Posts filed under Education

Ocean Pollution Clean Up Experiment

We then took a walk around the neighborhood and collected trash on the streets. We connected how this trash could easily get in the sewers or nearby river (which leads into the Mississippi River--->and then into ---> the Gulf of Mexico.

Brownie Designing Robots Badge Part 1

designing robots poster.jpg

I was super excited over the summer when they announced the new S.T.E.M badges. We have been trying to incorporate more S.T.E.M activities in our home for the girls. Last year we got the girls the Dash robot for Christmas and they seem to genuinely have an interest in the programming fun.

When the requirements for the badges came out, I have to admit, I was a bit confused. I must have reviewed the Volunteer Toolkit way too many times and then I realized, like with most of the resources offered, they always seem to be lacking creativity and visual explanation. So, I took to trusty Pinterest to assist with my research and planning.

Here is Part 1 of the Designing Robots Brownie Badge. I do recommend doing this in 2 meetings. It's A LOT and not a badge I would try to cram into one session. They won't take away much if you rush it and that defeats the purpose, right?

Robots Imitate Nature

I was so not a fan of the video recommendations on the VTK. My girls have such a short attention span so anytime I show a video it needs to be engaging! Here is a great substitute that also reinforced their Daisy Flower Garden Journey they completed last year (in case you are a multi-level troop)

Different Robot Parts

For this step, the girls partnered up. Each pair got a marker and a sheet of blank paper. One partner was given an example and they had to pose like a robot. The other partner had to draw what a robot would look like in that pose. Example of a pose: Robot playing basketball. 

Each person was given a chance to pose and draw/ We discussed the different examples of robotic parts they used in their drawings.... joints, gears, levers, pulleys, wheels, sensors, etc.

The girls went on to build their own robotic arms to further explore how robots are like humans and biomimicry. They built arms that could both extend and grab an object.

We lightly taped white lunch bags (filled with little prizes) to the wall for our mystery bag challenge! We taped them slightly above the girl's reach. To my surprise, the extender arms worked (for most)!!! This activity was a suggestion from the VTK. I liked the idea of building the robotic arms but their explanations and materials list left me so confused. There was no direction or suggestions on how to build, just a list of materials to let the girls explore. Now, I know we want to keep it Girl led but my girls could play with a box of the supplies all day and still be confused. So I needed to create an example for them. 

Extender Grabber

So this prototype took ME about 10 minutes to make which means the girls needed a solid 30 minutes to do it themselves.

Materials:

  • craft sticks (NOT the jumbo kind)
  • Shake straws (NOT regular straws)
  • tape
  • toothpicks
  • scissors
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First, you will want to make 4 sections like this...

20171121_103651.jpg

You will need two craft sticks, two 2 inch pieces of straw, and duct tape. Insert the end of a craft stick into the straw piece slightly less than halfway. Insert the other craft stick into the opposite end of the same straw piece. Leave a gap between the two craft sticks to allow for a toothpick hole. Secure craft sticks and straw bits with tape. Take your other straw bit and insert it into the open end of one of your craft sticks just short of halfway. Again, leave just enough room for a toothpick hole and secure with tape. Do this 4 times.

Next

Create your joint by taking one of your sections and punching your toothpick through the center of your straw piece. Take the second section and punch a hole with the same toothpick from your first section to overlap the two sections to make an X.

Take your two remaining sections that you have not used yet and attach them to the opposite straws bit (circled in picture below) using the toothpick punching method. 

20171121_103949.jpg

To finish your extending grabbing arm...

You will want to create something that resembles pinching/fingers. I cut a craft stick in half and attached each half to the end of an open end craft stick with tape (see the bottom half of the picture above).

The extender grabber is now finished and at this point, you can have your girls test it out and troubleshoot areas for improvement. They might need more stability(tape) in an area. Have them play around with the arm and try the mystery bag challenge!

Plan out your Robot

Once the girls understood the different parts of a robot and how they can make one actually work, they got to brainstorming ideas for their own prototype. We discussed simple projects or tasks that would be helpful to have a robot do. 

Suggestions:

  • Feeding a pet
  • retrieving a newspaper
  • Picking up dog poop (LOL)
  • Moping the floor
  • Taking out the garbage
  • Tub scrubbing robots 
  • Trash picker upper

We decided to do the tub scrubbing robot. We found a helpful video online and the girls planned out the materials they would need. Next meeting the girls will have an opportunity to make the robots!

This concludes part 1 of our Designing Robots badge. Here you can find part 2 of the badge with our scrub bots!!! 

Designing Robots Part 2

Don't forget to comment below and share what your troop did for the designing robots badge!!

Global Action Award 2016 and free interview printable

Hey Troop Leaders!

We are so excited for the end of the year and summer! I have some really fun activities planned for our girls that I can't wait to share with you all. With Mother's day coming up, I really wanted to plan something special for the female role models in each girl's life so we are throwing a Tea Party!

Of course, I always like to weave in an opportunity for the girls to work on a badge and this one just seemed to fit perfectly. 

This year's theme for the Global Action Award is "Increase girls' access to education". You can find more information on this on the website ( girlscouts.org ) along with the downloadable requirements. For the Daisy, Brownie, and Junior requirements there is an option to interview a special women in their life. That is exactly what we are going to do at this special tea party!

Download here --->>> Global Action Award Interview  <<<---

I will provide some more updates on the event and the craft we prepared at our last meeting soon! It's a really cute cupcake liner carnation corsage! For the time being, I did want to share the interview template we will be using and offer it in a free download!

Enjoy!

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Reasons You Should Start Gardening with Your Kids

As we are approaching the second year for our family garden my kids are giddy with excitement and looking forward to getting out and getting dirty! This past Easter their baskets were filled will all sorts of gardening goodies. The Easter bunny hit it spot on this year! They were filled with a watering can, mini garden gloves, seeds, and gardening tools.

Since

last year

was such a success and the kiddies were so interested, we decided that we are going to give the girls their very own garden bed to putts around in! Gardening is such a wonderful activity and hobby for young kids to take part in and here's why...

Educational

This is a

hands on experience

for the kids to learn where our food comes from and how it's made. Most kids who don't have a clue about gardening assume our food is made at the grocery store. Learning about seeds, plant needs, and how to grow their own food will make plant biology all the more fun!

Teach them about work and Responsibility

Not only do your kids learn about the educational aspects behind gardening but they learn about the hard work it takes to produce the food and the work it takes caring for the plants.

Physical activity

Kids should be out playing anyways but fun in the sun can be constructive as well and gets them moving the muscles they're not used to while sitting in class all day.

It's fun!

Most kids enjoy gardening and getting their hands a little dirty. Why not give them a productive activity that you can join in on as well.

Boosts their self-esteem

My little one felt so proud when the tomatoes and cucumbers started to grow. It's like she accomplished something big, which she did!

Healthy for the family

Growing your own food gives you the reassurance of where it comes from and the chemicals that are used. It also gets kids excited about eating fruits and vegetables because they grew it themselves. My daughter would go out to the garden and pick the green beans and eat them raw. I was shocked!

Spending time with your kids

My favorite reason is I get to spend quality time with my kids. Those early years of wonder are perfect for gardening. It's a hobby that both mommy and my girls enjoy together.

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Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom

One of the things I love most about Disney is that they take every opportunity to plug in the educational factor in almost all that they do. Animal Kingdom is a park that has educational resources everywhere. Since we have been through this park a couple of times, this visit we wanted to try something different.

We came across the Wilderness Explorers upon entrance into the park, just passed the Tree of Life. Wilderness Explorers are dressed up like the scout from the movie UP. You get these cute little handbooks to earn badges/stickers as your travel throughout the park. I was so excited about this idea because it's an introduction for my daughter earning badges for her Daisy Scout year.

After going through the book, I realized that many of the big attractions at the park have an education reference behind them. For example, the Expedition Everest attraction details the aspects of camping in the mountains. As you walk through the line, unless you are fortunate to zip through to the front, you trek on a journey through the Himalayan mountains. One of the badges was specifically related to this as we had to find and check off items one would need to venture out into the wilderness. When we spotted all the items on the list we earned our badge.

Kali River Rapids is another attraction that provides more than just a thrill ride and some scenery. As you walk through this line, you get a little education on the horrors of logging. As you are waiting to board your raft, you are disturbed by the sound of a chainsaw. You think to yourself "why would Disney have such a distraction in their parks?" Once you are on the ride and nearing the end you get a little understanding of where this sound is coming from as your raft through a mock area that is destroyed by logging. It's a can't miss part of the attraction that begs for kids to ask what it's all about.. and they do.

One of my favorite things about this concept is that it opened our family up to areas of the park that we would have normally not have seen otherwise and I'm glad I didn't miss them! This was a great guided way to really dive into the learning experience that the Animal Kingdom has to offer and Bella and Ry loved it! They were also really excited to wear their new safari outfits!

Next time we go we'll be sure to bring along our Wilderness Explorers Handbooks and finish up the badges!!! Have you earned your badges yet with the Wilderness Explorers? 

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Green Kid Crafts Awards

12 weeks to go

I'm really kinda stinking at this blogging thing lately. I've been so occupied by my capstone class and planning our first meeting as a Daisy Scout troop leader that things have fallen to the side. I will be so relieved and excited once I am finally done with school!!

12 Weeks to go!!!!

I only have 12 weeks left to complete my Bachelors degree. It seems like forever ago I was finally going back to finish up after taking a unintended 8 year break from my Associates. It's been about two and a half years since I went back and it's been non stop!

I've been a full time student through....
.... working full time
....giving birth to my second child.
....moving twice
... through 2 vacations
....being a first time home buyer and going through that agonizing process
....my husband being a full time student too

If there is one thing that I have learned through this process it's that you can't put things on hold for school and you can put school on hold because of life. If I can make it through this, anyone can.

There really isn't any excuse.

Children. Work. Buying a home. Vacation. Not ready.

These are excuses I hear everyday as I advise grown adults to complete their education. I work in the education field and I know that people hold themselves back ALL THE TIME!

Don't let doubt, fear, or lack of self confidence talk you out of it.
Go for it!
If I can get my homework done from a hotel room while on our Disney vacation then so can you! Every time you say "I'll start next semester" is just a greater chance you won't start at all. So stop holding yourself back with whatever you want to accomplish in life, not just your education.

12 weeks and the countdown begins! I'm really ready to burst!
Posted on September 29, 2014 and filed under Education.

Teaching reading and BOB Books

When I first thought about homeschooling one of my biggest fears was teaching my child how to read. I was no expert and I had no idea where I would start. Then I came across Bob Books and it has worked wonders.

Teaching my daughter how to read has been a consistent and diligent task but not a difficult one. I'm amazed at how well Bob Books has worked for us. Bella picked it up pretty fast.

READ READ READ

We're not those parents that always read to our kids from when they were in the womb. Yeah we picked up a cute picture baby book here and there but it's not something we did on daily basis. I found that both of my children love when I read to them. They sit quietly around as I read through the picture books we take out from the library. I realized this was a great way to get them to settle down at night, too. No kidding, right?!

Start with Phonics

The one thing that I love about Bob Books is that it starts with phonics. From the first book in the beginner readers box it starts teaching you the sounds letter by letter, slowly incorporating each new sound into every new book.

We have started to incorporate the I Can Read level 1 books and I get so tickled when I see her lips start to sound out a word she doesn't know!

Let them tell the story

Another method I used was looking at the pictures and trying to create a story first. She absolutely got a kick out of this and it really encourages her creativity and imagination.

One of the greatest rewards I have gotten is seeing how proud and accomplished my daughter feels when she is able to get through the whole book on her own.

How we used BOB Books

We started off just reading

Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers

for a couple of days. I wanted her to get the concept of letters and sounds and how they create words. After the first week we started adding a new book every couple of days. Once she was able to read through a book all on her own, we would leave that book out of the rotation. Every now and then we go back and have a review of the old books.

We are just starting

Bob Books Set 2-Advancing Beginners

and she is more excited than ever!

Other activities to encourage reading

Making up their own story

Read lots of picture books to your little one

Work on sight word activities

Phonics puzzles and games

Turn it into a song!

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Butterfly Modeling Clay Craft and Magnet

March is a hit or miss when it comes to the weather in the Midwest. This winter has been unusually cold. It just seems like everything is wet and cold, but I guess that is what spring is about here. 

Since we are just inching to get outside and beat the cold weather blues, we had a little fun with some modeling clay! We got this clay as part of a goody bag on a trip to our favorite zoo last fall. It's been hiding in the top cabinet for some time now. I was hesitant to bring it out for fear of it staining the carpet or furniture... in fact it does!

Since spring is here and we have a great unit study ahead of us, I thought we could kick it off with a fun Butterfly craft.

Despite how hard the clay was, the girls had a ton of fun playing with it and molding it. Mommy had to do some flattening and shaping for them. It was also a great opportunity to introduce symmetry to my kindergartner. Once we were done shaping and decorating, we placed our creations into a bread pan.

Place in glass or metal oven safe dish. Do not microwave. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch thickness.

Allow them to cool completely before handling. They will become hard.

*We attached magnets to the back of them and now they are sitting pretty on the fridge holding up the latest masterpiece by my little ones.

Check back soon for some more spring crafts!

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Free Pre K Princess Pack

I am pretty excited to share this one with you!! This is my first Pre K printable pack. My daughter is obsessed with everything princess and I wanted to create her something she would love!

I would love some feedback, let me know what you think! Download it for free!

Download my version of

Princess Pack

for

free!

Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!!

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Princess Pre-K Pack

I am pretty excited to share this one with you!! This is my first Pre K printable pack. My daughter is obsessed with everything princess and I wanted to create her something she would love!

I would love some feedback, let me know what you think! Download it for free!

Download my version of

Princess Pack

for

free!

I will first verify that you have joined my blog and then I will approve the download! Let me know of your following method (RSS feed, Google Friend Connect, ect...). You can either email me or send me a notification through google doc sharing.

Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!!

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