Final Friday’s Factoid 33 (by Titus and Joel)

This week we learned more about technology in space and we did more experiments. My favorites were the ones with balloons. We tried to blow balloons up in a bottle but you can’t because of the air pressure. Then we put a balloon on a bottle in ice and the balloon sank in but when we put it in hot water it got bigger. Then we let all the balloons go from the balcony and they flew just like rockets (Joel, 7 1/2).

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I had to do a science project. It was about why the sky is blue. It isn’t really blue it just looks that way because the white light from the sun gets scattered by particles in our atmosphere and you mostly see the blue rays of color. The sky is different colors on different planets. I did an experiment with clear water and with water that had drops of milk in it. The clear water just looked blackish clear when I shined a flashlight on it but the other water looked blue just like our sky.

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Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
Whew! I can’t believe we’re done for the year! I’m super proud of the boys for completing all 33 Factoids. This is the only time they have ever worked with a computer and I think they did a great job. Here is a little progress report on each of them.
Titus: 3 huge accomplishments stick out to me from this year. The first is your diligence in reading through the Bible. I can’t believe you only started in December and you are already half way through Psalms! Thank you for finding those great verses about birds along the way for our memory work next year. The second thing is the bravery you showed last month when you had to go to a “real” school for a whole week to do standardized testing. I know you didn’t like it but we are so proud of how well you did! Finally, I really admire how you committed to playing tennis with the “old guys” 3 days a week and how you stuck with it even when you didn’t feel like it. You are proving to be extremely reliable and I suspect Al might live to see his hundredth birthday in a few months partly because of spending time on the courts with you. God has gifted you in so many special ways and I am daily in awe of the things you can do.
Joel: You have come so far in your reading and writing skills this year. I love to hear you reading to your little brothers and I know they appreciate it, too. You are a great story teller/writer but it is your letter writing that has blessed me the most. Your little notes are treasures to me and you always know exactly the right words to encourage. I have also been super blessed by your ability to make friends and your heart’s desire that they all know Jesus. I pray that the Lord will continue to use you in mighty ways for His kingdom.
Nathan: Some poor school teacher out there is missing out on the sweetest, most eager little student! But I’m keeping you all to myself! Congratulations on finishing not just one, but 2 whole math books and for learning to read whole sentences! Your compassionate spirit continues to bless me and others. Thank you so much for always taking such good care of Mommy when she has been so sick. You are my little ministering angel.
Samuel: You learned to swim and to snorkel before you even turned 4! You are amazing! And your big brothers did a great job teaching you your ABC’s and to count. You are also developing some great artistic talent. I especially like it when your pictures end up on paper and not on you or the furniture. Those are real masterpieces! The “plays” you perform for us keep us all laughing and unlike some of Daddy’s drama students, we never have to tell you to “pro-ject.” I can’t wait to see what you will be accomplishing next year!

Friday’s Factoid 32 (by Titus and Joel)

We are studying about astronauts. There are astronauts in space right now on the International Space Station. We have seen it flying over Hawaii. You can see it fly over your house too if you look it up on the internet (Joel 7 1/2).

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The astronauts in space are mostly doing science experiments. We did more science experiments this week too. We learned about a law called inertia and how fire needs oxygen and how heated up air particles can make things move (Titus, 9).

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)

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To kick off our space travel and technology unit, we took a little field trip to see our neighbors, Dick and Linda. Dick is a retired helicopter pilot and therefore, the closest thing to an astronaut in our neighborhood. And according to my boys, helicopters are almost as cool as rockets and definitely worth learning a thing or two about. So armed with a page full of questions and empty tummies (gotta have room for Linda’s yummy homemade cookies), we headed next door for a lesson in “lift.” This is the second time we have done an interview/lesson with one of our elderly neighbors and it is a practice we will definitely be continuing. Not only do our boys gain valuable information, the older folks seem to genuinely enjoy being put in the spot light for a while and having their wealth of knowledge and wisdom tapped. Next time you are tempted to just Google a subject for answers, think first if there isn’t some older person in your life who might be an “expert” in that field. I guarantee you’ll walk away richer and wiser for the experience and you’ll leave someone else feeling a little more valued. That’s way more than an hour spent surfing the web could ever offer.
(For more on building relationships with seniors click here).

Friday’s Factoid 31 (by Titus, Joel, and Nate)

We started learning about space travel. We learned about rockets and the Space Race with Russia. Russia sent a little dog named Laika into space in a rocket and everyone loved Laika but Laika died because the Russians didn’t know very much about staying alive in space (Joel, 7 1/2).

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We did lots of science experiments this week. We turned water upside down and it didn’t spill and we tried to drink water through straws with one straw in the cup and one straw not in the cup. That doesn’t work at all. We hung balls from a string and blew in between them and they banged together instead of blowing apart (Nate, 6).

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Yesterday was a Solar Eclipse. We used special glasses to watch it and we made a special viewing box that made a picture of the sun on a screen so it wouldn’t hurt our eyes (by Titus, 9).

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Friday’s Factoid 30 (by Titus, Joel, and Mom)


Dark Matter isn’t like anything else. It can pass through us. It is invisible and it is everywhere. Scientists are trying to capture it in a bottle (by Titus, 9).

The galaxies are all spinning too fast and should all fall apart but Dark Matter holds them together and Dark Energy makes them get farther and farther apart (Joel, 7 1/2).

We have spent almost the entire school year studying the visible universe. This week we turned our attention to the other 96%, the part of the universe we can’t see and the most mysterious substances of all: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter acts as an invisible framework that holds the visible properties of the universe in place. Dark Energy seems to be working against gravity to stretch the universe out at a faster and faster rate. We’re posting the first part in a series put out by the History Channel on these amazing new discoveries. I highly recommend looking up the rest of this series. As you watch keep in mind 2 of our memory verses from this year: “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isaiah 45:12) and “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16,17).

Friday’s Factoid 29

Here is the last installment of our Zodiac rhyme. Once again it’s just me, the teacher, as the boys were far too busy SOCIALIZING this morning to get any school-work done (Hmmm, that might be worthy of it’s own post). To see the previous 2 installments click here and here.

Next comes charging the TAURUS bull,
Breathing wrath and powerful,
Vengeful gaze from horned head,
He comes to judge the quick and dead.
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Two twins united in starry form,
GEMINI breeds the perfect storm,
Of Princely Judge come to rule,
And suffering servant with warrior’s tool.
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CANCER represents a fold,
A circling-in, a safe stronghold,
When all God’s people shall be gathered in,
To rest securely in our shepherds pen.
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As written in the Good Book’s end,
The Lion of Judah returns again.
LEO destroys the dreaded snake,
Then ascends on high His throne to take.
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Friday’s Factoid 27 (by all of us!)

Here are the first 4 signs of the Zodiac as the ancient Hebrews saw them and their 3 deacons (smaller,corresponding signs). The illustrations are from Ken Flemming’s “God’s Voice in the Stars.”

Virgo is Mary and Coma is Mary holding the baby Jesus. Centaurus is a man-horse just like Jesus was a God-man. Bootes is the Lord our Shepherd (Sam, almost 4, with Nate’s help, and maybe a little of Mom’s, too).
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Libra is a scale that weighs our sins. Crux is a cross because our sins weighed too much so Jesus had to die on the cross. Lupus is an animal that had to be killed like Jesus. Corona is a crown for Jesus because he died for us (Joel, 7 1/2.)
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Scorpio is a giant scorpion trying to sting the hero who is stomping on his head and wrestling a giant snake called Serpens. Hercules is a hero killing a snake too (Nate, 6).
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Sagittarius is another man-horse and the man part is an archer. Lyra is a harp to praise the hero with. Ara is a fire for Satan to burn in and Draco is Satan getting killed (Titus, 9).
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Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
To help us remember the order and meaning of the 12 signs I am making up a little rhyme as we go along. Here are the first 4 stanzas:

Just like the Gospel writ of old,
The Story in the Stars is told,
Beginning with the Virgin Birth,
VIRGO shows God come to Earth.

Our sins in balance had been weighed,
And God required a Price be paid,
LIBRA shows the Scales, fair,
and the Price that God, Himself would bare.

Mortal conflict would ensue,
Our Hero’s heel would be bruised,
But He would crush SCORPIO‘s head,
And the serpent, too, is trodden, dead.

Now SAGITTARIUS doth come forth,
His double nature, being double worth,
An archer He, both man and beast,
Like our Mighty God who became The Least.

Friday’s Factoid 24 (by Titus and Joel)

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When the moon is new and dark and there are no clouds you can see about 3000 stars in the sky but with a little telescope you can see about 100,000. The brightest star we can see is Sirius. Last night we saw it from our lanai. Jupiter was brighter but it is not a star (Joel, 7 1/2).
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The sky is like an umbrella. The North Star is called Polaris and it is the middle of the umbrella. It never moves but all the other stars turn around it. The Big Dipper points to Polaris so you can always know where it is (Titus, 9).

Thanks AstroBob for the great illustration!

Thanks AstroBob for the great illustration!

Friday’s Factoid 23 (by everyone!)

This week we studied Pluto, which is Sam’s favorite planet, so you can imagine his dismay upon hearing that in 2006 The International Astronomical Union voted to change the definition of a planet so that Pluto would no longer make the list. This caused quite a bit of discussion around here and after reading the various cases for and against Pluto’s “planethood,” the boys came to the following conclusions:

Pluto is a planet because it has 5 moons (Sam, almost 4).
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Pluto doesn’t have a round orbit but Mercury doesn’t either, so if Mercury is a planet then Pluto is one, too (Nate, almost 6).
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Pluto is smaller than our moon but Mercury is smaller than Ganymede [one of Jupiter’s moons] so Pluto is a planet because Mercury is a planet (Joel, 7 1/2).

NASA: "Hubble's latest look at Pluto's moons supports a common birth"

NASA: “Hubble’s latest look at Pluto’s moons supports a common birth”


Plutos’s moons act like they should if they were all created at once not if they were just rocks from the Kuiper Belt that got pulled into the orbit of another big rock (Titus, 9).

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
Our lesson this week went a little out of orbit. While reading about the whole Pluto controversy, I was reminded of a quote by Abraham Lincoln. He asked a colleague how many legs a dog had, to which the answer was obviously 4. “But,” Lincoln continued, “Suppose you call the tail a leg, then how many legs does it have?” Lincoln’s point to the poor chap who answered “5” was that it doesn’t matter what you call a tail, it is still a tail.
When teaching science from a Creationist perspective it’s important that we not just accept the general perspective on things. Even among secular scientists those perspectives are always changing and are often at odds with each other. Pluto is a great example of this. The decision to change the planetary definition was by no means an unanimous one and they’ve discovered a whole lot about the tiny sphere since then to call that decision into question even more (like the fact that it has 4 more moons than they thought it did and those moons are all orbiting in a manner conducive to those of a singular origin which throws all their theories about Charon being a twin planet/nonplanet completely out of orbit). The point is, when I read a bunch of stuff about the Kuiper Belt being the answer to all our Solar System’s evolutionary questions and I see this simultaneous push to make Pluto just a part of that random band of space rocks I get a little skeptical.
In the eternal scheme of things Pluto’s planetary classification may not seem significant. But the Glory of the Creator is of the upmost importance and whatever seeks to steal away His credit has to be called for what it is -a lie. Controversies like this one are often at their heart not so much a matter of semantics but of secularism and the unending pursuit by scientists to shove the Creator off His throne. So, rest assured, Sam, we’re not giving up on your favorite planet so easily!

Friday’s Factoid 22 (by Titus and Joel)

When Mom and Dad were little kids like us, Neptune was the 9th planet from the sun instead of the 8th. That is because sometimes it trades places with Pluto for like 20 years and then they switch back (Joel, 7 1/2).
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Neptune is a very stormy planet. It has a big storm as big as the whole Earth called the Great Dark Spot with winds going 1200 mph. That spot disappeared for a while but then showed up again in a different place. It rains diamonds on Neptune instead of water because of all the methane there (Titus, 9).
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