Category Archives: beans

This Week in Homeschool

We had quite a few hands on experiences in school this week… so I thought I would share about them here… plus it’s been quite a while since I’ve done a week in review.

All of these activities were taken from Adventures in My Father’s World

First of all, in history, we talked about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin. To realize the importance of the cotton gin, we “made cotton”

Step One: take a cotton ball and spread it out so it is more flat than round. Squiggle around some liquid glue and sprinkle little green pieces of paper (seeds) onto it. When the glue has dried, ball the cotton back up.

Step Two:

Picking Out the Cotton Seeds

When the glue has dried, have your child pick out the little green seeds. Let them know that it is important to save the cotton and only remove the seeds.

Step Three:

Cotton Gin

Introduce the cotton gin. In the book we read about Eli Whitney, the cotton gin was described as having teeth like a comb. I gave the kids a comb to remove the seeds and let them tell me the difference in doing it by hand and using the comb. We worked on descriptive words. And… by the way… this kept the kids entertained for almost an hour!

We also have been reading about the pioneers moving west. This week, we read a story about a family who traveled down the Ohio River and met Johnny Appleseed on the way. We talked about food preservation and how the pioneers didn’t have refrigerators or coolers. To emphasize this point, I pulled out the dehydrator I bought at a yard sale a few years back and we dried some apples.


As we sampled the dehydrated apples, we talked about how they were the same and different has “real” apples. The kids were not big fans of the dried ones… that’s okay though… just means more for me!

In science this week, we began talking about living things. In the  Usborne First Enclyclopedia of Science, we looked at cells. It was a very brief and simple introduction to a subject I am sure we will spend more time on later.

After reading about cells, we made a very simple model using jello, beans and a grape.

Start with Jello

Make the jello according to the directions and then place in a plastic baggie. Put it into the fridge to let it set for a couple of hours.

Add a grape and some beans

After the jello has set, squish in a grape for the nucleus and some beans for the organelles (cell parts). The baggie represents the cell wall or membrane.

Throw in some math and spelling and there you have it… our homeschool week!

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Filed under beans, cell model, cotton gin, eli whitney, homeschool, mfw, pioneers, science

Greater Than, Less Than

Do you remember those number cards we used a couple of weeks ago for number recognition? Well, pull them out for our lesson on greater than and less than. This week in math, we are working with numbers again… Mostly comparing numbers and amounts.

All I did for visual aids was pull out the number cards and the beans and drew the greater than/ less than symbol on a card. We practiced by making piles of beans, determining which had more and placing the correct symbol between them. We also used the number cards by placing two cards on the table, putting the correct symbol between them and reading the “number sentence” that we had made. “16 is greater than 1.”

The monkey boy got the hang of the symbols pretty quickly and had no problems with the tasks. Today, Little Sis sat in on the lesson. For her, I drew teeth on the symbol cards and told her my “chompers” always want to chomp the bigger number. She understood for the most part… But she’s three… So, I am not expecting her to fully get it.

They were so excited about math today, they made their own “chomper” cards to use when practicing greater than and less than.

Materials for this lesson cost less than a dollar!

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Filed under beans, cards, greater than, less than, math manipulatives

Number Fun

At the suggestion of the My Father’s World curriculum, I made a set of cards numbered 1-100. Because I didn’t have enough index cards of one color to do them all, I did even numbers on blue and odd on pink.

We have been using these cards this week with our math lessons on number recognition.

Here are three activities that are very easy to implement:

1. Number War- divide up the cards between the players. Everyone puts their pile face down in front of them. At the same time, everyone puts the top card face up. Whoever has the highest card wins the stack. Continue until all the cards have been played.

**you can vary the amount of cards you use to accommodate the age you are teaching (we only used the cards 1-20 this week)

2. Guess My Number: a person gives clues as to what number they are thinking of. The other(s) must guess.

Clues can be simple:
“My number is 1 more than 4”

Or a little tougher:
“My number is what you get when you take 6 away from 10”

3. Bean Count: give you child some of the number cards and a pile of beans- have him or her match the number of beans with the number on the card. Again, you can vary the difficulty depending on the age of the child (our 3 year old had cards 1-8 while the 5 year old had 9-15).

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Filed under beans, cards, games, homeschool, math manipulatives, mfw