a gift card.  A big thank you to the IGA cashier who help each child (there were 11) pay for their own items.

Then and Now #7 - Popcorn History

 When the children told each other about the chores they do at home, Theo noticed that many of them help make popcorn and he wondered: "I don't have popcorn at home, how do you make popcorn?"

Molly said she makes popcorn in a foil pan over the stove. Alfie makes his popcorn in a pot over the stove (like many in the olden days). To further the conversation, I read the book The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola. We learned the history of popcorn in the Americas and methods of popping corn. After the story, the children couldn't wait to pop their own popcorn. We tried 3 different ways; in a pot over the stove, with an air popping machine and in a microwave. We timed each method and the longest one was making popcorn in a pot over the stove. It took 10 minutes. The air popper took 5 minutes and the fastest one was with the microwave; it only took us 2 minutes and 30 seconds! The children thought the popcorn made in the pot tasted the yummiest!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Then and Now #6 - Life in the Early 1800s

Listing what they do at home
According to our housing timeline, after the mud houses used by early farmers are the log cabins from the early 1800s. We read the book Winter Day in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder to help us understand how life was like in the early 1800s. There were no machines, no cars, no electricity, and children help do chores around the house.
Laura and her family has to:

"Wash on Mondays,
 Iron on Tuesday,
 Mend on Wednesday,
 Churn on Thursday,
 Bake on Saturdays,                                                       
 Rest on Sunday."

I asked the children if they help do chores around the house. And they all answered: "YES!"

Molly: I help make popcorn, tidy up toys, make bed, scratch the dog's back, sweep and do the dishes.
Brendan: I help cook, tuck in chairs, help make popcorn and clean up toys.
Theo: I help tidy up toys and nothing else.
Alfie: I help make popcorn, unload the car, put plates away, wash dishes, put toys away and help cook.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Then and Now #5 - Early Farmers

grinding with a mortar
grinding with an electric grinder
To learn more about the development after early humans, Water group watched a video called "Birth of Civilization" produced by National Geographic ( We were only able to watch the first 12 minutes of the show and the children were completely mesmerized by the ways of life of the nomadic people. We briefly talked about how and why people learned to tame wild animals and grow food (mainly wheat and barley). The children saw in the video that the people used stone bowls and sticks to grind their wheat into flour to make bread.

Instead of grinding wheat into flour, the children ground rice. They noticed that it wasn't easy and it took a long time and many turns!  I showed the children an electric grinder and they each took turn grinding the rice. Their first reaction was "Wow!" I asked them, "Why do you think someone invented the electric grinder?" Alfie said, "It's much faster." Theo answered, "You just press it." Molly said, "You can get more each time."
making rice pudding

In the end, we used our ground rice to make rice pudding (from a recipe in the olden days). The children loved it! 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Then and Now #4 - Life of Early Humans

starting fire
On Monday, the Water group spent group time being early humans. The group had such great imagination and creativity that it seemed like we travelled back 160,000 years. We began group time by journeying into the forest and looked for shelter, hunted for food, built fire, and made beddings out of materials from the forest. They loved being hunters but I think one early vegan did exist in the group. Lucas insisted on reviving a hen that another child hunted and he cared for it until the end of our dramatization. The group also showed great teamwork when they gathered wood for the fire. The children noticed that it takes hard work to live the life of the early humans. They have to do and make everything from scratch.
gathering wood

Showing care
our bed
In the end I asked the children if they would like to live in the times of the early humans. Molly, Theo and Lucas would not want to because there are too many things to do and Lucas does not want to hunt animals. And Allye and Alfie quite enjoyed the life of early humans and wouldn't mind living around that time.

Then and Now #3 - The Housing Model

The children are really enjoying watching their 3D housing timeline grow. It starts off with caves and bone houses for the early humans continuing to mud houses for early farmers then log houses, castles, houses in the 50s and finally the modern city with high rises. The structures may seem very different in each time period but one thing the children agree on is that people always need shelter! However as they come to this conclusion, Alfie made a comment that made us ponder..."Well, there are people that have no homes and sleep on the street."