Saturday, March 9, 2013

Preschool V is for Volcano Unit

This week was V is for Volcano week for Mini Piwi. She is crazy about a song called "Hot Lava' from Jake and the Never Land pirates and the Dinosaur train episode 'under the Volcano'.

PBS kids has a lesson plan around this episode and it was a great start to a week of fun. We displayed the Simple Eruption diagram printable from PBS kids.

The tricky part was finding books we could read that weren't too graphic for Mini Piwi. For now Mini Piwi is more focused on the Volcano as a land form rather than for it's dangers.  The Fiery pictures in Big sis's encyclopedia worried her a bit.

Here's what we found:

Land (by Donna Herwick Rice) is an Time early reader full of beautiful photographs of the different Biomes on Earth. It was a perfect for a Pre K introduction to land forms.

Volcanic Valley ( by Loli C Froeb)  is a cute lift the flap Dinosaur train tie in about Pteranodon familys' trip to visit a Volcano and all the stops along the way. Dinosaurs, Lift the flap and volcanoes -it has it all as far as Mini Piwi is concerned

A day on the mountain (by Kevin Kurtz) was too amazing to leave in the library this week. It takes you on a journey up the side of a  mountain where you met the animals and plant there along the way. The realistic illustrations appeal to all ages but the text will hold the attention of older elementary kids. Even though it is not about a Volcano it did give rise to a discussion about whether all Mountains were volcanoes.

Giant Octopus to the Rescue (adapted by Allison Inches)  is based on a Go Diego Go episode where the team has to rescue animals from an erupting underwater volcano. I used it when we were talking about Volcanoes that we can't see under lakes and at the bottom of the Ocean.

Eruption: Story of Volcanoes (by Anita Ganes) was our one 'fiery' volcano book. It has some impressive and colorful eruption photos but nothing too scary. We used this when we were talking about Volcanologist and what they do.

An Island Grows (by Lola M Schaefer) is written in short rhyming couplets and was a simple lesson in how Magma becomes lava and ultimately gives rise to an island. Big Sis appreciated the 'lesson' more than Mini Piwi who liked the cute illustrations.

Using the PBS Kids lesson plan Mini Piwi made a Volcano and Dino land from Playdoh. We didn't 'erupt' it until later on the week when she played 'Volcano Dr'.

 To practice the letter V this week Mini Piwi

 Traced with Glitter glue

Made play doh Vs by folding the 'sausage shapes' we had made

We used some awesome apps to search for Volcanic and Earthquake activity and take a tour of Volcanoes.
Discovery Channel's Extreme World -Ultimate Volcano was one of the eight interactive subjects
Volcano Tour took us on a Virtual tour of 80+ volcanoes

We finished up the week with Mini Piwi playing  'Volcanologist for a day' or Volcano Dr as she called it...check out the post here

 To see what Big Sis did for Volcano week click here

Friday, March 8, 2013

A week long Volcano Unit Study

Miss K's unit on Volcanoes ended up having a strong New Zealand theme. I didn't realize how much I remembered from school about New Zealand Geology. The Kids were excited to hear about the active volcanoes (Mount Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe) I grew up close to.
Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand
The imagery in the Maori Myths and legends really capture the beauty of New Zealand. There is one about about the mountains and the river in my hometown that really stayed with me. This week I read it to the Piwi's. We didnt have much luck finding books on New Zealand Volcanoes at the library but the the Volcano zone on the GNS science website was a great alternative.

Another great resource we used was an book and activity set called Volcanoes of the world. The book itself was full off information about how volcanoes are formed, how they erupt and highlights some of the more well known 'trouble makers'. What Miss K loved most was the kit to make your own World volcano map and a flip book of an erupting volcano!

For Miss K's Notebooking pages 

  • How a Volcano erupts mini book from 
  • Some of the basic mini books from the Volcano Lapbook at Home school share
Books as always were the main source of all of Miss K's investigations and we found a good selection...some we already had, others we borrowed.

Multimedia resources we used in our unit

 Mini Piwi also had her own 'V is for Volcano' activities and Miss K was an eager assistant for the messier ones! Like...

Erupting Mini Piwi's Playdoh Volcano....

and playing with Lava in the bath thanks to the great idea from in lieu of preschool 


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Math with Apples Project

This week we read 'An Apple pie for Dinner' and practiced our measuring skills with an apple Math investigation.

This book is very cute! Granny Smith (pun intended) wants to bake an apple pie but  she doesnt have any apples. All she has is a basket of plums and sets off in the hope that she can trade them. The illustrations are very fairy tale like and reminded me of the amazing shadow applique my grandma used to create.

Apple Math:

Earlier in the day we had compared raisins and grapes and talked about how drying removes the water.
The goal for apple investigation was to find out how much weight an apple looses when it is dried. Mini Piwi was chief fruit weigh-person, Miss K was the data recorder and self proclaimed 'calculator  of the important stuff'.

Here's the method I wrote for the Piwis to follow

1. Have a grown-up peel, core and slice 2 apples into thin pieces.

2. Line a baking pan with baking paper and ask Mama to turn the oven on to 200 degrees

3. Weigh the slices from each apple and record the measurement for each one

 4. Lay the apple slices on the pan

5.  Ask a grownup to put the pan into the oven

6. Wait patiently :-) for about 1 hour until the apple slices are dry.

7. Ask a grown up to remove the pan from the oven at let tthe apples cool

8. Weigh all the dried apples to find their new total mass.

 9. Eat the apples!

There are so many things you could have kids calculate from this activity. We kept it fairly simple and I asked Miss K to find:

1. The total mass of the apples before they went into the oven
2. How much mass the apples had lost from the drying

Another calculation that occured to me (after we were done) was the mass of the core and/or peel we had removed.

 The Piwi's really enjoyed their snack and even Miss K declared that this kind of math was actually fun.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The BFG Unit Study: Snozzcumbers cooked four ways

We spent the week reading Roald Dahl's, The BFG. Miss K thought it was awesome! We extended this book with lots of activities. The most memorable event of the week was when I announced we were going to eat some Snozcumbers.  The look on Miss K's face was priceless.

On Friday we went to HEB and lurked around the produce department looking for 'baby Snozcumbers'. It is times like this that I really appreciate the anonymity that frequent relocation brings lol! If your kids are going to be racing around the store raving on about Snozcumbers and giants, it is better no one knows you. The kids decided cucumbers and zucchinis would be good substitutes.

That day we managed to eat snozcumbers for Afternoon tea, dinner and dessert! Whats more, even Mini Piwi enjoyed them Apparently all I had to do to get her to eat her vegetables is too tell her that the BFG says they are 'filth some and disgusting'!

For an afternoon snack the Piwis enjoyed baby snozcumbers (cucumbers) and mama's 'ranch' with Frobscottle. I wish I had thought to make can labels for Frobscottle!

Friday is (homemade) pizza night so we added the other Snozcumber variety (zucchini) to our favorite Pizza recipe. Turns out you really can't taste them on pizza!

I grilled the last of Snozcumbers with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I was obviously pushing my luck! Mini Piwi wouldn't touch them but Miss K did try them and announce them to be ok...Never mind, Piwi Daddy and I enjoyed them!

For dessert we made these awesome Chocolate Muffins from the Happy Herbivore. They are a family favorite and until now the Piwi's had no idea they had zucchini in them...oooppps! I add the optional chocolate chips to them and they taste like chocolate pudding!
Chocolate Muffin clipart from

So there you have it -Snozcumbers cooked four ways!

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