Class Notes September 2013

 Autumn unfurls it’s flags in the wind… We’ve been studying water, beginning with many experiments involving water, it’s qualities, and properties. We’ve drawn diagrams of every experiment in our Science book, and written up in simple scientific method some of them; i.e. Materials, Procedure, Observations, Conclusions. Others we’ve added to the diagram the Conclusion, or scientific reasoning informing our observations. In this way we were able to do more actual experiments, and still have a level of academic rigor that would enthuse them but not overwhelm them with writing. We did a colorful drawing of the Water Cycle, and followed with an demonstration in class of the actual process, evaporation, condensation and precipitation. 
   Another direction to our studies was local waterways,  (and eventually history, botany, ornithology through those water bodies.)  We looked into some wonderful NY canoe streams and rivers and thought highly of the possibilities on the Clyde River trip; not only is there fantastic lagoon-like birdwatching of some 230 species, but the trip starts at Lock 27 with a chance to get our canoes lowered in a lock. We read an Iroquois folk tale “Drop Star” , or Kayuta, that took place at a lake nearby that got it’s name from the story – Lake Cayuta; we’ll try and go there. This coming week, if the weather is condusive, after studying water seeking it’s own level, which informed a couple earlier experiments, we’ll follow our local water downstream: starting at Monkey Run, at the end of Turkey Hill Rd., the nearest access to Fall Creek, then on to Flat Rock, ( exploring turbulence, etc. ) then to the Wildflower Garden creek access,on to Beebe Lake dam then on to the Suspension Bridge at Cornell, then on to Ithaca Falls, then to the suspension bridge over Fall Creek by Stewart Park and Newman GC, then out into the lake at the lighthouse.
   The children were enjoying probability studies with dice. With hundreds of throws by the class of three dice with the possibility being 3-18, the mean being 10.5, after tallying all throws in the chaos of possibility, our average throw was 10.7! The children enjoyed working on their geomtric number boards, creating diverse geometric string drawings.
   We start our mornings with a movement study of the four, eight and sixteen directions and geometric shapes based on the number of students, in the big room and some games; then we recite a Navaho rain chant and play recorder. We’re starting slowly for those just beginning and learning to listen to one another in recitation and recorder.
   In Music we’ve been learning American history through it’s folk music, and playing with multiple instruments and percussion in an ensemble, hootenanny style. In Creative Writing we worked on stories, in Drama we acted out dialogues, in preparation for playwriting. In Geography we played Borderline and acted out U.S.State charades. In Art we’ve worked on gesture drawings and quick sketches with the students taking turns to pose, and sculpture with some nice modeling clay we ordered. Thanks for being part of the Finnstitute Experiment!
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