Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Measuring the Statue of Liberty & Learning about the Flag - Government Week - Smart Summer Challenge

Starting in September, the girls will begin a multi-year unit study about the United States.  I purchased the curriculum Cantering the Country which addresses not only geography, but a variety of other subjects (e.g., science, art, history, current events, home economics). 

During the summer, we're participating in the Smart Summer Challenge and the second week focuses on government.  Doing a week-long government study is a wonderful preview of what we will be doing in a couple of months. 

This week, we're going to explore the national government and some key national symbols since we will be exploring each of the states in greater detail beginning in September. 

Sunday - Today the girls learned about the American flag.  They did a worksheet called "Math Flags" which challenged them to describe the flag using numbers, shapes, patterns, and one other way related to math.

Olivia and Sophia coloring a picture of the American flag.

Monday - In addition to celebrating the Fourth of July, we learned about the Statute of Liberty.  The Statue of Liberty was presented by France to the people of the United States in 1886.  It was given as a gift to symbolize freedom in France, America, and around the world.  It became a national monument in 1924. 

The girls measured different parts of the Statue of Liberty and found out:

One arm is 42 feet long - wider than the width of our home (from the dining room, through the living room, and into the family room). The Statue of Liberty's arm would start at a one window and stick out about four feet on the other side of the house.

The nose is 4 feet 6 inches - taller than Olivia.

Sophia's hand goes up to 4 feet 6 inches
on the tape measure -
making the Statue of Libery's nose taller than Olivia.

The mouth is 3 feet wide - about the length of Montague when he's laying down on the floor.

Montague letting the girls measure him from head to toe.
He's almost as long as the Statue of Liberty's mouth.

The index finger is 8 feet long - that's a very big finger compared to their own.

The girls holding up their index fingers in comparison to
how big the Statue of Liberty's index finger is at 8 feet long.

The eyes are 2 feet 6 inches across - significantly larger than Olivia's eye...who (by this time) was done with the measuring activity and ready to move on to something else.

Olivia pointing to her eye.
Quite small compared to
the Statue of Liberty's 2 foot 6 inch eye!

So...we talked about how the Statue of Liberty wasn't always green.  She use to be copper.  Gradually, the statue changed color over time.

To demonstrate this, Sophia and Olivia each chose two pennies - one shiny one and the other a dull one.

Picking two pennies each from the coin pile.

Each had their own bowl filled with water and some vinegar, paper napkin, and two pennies.  I had them fold the napkin in a square, place it in the bowl, and soak it with vinegar.

I asked them what they thought would happen to the pennies if they put them on the paper towel.  Sophia thought "they will get shiny and the vinegar will clean them" and Olivia thought her pennies "will get clean."  They put the penny on the vinegar-soaked paper towel.

The pennies sat overnight, and then the girls lifted their pennies the following morning.  The facedown side of each penny had parts that turned a blue-green - just like the Statue of Liberty.

Olivia and Sophia turning the pennies over
to look at the reaction the pennies had with the vinegar.

The vinegar reacted with the copper in the pennies, causing them to turn green.

Parts of the penny are blue-green in color now.

A similar change caused the Statue of Liberty to change color over time.  In this case, weather and pollution caused the statue to turn green.

1 comment:

Callie said...

Fantastic ideas! My oldest loves to measure things, and would love these activities. (stopping by from the weteach summer challenge link party)