Class Notes June 5, 2011

Thanks to the parents who helped on our trip to Cornell plantations. We further studied the botany of the new wildflowers, and studied tree shapes and leaf patterns, which took our classroom study into the splendor of nature. Thanks also for the help transporting kids to our property the last two Wednesday afternoons. The children have worked hard on their forts, built a sturdy picnic table and worked on the site, sawing, raking and constructing to help make our sleep-over successful. We stopped at Danby Pond on our way to the property, and we talked about the unique and remarkable feature of that small body of water. I’ve never found the exact location but there is a water divide in that pond, and the water in the south end of the pond heads south through marshes and streams into Catatonk Creek, south into the Susquehanna River, then further south emptying into the Chesapeake Bay, and finally the Ocean. The water at the north end of the pond goes north into Buttermilk Creek, pouring over Buttermilk Falls ( of which it is the source ), north on the inlet,then north on Cayuga Lake and on through the locks into Lake Ontario, the northeast up into the St. Lawrence Seaway and out into the Ocean – The same ocean but almost a thousand miles apart!! all from the same pond in Danby.

With the current historic and tragic tornadoes hitting Missouri and neighboring states, the description given was the Midwest. I looked into some atlases and geography textbooks and found a more descriptive and useful grouping of states. New England, Mid Atlantic, North East Central, North West Central, Southern Atlantic, South East Central, South West Central, Mountain, and Pacific Regions, all bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, The Sierra Nevada and Coastal, Ranges, and the Pacific Ocean. We studied these regions and the three to eight states in each. We all agreed how geographically-sensible these divisions were and worked on memorizing them for a quiz ( as well as the state capitals ).
All of the children contributed five spelling words to a list of 70 words, which we studied and quizzed twice. We also been wrestling with a wonderful collection of Geometric Puzzlers which necessitated reviewing Area calculations,Pi,the Pythagorean Theorem, and other formulas.

We’ve been enjoying Devils and Frogs, a Japanese game; we’ve also been playing some New Games, developed by Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth folks in the sixties, like Hunker Hawser, Smaug’s Jewels, Go Tag, etc. Most of the students are finishing or have finished their woodwork projects, after extensive sanding and three or four coats of food-safe butcher’s wax finish.

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