With the stop of the rain, the re-opening of the bridge and no more calls for volunteers, life—as us lucky un-flooded ones know it—seems to have returned to normal. Of course, it will likely be weeks or months before some people get back into their homes, if ever. The whole experience has been sobering in some ways and yet uplifting in others. The people in these communities totally rallied around each other and helped in all situations, as much as they could. Enthusiastic citizens gathered in hoards to fill and move sandbags—so much so that municipalities were running out of bags! Others carried food and drinks to people working non-stop in the water, and others manned the shorelines. Restaurants catered food, and companies brought in pumps and other supplies.

So this morning, we turned back to our projects, mainly science and oral presentation. Dollar store trifold boards are our game this month. Last week, we put together one for the chicken presentation we did in Leila’s class at school today. We brought the board, but the kindergarteners were more interested in the real deal: Padme and fifteen of Mr. Quinn’s chicks. They were adorable ambassadors for spreading the word about how fun and easy it is to keep chickens.

 

Zahra and Noah are also using trifold boards to organize and present the research they’ve each done on the earth science topic of their choice. Noah researched volcanos, wrote a one-page report about them and prepared his trifold board with various tidbits of information. We also did the Trashcano experiment. Yesterday and today, we talked about topographic maps. Representing a 3D land form on a 2D piece of paper really intrigued him. After watching a YouTube video where a man showed how topographic maps work using clay, dental floss and paper, Noah recreated the activity several times, making his own mountains and cutting cross-sections with dental floss, tracing the cross-sections on paper, and finally rebuilding the models. Such a fun and easy activity that I’m wondering how I could lead this at the Nook and make it interesting for a bigger group of kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that wasn’t the last volcano-related activity. The best volcano story is, of course, Pompeii—and we had read about it last week. This morning, Noah did a 3D topographic map with cardboard, paint, and the tool that freaks me out the most (which, of course is why he loves it so), a box cutter. I was certain he was going to slice a finger off and we’d be talking about it for decades to come (remember when Mom thought a cardboard topographic map would be a good idea?), but he managed not only to not lose any blood, but also to clean up his paint mess without being harassed (that’s a big win) and then he came up with this awesome idea to label the altitudes with little flags! Why just write them on with Sharpie when you can use toothpicks and glue? I think it turned out beautifully!

Zahra has been reading about caves. She wrote a more detailed report about karstic caves and their formation. We also read about glacier caves and underwater caves and watched a TED Talk on the exploration of underwater caves around Bermuda. She got started on her experiment: building a mountain out of sugar cubes and frosting (and then calculating its volume). It has to harden overnight, but tomorrow she will drip water onto it to simulate limestone erosion. If it works, we should be able to cut it open and see stalagmites and stalactites.

She still has to work on her trifold board, so I imagine we’ll have these things floating around our house for the next week or two, and then it’s presentation-for-Daddy time!