Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kite Capers

Lately in the great state of Louisiana, we have had some very blustery days. It's that time of year. So what better way to spend some great blustery days than to learn about kites and go fly them?! So, for the last few weeks, the kids and I have been using the Download N Go unit, Kite Capers, and having just all kinds of fun!

When I told the kids we were going to do this unit, they were really excited! But, we decided, for a change of pace, instead of doing the lapbook along with the unit, we would simply do the unit study alone. So I didn't print out any of the lapbooking templates this time. But if you wanted to do the lapbook with the study, you would have some great options for your lapbook making. 

There are pages for all ages included in this unit study, and everything was really engaging! For starters, we watched the really great video links that were included in each days lesson. I had no idea how many different kinds of kites there were, nor did I realize there were so many kite festivals! Britches and Little Man really enjoyed watching all of those!

The days of this unit were laid out great. They were:
Day 1: What Is a Kite?
Day 2: The History of Kites
Day 3: Kite People and Places
Day 4: Science Secrets of Kites
Day 5: Goodies and Gadgets of Kites

I went to our library and checked out a HUGE stack of kite books and books that taught how to build a kite. The librarian looked at me pretty funny as she was check out my books. Thankfully, they know we homeschool, so she at least understood why I had them! 

Each day, Britches and Little Man looked at the links provided in the unit, read books, and watched videos about how kites are built, and each day they spent time designing and building their own personal kites. Check out some of their designs.

The first kite Britches made was a box kite. Since we had read a book from the library that was set in China, and since kites originated in China, she decided to make some Chinese symbols on the sides of her box kite. Granted, we don't know any Chinese symbols, so I'm fairly certain these don't stand for anything. But she had already put them on her kite when I realized what she was doing, so we weren't able to go look online for anything that really meant something. Of course, since you probably don't know Chinese, either, you probably never would have noticed if I hadn't told you. So there you go.

Little Man decided to take a different approach for his first kite. He loved watching the video of the man flying about 10 kites all connected, so he designed his after those kites. He got his ruler and pencil, and he drew out and painted several diamond kites. After they had dried, he cut them out and put a string through all of them so they would be connected. And he even took small dowel rods and glued them on the backs for the frame.

Little Sister wanted in on the fun, of course, because the two older ones were painting! So she painted a picture of a kite.

And Baby Girl just wanted to have her picture made. She saw everyone else getting camera attention, and she needed some, too.

We learned in the DNG unit that Alexander Graham Bell was known, not only for his telephone invention, but also for his KITE! So we tried our hands at making a model of Bell's kite. I thought I took a picture of the finished product, but apparently I neglected to do so. And when Britches took hers outside the other day to try it out, the wind destroyed it. So obviously, it was not the strongest kite ever. Of course, we did make them with straws, which is what the instructions said to do, but, since I couldn't find regular straight straws at the store, we had to settle for bendy straws. Let me tell you, when the wind hits those, they just bend right away. Bottom line: if you want to build a kite, don't use bendy straws, and be sure to take a picture of it BEFORE you head outside!

On one of the days, we studies the weather. You really need to know about the wind if you plan to fly a kite. I had no idea that there was actually a scale that people used to judge the wind speed. So, after we checked out the link and learned all about this wind scale, I had the kids design their own version of the same scale to keep in their notebooks. Each of their scales has the classifying number, the miles per hour for that number, and a picture of what the wind would look like at that speed. I told them I expected at least those three things. But Little Man went a little beyond what I asked and drew a few extra pictures.

There were so many more things that we did that I just don't have time to tell you. BUT, you should go check out this great Download N Go unit for yourself. Go grab yourself a copy and have some fun with your own kids making some great kites and learning all about them. Be sure to check out the fun that other homeschoolers had with this unit, too!

~I was given a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given.

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