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Friday, March 27, 2015

My Father's World K: W is for Water

Learning about the water cycle.
I hardly have the time to blog our homeschooling journey. This week, we are at Unit 10 of our My Father's World K curriculum, W is for Water. Perhaps there's no better time than to be doing it this week, especially with the weather being unbearably hot recently. 

It's also been a time of great mourning for our country with the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, a founding father of our country Singapore. The concept has not been an easy one for our boys to grasp - they already understand his death to some extent, but understanding the immenseness of the loss for our country and the greatness of Mr Lee's rule and governance to make Singapore what it is today are not things that preschoolers can easily comprehend.

We have started telling them stories of how he helped to make Singapore the place that they enjoy today, and one of the things the boys can relate to is the fact that through Mr Lee's leadership, we can enjoy clean potable water from the tap, which when visualised in a four-year-old's mind, also means water for his favourite water play spots in various locations in Singapore.
The 4yo boy immersed in his favourite water play spot at
Gardens by the Bay.
The boys and I have been thanking God for the water that we have in Singapore - clean, unpolluted water, safe enough to drink and to take showers in. For the water that they see in the canals and surrounding waterways in Singapore at the beautiful parks we visit; for the water in Z's favourite Children's Garden at Gardens by the Bay.
At Labrador Park, one of our favourite restful spots.
We have also been discussing about how just as we should be grateful for good leaders who have helped us enjoy clean water, we should also save water by using less of it when we wash our hands. Z once asked me, "Mummy, isn't the Jurong Bird Park wasting water in its water play area?" We talked about the concept of recycling water. We hope to take them to the interactive exhibition at Marina Barrage soon to help them better understand how we conserve water in Singapore.

For the unit, we had the chance to explore some Science concepts in two main activities we did: making rain in a bottle and exploring what kinds of substances dissolve in water. We also made "calm down" bottles and had lots of fun mixing the ingredients which went into them. We got our idea from Steve Spangler's amazing blog entry on the Science Behind Clouds. (There are so many other great ideas here which we hope to try one day soon, like the Cloud in a Jar!)
It's raining! The boys get all excited to start their lessons on the water cycle!
Spraying shaving cream to make the "clouds".
Taking pleasure at seeing the clouds form.
The water colouring represents the water droplets in the atmosphere.
One child's version of the hydrological system.
When the water droplets get too heavy they fall as rain.
We studied what causes rain clouds to form and eventually fall as rain. We also looked at different kinds of weather, and explored the 3 states of water - solid, liquid and gas. 
Is it rainy or sunny? Lessons on different types of weather.
States of water.
The boys really enjoyed their "cooking" class, mixing all kinds of ingredients from our kitchen and stationery cupboard to see which ones would dissolve! 
Our 2yo shares a gleeful moment. Who ever knew it would be so fun to
play with your food?!
Flour. Salt. Oil Which dissolves and which doesn't?
Adding salt and learning how to make a solution. 
What if you add flour? The boys learn what is a suspension.
We add oil and this complicates matters. What do we have now? 
Then it was time to add a sparkly touch to our concoctions for our  "calm down" bottles. You can find so many ideas for these on the Internet - they are basically used to help anxious children relax or calm down in an acceptable way.

First add the colouring of your choice. 
Then some glitter to add the sparkle to your mixture.
Getting ready the final ingredient - glitter confetti.
Into the mixture it goes! Now we just have to bottle the mixture, and we're all set to go. And all you need to do if you
want to calm down is to give your bottle a shake, and you'll feel better almost instantaneously!
We ended our unit on water on a poignant note, reading about natural disasters in which people have problems with water. We read books on floods as well as droughts - times of a lack of water or too much water. I also intend to show the boys some photos of the tsunami that took an estimated 16,000 lives in Japan. We want them to have empathy for people in other countries where the forces of nature can often lead to destruction. The boys were saddened to see people's homes destroyed after floods, and roads in chaos with water higher than car-level. We ended the unit praying for people in such countries. The unit on Water turned out to be a lot richer than I initially thought it would be.

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