Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Muscles and Mohawks! Week 3 Wonderful Wednesdays!

Week 3 for Wonderful Wednesday was filled with Mohawk Indians, as we dressed up to recreate the Boston Tea Party crew!  It was especially fun for Sarah and I to find a way of taking her long hair and making it into a mohawk (short of cutting it all off)!  I enjoy the costuming each week and finding ways to do various things.  I love a good creative challenge and it's so much fun for me and her!  What might be overwhelming for others, is a source of joy and fun for us.  

Dressing up is definitely an optional thing.  Dress up to whatever level your kids enjoy and you enjoy.  We are extreme over here at Wonderful Wednesdays, but don't feel you have to do the same.  A hat, a paper made costume element or a full costume bought or made; or even just a hairstyle for a week - is enough if your kids are having fun and learning more about that piece of history!  So go for whatever brings joy and fun to your homeschooling day!  
We began our morning with lapbooking through the current week's CC memory work and busting out in song while doing our hand motions through the timeline as well.    
We dove into the science of the muscular system this week.  I began our study with a few facts about muscles.  We talked about the three types of muscles and discussed the difference in function and the appearance differences under a microscope for each one (which they looked at later under a real microscope).  
The first activity we did was to figure out how much our muscles weigh.  To calculate, you weigh the child and multiply the number by .40.  The muscles in our body account for about 40% of our total weight!
Then we tried the muscle memory experiment.  To do this experiment the child stands against the wall and pushes their arm against the wall like the are trying to push it out.  Push for 30 seconds as hard as they can and then step away and let their arms both relax.  The arm that was pushing the wall will slowly lift up!
We tied some Cycle 2 with Cycle 3 by talking about gravity's affect on muscles and then specifically, the center of gravity muscles need to help us with balance.  The kids were instructed to sit in a chair with their back straight up against the back of the chair and their feet touching flat on the floor and arms crossed.  Then they were told to stand up but they could not shift their body weight forward by bending at the hip or tilting their head and shoulders forward.  It is impossible to leave the chair without the center of gravity shifting for the muscles to be able to do their work!
Next we did a demonstration of how muscles alternate with contracting and resting.  The kids lined up and then they alternated standing up if they were the muscle contracting and squatting down if they were the muscle resting.  Muscle fibers alternate between states of contracting and resting.  
A discussion about muscle fatigue came into play and then the kids all instructed to do the plank to see how long it would take before their muscles would fatigue holding that position.  They held it as long as they could until their muscles began to shake and they reached muscle fatigue.
We made a model this week, of hand muscles that worked when you pulled on the strings.  
To demonstrate that our muscles are always alternating between a state of resting and contracting, we did an experiment with a paperclip and a knife.  The kids unfolded the paperclip and then made a V shape with it instead (really was more like a U).  Next, they put the paperclip on the knife and tried to hold it as still as possible with their arm off the table holding the clip just touching the table.  The paperclip would then "walk" it's way down the knife as their muscles alternated contracting and relaxing!  The more still they tried to hold the knife up, the more the paperclip would walk.
We then took to examining a piece of real muscle!  I had purchased a small amount of beef brisket (this cut of meat is very easy to see the muscle fiber in) and the kids were given gloves, knives and a piece of the meat to examine with their magnifying glasses.  They looked at the muscle fibers and pulled them apart and examined them thoroughly!
They were each given an opportunity to view a piece of muscle tissue under the microscope as well.
One more opportunity was given to the kids to explore how their muscles help maintain the center of gravity.  They were given a ruler and told to balance it on top of their two index fingers and then using one finger.  They noticed how their muscles compensated to always maintain the center of gravity so it wouldn't fall.
 To end our day, the kids played a review game with the silly voices cube.
All in all, it was a Wonderful Wednesday!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting - we do try to whoop it up! LOL :)

  2. I LOVE IT! thank you for sharing this
    I just started Classical with my 5 yr old and I really needed this.

    1. So glad it encouraged you - have lots of fun at that age with your little one and CC! There is so much you can do that brings it to life for little ones! Blessings - Colleen