Sunday, February 28, 2010

More About George Washington Carver

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Most people teaching about George Washington Carver, focus on his work with peanuts. This is the part of his life most covered by children's books, as well, so we will be learning about that through projects and the following library books:

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But, we will also be learning about his other achievements.

This list, found on the Tuskegee University website, shows the many products that he also made from sweet potatoes.



Foods
Flour (4)
Starch (4)
Sugar
Molasses (3)
Mock Cocoanut
Tapioca
Vinegar
Egg Yolk
Synthetic Ginger
Candy, 14 varieties
Chocolate
Dried Potatoes #1 and #2
Dry Paste
Potato Nibs
Bisque Powder
Breakfast Food #5
Meal (4)
After Dinner Mints #1,
#2 and #3
Yeast
Coffee, dry
Instant Coffee
Granulated Potatoes
Lemon Drops
Orange Drops
Sauce
Spiced Vinegar
Stock Foods
Stock Feed Meal (3)
Hog Feed


General
Stains
Dyes (73)
Paints
Medicine
Library Paste (5)
Alcohol
Rubber Compound
Writing Ink
Shoe Blacking
Fillers for Wood (14)
Synthetic Cotton
Synthetic Silk
Paper (from vines)

His interest in these particular plants, along with soybeans, came from a desire to find a market for plants that fix nitrogen in the soil, so that cotton farmers would not find it a hardship to rotate crops.


For one of our history lessons this week, we will be watching this History Channel biography of George Washington Carver.













Interesting fact:

Thomas Edison once offered Carver a job at his Edison Laboratories. The job would have paid $100, 000 a year, but Carver turned it down, because he felt he could do more good elsewhere.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

George Washington Carver

As Spring approaches and we start thinking about planting a new garden, our thoughts turn to plants and our study of famous scientists turns to Dr. George Washington Carver.

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The USDA offers a free printable book about Dr. Carver, with coloring pages and puzzles, that can be found here:

George Washington Carver Book


The following link is a little biographical cartoon along with games and activities on brainpop.com. It is a "subscribers only" site, but they offer a free 5 day trail:

George Washington Carver on brainpop jr.


George Washington Carver On-Line Jigsaw Puzzle



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I found this comic biography on a website devoted to history comics that can be used for educational purposes. The artist even has a book devoted to famous homeschoolers.

Chester Comix

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Wednesday post, to bring you this special archeological adventure

I didn't get out to take any pictures for this week's Corner View, so I'm having a guest blogger today. This is the video my husband made of his trip to White Oak Plantation, a former rice plantation that was once owned by Zephaniah Kingsley. The plantation is now a wild animal sanctuary with several giraffes.







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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sampled Scientists

I recently discover this website:

symphony of science.com

Snippets of lectures by famous televised scientists have been put together with music and imagery to create music videos about the interconnectedness of all living and nonliving things. There are four videos so far, but this is my favorite:


Friday, February 19, 2010

Signs of Spring

It's still below freezing most nights,

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but there are signs that Spring is on it's way.

For one thing, Blaze had his first baseball practice last night.

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Also, last week DH, Blaze, and I helped with garden clean-up, because the student gardens will soon be getting their Spring plowing.

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Blaze made a game out of clearing all the sticks from the garden, by saying that all sticks had to be put in a pile, as an offering to the Banana King.

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Not all the plants in the garden have been enjoying the cold weather. The bananas really didn't fair well.

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There are new lettuces in one garden plot, though, and two young peach trees with blossoms.

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There are also workmen building a new bat house.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Corner View: Wisdom from an Elder

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For the past three nights, we have been reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate as our bedtime story.

I usually read books to myself first, before sharing them with Blaze, but this time I didn't. If I had read it first, I probably would have waited a couple more years before introducing it to him. Tonight's reading included descriptions of violence both on and off the battlefield and it was all I could do to hold back the tears while reading aloud. It is an engaging book, though, and Blaze has asked me to continue reading it in the morning, which is his ultimate compliment to literature.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is the story of a young girl ( 11 years and 3/4) in 1899, who bonds with her Grandfather over their love of studying the natural world around them. Calpurnia becomes interested in natural selection, by watching the grasshoppers in her yard, but when she decides she would like to read Mr. Darwin's book on the subject, she is told by the public librarian that they would never keep such a book on their library shelves, that it would have to be ordered from another library, and then only with a note from her mother giving her permission to read such a thing.

Calpurnia had never had a relationship with her grandfather before that time. She had always been a little afraid of him and didn't believe that he even knew her name, even though they live in the same house. As she observes more of the world around her and starts to ask questions about it, she discovers her Grandfather has many of the answers she seeks. She discovers that he owns a copy of On the Origin of Species, but since it is such heavy reading for such a young girl with no scientific background, the grandfather explains the concepts in term that she can understand.

This is not just a story about a girl learning about Darwin, though. This is a story about a family living in Texas at the turn of the last century, when women and minorities had few rights and grandfathers could still tell stories about the brutality of the Civil War.

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Every day seems to be a different holiday; Valentine's Day was Sunday; Presidents Day was yesterday. I didn't even realize that today was Mardi Gras ( Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday) until this morning, so I don't think we'll be doing much to celebrate. I'll probably make pancakes for dinner or lunch and find some zydeco music for Blaze to dance to.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Bay Area Renaissance Faire

We had a very fun Valentine weekend in Tampa. Here are scenes from the Bay Area Renaissance Faire, which we attended on Saturday.

The weather was sunny, but a little chilly.

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The theme of this past weekend was Highland Fling. This was the kilt contest:

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The Queen explains that the only thing a true Scotsman wears under his kilt are his boots, and displays her tool for checking under the kilts.

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And the winners are...



There were also big burly men in kilts, performing feats of strength.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Beginning of Our Festive Valentine Weekend

This is why I was writing yesterday's blog post with such haste; We began our Valentine weekend a little early by driving to Tampa for dinner and a show.

Dinner was in Ybor City, the historic cuban section of Tampa, at the Columbia restaurant's first location.

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A quick stop at the hotel to freshen up.

The view from our hotel window:

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Then we were off to the Performing Arts Center to see a sold out performance of Wicked.

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The musical was awesome!

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Here is a link to " Defying Gravity", performed at the Tony Awards, to give you an example of just how fantastic the show is:

Defying Gravity

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy 201st. Birthday Charles Darwin!

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We started learning about Charles Darwin earlier this week, as part of our series of lessons about famous scientists and inventors.

And watched the Bill Nye the Science Guy episode about evolution:

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I couldn't find the full episode on-line, but here are a couple highlights:





We have also read the following books:

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quick Valentine Sweets

Happy Valentines Day a little early!

Today was the elementary Valentine's Day party at the school and one of the little girls gave me a Valentine that was so cute, that I wanted to share it.

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After Blaze ate the lollypop out of it, I took it apart to see how it was made:

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Blaze and I also made candy to give to DH for Valentine's Day.

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We started off with a bag of Starlight Mints and 20-ounce package of almond bark candy.

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I unwrapped all of the mints and placed them in a gallon size zip-lock bag. Then, Blaze got to do the fun job of pounding on the candies with his hammer until they were all crushed.

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I followed the package directions for melting the almond back in the microwave. Then, we stirred 1 Cup of crushed mint candy into the melted almond bark.

We tried 3 different methods of making the candies into heart shapes. I had two candy canes left over from Christmas, so that was our first heart.

This one came out so well, that I wish I had more leftover candy canes.
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Then we made some with the silicon muffin pans and some by just spreading the candy into heart shapes on some aluminum foil.

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I hope everyone has a very happy Valentine's Day!

Crafty Crow