Sunday, March 31, 2013

Adventures in U.S. History Week 6

Little Guy practicing his letters in a pan of salt.
This week we learned more about the early American settlements, how they built their homes and what sorts of foods they ate.  We investigated yeast and made butter!

My kids are not unfamiliar with yeast since I bake bread every week, but I don't think I had ever let them really examine it or explained what exactly it does.  This week in science, we did an experiment to show that gas (carbon dioxide) is produced by growing yeast.

The kids worked together to mix yeast and sugar in warm water.  Then I carefully poured it into a glass pop bottle and stretched a balloon over the neck.

We set it aside in a warm place while we worked on some of our other lessons.  We checked in on it just in time to see the balloon "sproing!" straight up!

Both kids were so excited and really enjoyed the whole experiment.  Miss M recorded our procedure and observations on a lab sheet and added it to her Adventures notebook.

Our other notable activity this week was making butter.  We had read in our history texts about the Dutch pilgrims bringing cows, horses, and pigs over from the Old World and discussed how that would allow them to eat different foods than they had available before.

Each kid had a pint canning jar with two (clean!) marbles.  I filled each jar about halfway with whipping cream and let them shake them for 15-20 minutes.

They each got tired a couple times, but I pitched in to keep the shaking going while their arms rested.  Miss M seemed to find it necessary to shake her entire body, not just the jar.

It was a magical moment when the butter and buttermilk separated!  We added sea salt to taste and enjoyed it on some of my Country Buttermilk Bread.  Yummy!!!

Miss M thought I should make all our butter.  But I told her maybe just for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Miss M had a dictation from Primary Language Lessons on Thursday.  She complained about it being too long (5 sentences), but she did it and did it well.  We will be having dictation every Thursday.

We've been getting lots of postcards for our 50 States Postcard Exchange! It's so much fun to learn about all the states.  Both of the kids spend a lot of time looking at the map and counting the postcards.  And it's always fun when we get a chance to stop by our post office box at the post office!

In Bible this week, we are memorizing a new verse, John 6:35.  Miss M added it to our Jesus bulletin board.  We also read about Jesus feeding the 5000 and about why bread represented Jesus' body at the Last Supper.

We worked hard and finished up our lessons a bit early this week because my mom was coming to visit.  She always brings fun activities for the kids: this time they made Easter sugar cookies.  She went on a nature walk with Miss M to a nearby pond where they saw a Blue Heron!  

We're looking forward to another fun week of adventure!

Our adventures from previous weeks:


  1. I always enjoy your posts! We did the yeast experiment, but unfortunately it was a flop! It wasn't the first time we'd tried it, so at least they had seen it done right before! I was just wondering, are the lab sheets something you made yourself? I have never used lab sheets with MFW.

  2. Yes, I made up a couple different lab sheets before we got started with MFW. "Observation" ones and "experiment" ones. I printed out a few of each and keep them in a folder so I can just grab one when we need one. Miss M really enjoys adding pages to her notebook, and I like highlighting with her what the whole experiment was about as we go or right afterwards.

  3. Love making butter with the kids! We've done the balloon experiment but it was different items

    1. Your experiment looks like fun too! I'm sure we'll be doing more balloon experiments. It's fun to be able to see the effects of gas with it.