Friday, November 16, 2012

Paleontology Badge

Will I become a fossil?
Twelve Quest Club members met yesterday to work on their Paleontology Badge. (Paleontology is the science of the forms of life existing in former geologic periods, as represented by fossil animals and plants.) They participated in three activities: the Fossilization Game, extracting "fossils," and learning about the Mesozoic Era.

In the Fossilization Game, students pretended to be an animal or plant of his/her choosing. After acting this out, they pretended to die. A slip of paper drawn from a box told them how they died and if they became a fossil. Some animals were washed away by the current, eaten by an alligator or covered in a mudslide. Two students became fossils during the first round of this game and one during the second. The game is designed to show that not all animals or plants turn into fossils.

Fossil extraction.
Then students practiced their extraction skills on chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate chips in the cookies represented fossils and the toothpicks they used to dig them out represented the various tools paleontologists might use to extract a fossil from the ground. The goal was to extract the chips from one hard cookie and one soft cookie without damaging them. The students experienced the precise detail work that successful fossil extraction requires.

Sorting Mezosoic flora and fauna.
The last section of the badge work involved sorting various flora and fauna into their appropriate period of the Mesozoic Era: Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous.

Our next meeting will be in January, when we will work on our Snow Badge.

Painted Story Quilts

DJ Nash tells about Faith Ringgold.
We had the opportunity to participate in the Art in a Suitcase program at the Capital Arts building on Wednesday. We had 13 students (aged 7 and up) who learned about the artist Faith Ringgold. She is known for her "painted story quilts."  She is also an award-winning author-illustrator of children's books. The instructor, DJ Nash, showed pictures of the story quilts and then read Faith Ringgold's book Tar Beach to the group. She asked the kids what their dreams were for the future. They were each then given a quilt square to design using crayons.

The process.

The younger siblings got to stretch their artistic talents, as well, in the Imagination Station. 
The product.

Everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to more of these programs.

Thank you Capital Arts and DJ Nash!

Meanwhile, at Imagination Station . . .

--by Evie M.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fischer Farms

Hear me roar.
On November 2, 2012, members of JCSHG met at Fischer Farms to enjoy a hayride, pick various pumpkins and gourds, and enjoy the farm animals, hay maze, hay forts, stray teepees, and a very entertaining corn box. We met at noon for the hayride where we picked pumpkins and gourds of various sizes to take home. Then the kids all played all around the farm on their various other attractions. It was a nice fall day for a wonderful get together. I saw smiles on everyone's face. Thank you for a great time everyone!

Climbing in.
--by Amanda M.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Music and Movement Class Wrapup

Duck, duck, goose.
JCSHG offered a music class from late August to October this year. The class was divided into two age groups. One class consisted of ages 7 and up, the other was for those 6 and under. Both groups of children had a wonderful time learning about instruments, rhythm, and moving to music through fun activities and dances.

Rhythm sticks.
For the younger students--
During the five-week session the younger group "shook it up" by dancing like animals, making homemade shakers, and learning about the beat of music using rhythm sticks. However, the one thing that didn't change was ending each class with a fun game of "Wind the Bobbin." Each child enjoyed having a turn as the bobbin. Everyone had a great time and we look forward to the new classes starting after the first of the year.

--by Billie S.
--photos by Jeannette F.

For the older students--
Swing your partner.
Do you know the song "Oh Belinda" or what it means to "honor your partner"? Our older children's music and movement participants do. We had a swinging good time learning some basics of square dancing. We probably need to admit that it was our favorite part. "Oh Belinda" was a favorite to dance to. It was also nice that we were able to teach this dance to the younger class and all do it together when we had some students missing. We did lots of swinging our partners and other fun moves. It wasn't uncommon for everyone to be worn out after some fast-paced square dancing.

Rhythm sticks are another fun way to wear out a group of kids. We did actions with rhythm sticks to the theme songs to "Fame" and "The Smurfs" along with some other songs. Rhythm sticks focus on keeping accurate rhythm with the music while adding in other motions. It could get tricky at times.

In addition to our movement fun, we learned about famous composers and listened to some short pieces of their compositions. Handel was probably the most recognized with his piece entitled "Messiah" which can be heard in commercials, cartoons, and many other TV venues.

Playing a song on the Boomwhackers.
We took on a new challenge during our last class and played songs such as "Old McDonald" on Boomwhackers. Boomwhackers are actual instruments that are tuned plastic tubes. It was a boomwhacking good time.

--by Marie S.
--photos by Evie M. and Jeannette F.