We are observing the inevitable February Slump this year by taking things a little slower in school . . . spreading three weeks out over four . . . just enough to allow for those mornings when getting out of bed doesn't seem to be an option. (Although, in the usual perversity of things, if I let the children know that the next day is off school, they will be up hours before dawn, though I can barely get them up by eight-thirty on a school day.)
Mostly school is going quite well. Deux and Duchess are doing Year 5 of Ambleside Online, which is pretty much awesome. But AO is in the process of revamping their science selections (I am *so* excited about what we'll be doing in future years) and Year 5 hasn't been revised yet. When my students kept complaining that their anatomy book was too easy--not a common complaint with AO selections--I decided to try to find something else.
We wound up with The Way We Work by David Macaulay, which they tackled with enthusiasm based on their affection for The Way Things Work, which Deux took to bed with him for many years. It was a good thing they were enthusiastic, because much of it was over my head, especially with the biochemistry up front. But with the help of some Kahn Academy videos, we made it through and are on to large body systems which are a little easier to envision.
Still, just reading and sketching was a little dry, so I was happy to come across an old human biology experiments book at the library sale rack--one of those older ones that dates from the days when any determined youngster with a garage and the dangerous chemicals readily available at his neighborhood hardware store could unlock the mysteries of the universe. So now we have some supplemental experiments to do.
To go with breathing, I thought we could start with a simple experiment that involved exhaling through a tube into an inverted jug filled with water. The idea was that your breath would force out the water and then, by measuring how much empty space you created, you could estimate your lung capacity. This sounded like fun. And it was. Especially when I ignored the, "Do this in the kitchen sink" instructions and the water fleeing the force of Duchess's lungs erupted over the counter, dirty dishes, and floor.
"And this, children," I said, "Is why your mother is a lawyer, not a scientist."
Deux, with the reflex of young students, asked, "Then why do you make *us* study science?"
"Because it is awesome," I said. And he didn't argue.