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As I have worn the hat of Summer School Teacher for 2 of my grandchildren this summer, I tried to do a lot of hands-on learning with them to keep things interesting! I am a big believer in whole language and integral learning. Today I am going to share a theme that was very instructional, easy to find resources for and something that my grandkids really enjoyed! Here are the parts to the lessons about Plants and Chlorophyll.
The Science Part:
This could also be called the Science, Reading and Vocabulary part. The kids had to learn vocabulary words such as Chlorophyll and Photosynthesis. We kept it pretty basic because my grandson just finished 1st grade. But they learned that almost all plants have chlorophyll and that is the chemical that gives them their green color. They learned that chlorophyll is necessary to help plants obtain energy from light. There are many online resources that will help you make this lesson as in-depth as you would like. Here is a great video that teaches photosynthesis.
The reading workbook that I was using for my grandson happened to have a selection about plants that tied in with our science lesson.
One related activity that we did was have my grandchildren help plant cantaloupe in our garden and watch them grow. As the little green sprouts came up, they knew that the sun was necessary to help them grow, as well as the water and the soil.
We also took them on a fun field trip! (It was mostly for fun, but we got some learning in there as well!) We went up to a creek area in the mountains.
We went swimming and hiking and my husband pointed out the different varieties of plant-life in the area. There were trees like the Arizona Sycamore, Cedar Trees and Cottonwood. I had my grandchildren collect leaves of all different varieties to bring home for the next part of our lesson.
Art added to the Science!
One way of studying leaves and chlorophyll is to remove the chlorophyll from the leaf. When plants stop producing chlorophyll, the green color also leaves (pun not intended) and the leaf's other pigments show, such as the red, orange and yellows seen in the Fall. There are chemical and heat methods that will remove all of the chlorophyll from a leaf and show the color it will be in the Fall. We did not use one of those methods. But, we did remove some chlorophyll from our leaves by pounding them with a hammer onto cotton fabric.
We didn't pound our leaves until the next day after our trip to the creek. Some of them were a little wilted, some had actually dried out! It was interesting to see which leaves would give off chlorophyll and which ones wouldn't. Obviously, the dry leaves didn't and we talked about why that was. Also, the green shades varied from one type of leaf to another. The pounding of leaves was loud and fun!
In my stash, I found the perfect fabric to back these leaf prints to make them into placemats. I cut them out a little larger than the white fabric so that we could make a border of the fabric on the front of the placemat, framing the leaf prints.
Sewing a simple straight stitch all around the border was a great way to begin to teach my grandchildren sewing. Even my 7 year old grandson did some of the stitching on the machine, but it made him nervous so he only did one side. My almost 9 year old granddaughter, on the other hand, loved sewing and completed 3 of the 4 placemats. (I began by demonstrating on a couple of the sides the way to hold and guide the fabric.)
The placemats came out pretty sweet, and when my granddaughter describes them to people, she tells them that they made them with chlorophyll! So, I am really happy that she can remember to say and use that word!
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One of the things that I have noticed during this pandemic is that yeast has been in short supply on store shelves. Fortunately, I have plenty of yeast to see us through the next few months if bread should become harder to get in the stores. The question is, what if I were to run out of yeast, what would I do? This pandemic is certainly making me rethink my state of preparedness. One family member, (Anita), sent me a link about how to make yeast with potato water and suggested I give it a try. Since I had already been thinking about it, and because I had just sprouted wheat and ground some new flour, I decided to try to catch some wild yeast with potato water and bake some potato, sprouted wheat bread.
The recipe Anita’s friend had given her, and she passed onto me looked something like this:
1-1/2 c potato water
1 c flour
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix together and leave over night in a warm spot. The next morning it will be bubbly and smell like yeast.
Simple, right!? So, I boiled some potatoes and reserved the water. I also reserved the mashed potatoes for the bread itself. I mixed it all together (I used sprouted wheat flour) and lightly covered it and set it out over night. Next morning, no bubbles, no smell.
I decided to Google it and see what I was missing. Some of the things I found used the potato as well as the water. (People making Vodka said this worked great…) I did find methods using only the water, but the result looked thicker than mine. Hmmm. I decided that I needed more flour and sugar, so I fed my first mixture. I added about ½ of a cup of flour and another Tablespoon of sugar. Success! The next morning I had bubbles!
It still didn’t look as bubbly as the ones I saw on YouTube though, so I decided to let it sit and catch more yeast for another day. I fed it a little more, adding some warm water, too, so that it wouldn’t get too thick. The next day, the bubbles were back, but they seemed about the same as before. Maybe a few more, but less bubble than the ones I had seen on other sites.
I must interject here that it appears that I am not a very patient person. I didn’t think that I was going to have to wait 3 days to be able to bake bread with this method. So, at this point, I decided to go for it and try a small batch of bread. I am not giving you a printable recipe like I usually do because it is by no means perfected. But, I will give you what I have done so far. If you see where I need to improve to make this bread better, please let me know in the comments.
Sprouted Wheat Potato Bread made with Wild Yeast
(That is the best title I can come up with)
In a mixing bowl, put together:
1 cup potato yeast starter
¾ c warm water
1 c sprouted wheat flour
1 c mashed potatoes
Mix these ingredients together and let them sit for about 4 hours or overnight. (Overnight would be best, but I couldn’t wait any longer.)
Stir down the sponge and add:
1/3 c warm water
1 tsp salt
¼ c coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
4 c sprouted wheat flour
Mix with the dough hook for about 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add more flour. I also turned the dough out onto a floured board and kneaded it for 10 minutes more by hand. I added about 1 c more flour throughout this process making the total amount of flour about 5 cups.
Place the dough in the bowl and allow to rise for about 2-3 hours.
(Mine didn’t rise very much, but I pressed on. Hopefully yours will double!)
Divide the dough into 2 well greased loaf pans and allow to rise again. This time I let them rise overnight!
In the morning, they had actually risen quite a bit! Not as much as I would have liked, but an acceptable amount.
Bake the bread in a 375 degree oven for about 45 min. I baked mine for 40 at first. They weren’t quite done. I put one back in for 10 min. The crust was crunchy, but the inside was soft and dense.
I had read one baker who said not to use sprouted wheat in this type of bread because it would likely be doughy. Mine was a little too doughy, but I think if I had put a slice in the top of each loaf like you do sourdough, it would have help with that, letting steam out and perhaps getting a better rise while baking. Any thoughts on that?
The bread does have a little sour sharpness to it. I toasted it because it seemed too doughy. Then with butter and Blackberry Lemon Marmalade, it tasted really good.
Here are my notes of ideas for improvement:
Here are things I learned:
Guys it’s August and the most exciting thing is happening. On August 21st of this year there will be a total solar eclipse visible in North America. This hasn’t occurred since 1979! So it’s something special to see for sure. As a former science teacher, I would be remiss if I didn’t share this news and how to view it with you guys!
The path of totality crosses diagonally across the US from Madras, Oregon to Columbia, South Carolina. The path is about 70 miles wide where you can see the eclipse in totality. Now at this point unless you’ve already made arrangements to get into the path of totality it’s going to be quite difficult to do so, but the eclipse will be at least partially visible from many places on Earth. If you’re wondering when or if it will be visible from your patch of Earth NASA has a map that can tell you that information for any place in the world! Check it out!
Now if you want to view the eclipse DO NOT just go outside and STARE AT THE SUN! Staring at the sun without proper protection will ruin your vision. Regular sunglasses will not protect you vision. There are a few options you can use to safely view the eclipse.
The easiest, though perhaps not as exciting, is the projection method. This is a way to indirectly view the eclipse, so you won’t actually be looking at the sky. But it is safe to do.
For this you will need
In one of the sheets of paper poke a pin hole. Now project the image of the sun onto the other paper through the hole. It may look like just a pin prick of light but it’s actually an image of the Sun! This is the same science as a camera. You are focusing the light and the image is being projected on the 2nd page. If you’d like a more detailed, but still easy to understand explanation I found this site that explains how it works.
Another popular method that is safe is using special glasses that allow you to directly view the eclipse without harming your eyes. You will need to make sure you order ones that are CE and ISO safe certified.Steve Spangler is on NASA’s list of approved vendors selling solar eclipse glasses. They sell the glasses in packs of 15 and are offering free shipping! So it’s a great package to order to throw a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party! Order by the 15th of August to make sure you get the glasses on time. NASA has information on how to use these glasses to safely view the eclipse. You should only remove the glasses when the eclipse is in totality. Read more about them at NASA's website here.
I’m so excited about this eclipse! Hopefully you guys get to view it in some way.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!