Thursday, December 29, 2005

Building Bridges

This week during "Christmas break", we've been "studying" bridges. It all started with a class we took at a local museum a few weeks ago. During the class, we learned why people use triangles as part of their bridges. (Triangles are much stronger) We also made a toothpick & clay bridge with lots of triangles.

This week, we've been studying the 3 basic types of bridges: beam, arch, and suspension. We made models of all 3 with simple materials like index cards, straws, and dental floss. We were impressed with how much load the bridges could bear! Photo is of our suspension bridge, which held over 250 pennies before it collapsed.

For our activities, we used these 2 websites: and

We also watched a wonderful video of the collapes of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It was about 2 1/2 minutes long. Unfortunately, I can't find the website now, although I find lots of websites with shorter videos.

And, we watched a couple of videos from our library. Our favorite was called "Big Cable Bridges."

Now we're enjoying seeing what types of bridges we see as we travel around town!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Feliz Navidad

Alex's Spanish class had a Christmas Party this week - Feliz Navidad! The children sang two songs in Spanish, broke open a pinata, ate Mexican snacks, and then had a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday (Feliz Cumpleanos) to Jesus. Alex had really been looking forward to the pinata for a few weeks, and she wasn't disappointed! Each child got two turns to hit and then they got lots of candy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Getting Ready for Christmas

We have less than 2 weeks to go until Christmas. Last week, we "trimmed" the tree. We even bought a new artificial one this year with the lights already "strung." Alex loved decorating the tree and the house! What an extra joy Christmas is when a child is involved...

We've also been doing some holiday baking. Alex helped me make a batch of toffee, some gingerbread men, and some peanut butter fudge. It was my first time to make the fudge & I had to make a second batch after Alexandra went to bed tonight because I messed up the first batch. But, batch number 2 turned out great! We'll be giving some of these treats out to Alexandra's teachers & friends - mine, too!

Tonight we also made and decorated a gingerbread house. This is only our second try, and we thought it turned out pretty well! We bought pre-formed pieces & decorations from our grocery store & it included a mix to make the icing. This icing was WONDERFUL! It was so much like "glue!" It WAS hard to squeeze out, but it kept everything in place. Alexandra even put a gingerbread man INSIDE our house. She told me that she'd never do this if she was the mom - too messy!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Las Posadas

We are using the Evan-Moor "Theme Pockets: December" book this December to study December holidays. Yesterday, we were working on Las Posadas which is celebrated in Mexico. We read a wonderful book, so I just had to share it! It's called Nine Days to Christmas by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida.

Also, today for Las Posadas Alexandra made a luminaria. Here's a picture of her holding it to light the way to the Inn!
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