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Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Father's World K: N is for Nest

We are starting with our very first homeschool co-op this week at the Jurong Bird Park. Unfortunately, I was down with the flu and couldn't attend the first session. The mothers are going to take turns leading the lessons - I thought I would finally get the blog on this unit out which we did last November so that I could rehash what we did for the unit! This has been one of my favourite MFW units so far :)

The perfect start to our "Nest" study -  a nest which Ye Ye and Nai Nai found
outside their balcony! (No nestlings were hurt in the removal of the nest -
they had all hatched and flown away.)
We learned about the parts of an egg.
Eggs for breakfast! 
The little one gets a feel.
We get to crush the shells to make egg shell paint. Saved for an art project for another day.

One of the books we read for the unit. We learned that different species made different sounds.
Our art project for today - a bird's nest in a tree. Our 4 yo's interpretation of a forest scene.
Our 2 yo's version of a nest. 
Preparing for our 3-D collage... twirling a piece of twine in a cupcake tray and gluing it down to make a nest.
And here's our completed project! A little twine nest with dough eggs. Very sweet.
Mummy's version of the nest in a tree.
Our 4 yo's final product.
This unit lent itself to a lot of inter-disciplinary work. Apart from painting and making twine bird's nests, we baked some brioche nests and counted out blueberry and almond chocolates to place in them for a snack!

Empty nests waiting to be filled...
Counting out large and small eggs - Math!
Blueberry chocolates nestled in a brioche nest. It was a treat!
This was our first foray into Apologia Science. The series specially caters to
younger students. Can't wait to explore more of the book, although it is 
rather wordy for the boys at the moment. In time to come...
We had the chance to study the different materials which birds use to
construct their nests, using the nest that their
Ye Ye and Nai Nai had found outside their house.
Twigs, leaves, feathers... what else did the birds use to build this nest?
It was time for our literary component of the unit, "More" by I.C. Springman.

"More" is a fascinating book by I.C. Springman about a kleptomaniac magpie and his friend the mouse, who serves as his conscience. The magpie cannot help but keep collecting things for his nest, and the final result is a resounding crash, when his kingdom of hoarding falls to the ground. The lesson is clear: he realises less is more. The book has had great reviews:

Young readers not overwhelmed by the visual intensity will chant the minimal text; older ones will note questions about accumulation, materialism, friendship—and how to decide what’s meaningful. (Kirkus Reviews)

For our purposes, however, we were going to use it as a Maths lesson on the concepts of "more/less". I got the idea from this great idea in this blog  We had lots of fun cutting up straws, string etc., all materials which birds use to build their nests. Then the boys had fun shouting "More" or "Less" as I added or removed things from my paper plate. We ended the session having them build nests of their own by gluing their nest materials onto paper plates. It was fun!


Cutting up colourful plastic straws to make the "nest".
Still on the topic of animal homes, it was time to help our little friends find their correct dwellings, a picture matching game which the boys enjoyed thoroughly. And we ended off our table work with a study of the letter "N" and learning how to write it.
Where do you live?
"N" is for Nest!
All in all, this has been a really fun unit; and the more children enjoy learning, the more you find the incentive to expand the unit. This has been one such occurrence!

Other books we read during our studies:
Factual book about birds and their babies.
An interesting book about a bird, a nest and a string.
In the heart of the city, there is a secret place where the ducks have their nest...
The first year of a bird's life...
A sweet story about a baby bird who is lost and is looking for his home.
An interesting book that explores the different types of nests birds build for their babies.
And the finale - a visit with Daddy to the bird park!

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