One day they recorded sensory observations. It seems the dog "tastes" like "the couch." Based on that, I guess there's some scientific experimentation, too.
Another favorite: socks "smell like sour milk."
The next day, we spun into research writing. Our Wild China video showed kelp farmers and algea-eating jellyfish. The kids each took one subject and Googled some facts. Nate drew diagrams of facts (this = that) with squares around the text to distinguish it.
We learned kelp is an algea that provides iodine, and iodine is responsible for regulating hormones in the thyroid. Asian cultures had almost no deficiency of iodine due to their sea-based diets, but Europeans had it so often, women were painted with goiters as a sign of beauty.
Madelyn took the initiative to use Google Images for the animals who eat algae (her topic) and illustrated her report. Note the "!" near the algae--apparently it knows it is on everyone's menu.
On our Thursday, I gave the kids some options: take the sensory observations and make a story, a poem or a song with them.
Nate surprised me by writing a poem.
Poetry, despite it's fluffy reputation, is a form of writing that requires discipline and precision. There's a rhythm to it, so you can't slap down anything and have it work out well.
He would be too embarrassed having it published here, but the best line included his contrasting the dog's smooth coat with a "bumpy pumpkin," which is both a subtle rhyme and a vivid image.