Hunter Park Kindergarten

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Some other things

On a cold morning 3 buckets of hot water, a splodge of dishwashing liquid and swishing a toy boat leads to lots of fun. Harry came to visit us with Becky, spending the day hopping about on children's hands.

Second helpings please. (Edit this isn't Harry, he went home after kindergarten, a very happy bird.)

We picked our peppers from the garden and and Adrianne helped the children to stuff those capsicums full of mince, rice and tomato sauce. Then they made meatballs with the left overs. Yum.


After building his fire engine Sam built a roller. He had detailed plans showing all the parts. I wrote the names on the plan for him as he showed them to me.
Roller finished now he's built a ute. Four exhausts and hand made wooden wheels on the back.

Henry got inspired and decided a motor bike with a real engine is the thing. After our email around for more wheels, from old and broken toys, Henry brought in the back end of his old trike and we started on the bike. Like Sam he drew up plans, in this case from a picture he found in a magazine. Henry tells me mum and dad are looking for a motor off their old barbeque. "It should be just right." Mum says though that they haven't found it yet. I told her we're hoping to get the son of one of the teachers, at the kindergarten the next town over, to pay us a visit. Last year he made a miniature motorbike at college and raced it.

After hitting the bump, Henry had to make some modifications, upgrading the suspension and changing the bamboo axles out for metal ones. Fortunatly the hack saw let us convert the axle off his old trike. Since then he's taken it home and added on a brace under the seat, making a strong triangle to hold him up.
Ollie meanwhile continues investigating the Strandbeast with Xander. We brought the motor but there was not enough grunt, it couldn't turn the legs. So I brought some gears, a little one on the motor turning a big one on the central axle to increase the torque (grunt). We got ten times more grunt.
Better but it still needed work more torque. Notice how it catches.
A quick bit of lunch break research showed putting a little gear on the same axle as the big one, meant it could turn another bigger one, multiplying the effect of the two sets of gears. I stuck three extra gear sets on, we now had 250 times more grunt and 250 times less speed. But now it's legs kept collapsing and jamming when we tried to get it to walk on it's own. Ollie suggested wheels on the feet as he'd seen one on youtube that had wheeled feet. It was a great idea but it's still staggering not walking. Looks like we'll have to build version 3 in wood, or make the joints stronge and more rigid.
These three axles are turning at different speeds as we're gearing down the motor to decrease speed and increase torque.

The blue gear (hidden far left) is turned by the motor. It turns the yellow gear (left most). That yellow gear is on the same axle as the blue gear (1), which turns the yellow gear (1, 2). The yellow gear 1 is on the same axle (2) as the blue gear (2). The blue gear 2 turns another big gear and so on.

Welcome to Sharon

A big welcome to Sharon our new teacher, already making a great impact.

Apple Crumble

What a quiet day, 1:4 ratios. Time for a walk, after a few quick phone calls, down the hill to our apple tree. The flowers have gone, the little apples have got round and ripe and ready.

round and round the apple tree, pick up the apples 1,2,3.

They're quiet high.

Adrianne knows all about apples. "These are gala's, these are the best organic apples I've seen."

Up the hill to grandma's house.

Into the box, what a good crop this year. "Can I have an apple please?"
"Yes. "

Let's make an apple crumble. Peel and stew the apples.
add some orange.

Pop on the top.

Eat up the apple crumble yum!

Nice apple Crumble Adrianne.

A visit from the Dentist

John Jukes our local dentist came to share an important message with us after I visited him in the holidays. He explained, no matter how many times you brush each day, if you miss a spot you'll get decay.

What happens is plaque builds up on our teeth and in our mouth over a 48 hour period. Every time we eat sugary foods, the plaque bugs excrete acid. The acid eats out the minerals in our teeth. It takes an hour after eating sugar or drinking a sugary drink, for our saliva to neutralise the acid. Only after that hour does our saliva get a chance to remineralise our teeth.
When we brush our teeth we often miss the same spots. Disclosure tablets help us learn if our technique is working, they help us spot what we miss and practise getting it right. It's a lot easier to unlearn bad habits when you're younger. Looks like I missed a few spots and I only just brushed!

A small head and soft bristles are what you want with a flexible neck. Press the brush right in and just wiggle it. You don't want the tips of the bristles just sliding across the top. You'll also need to move your jaw over for the back teeth. Even with electric brushes, bad technique = missed spots.
Bad technique, no matter how many times a day, leads to decay.

Press that brush in. You may want to try out a brush on the kindergarten model to see how it is best used.

People often get a line of plaque in the gaps and just above the gums.

Press it in, don't slide it across!

A big thankyou to John Jukes for donating his time, a box of toothpastes and disclosure tablets and for giving us a great evening.

Thank you to the Eleven families that came, a total of 20 adults and 29 children, and also to those who let us know the couldn't make it because of the athletics prize giving.

The shared tea before hand was a great success and many new families swapped and shared stories and we got a chance to exchange ideas and information.

Afterwards we introduced the kidsmart computer and briefly shared it possibilities with everyone.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Ollie's Strandbeast

With a lot of teacher input (my brain will never be the same), Ollie making lots of triangles, counting out parts and testing structures we've managed to make one that has the action right after finding rough instructions with pictures online.

Now to make it walk on it's own. We brought a motor, but it didn't have the grunt, so maybe we need to play with some gears. Ollie's gone home with mum to look at her mountain bike and learn about how they work.

Xander loves this now we got it walking on the stand and lots of others are, like me, fascinated by the motion.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lots of things with legs

Time to catch up on all the busy things we've been doing with things with legs.
Back in week five Jo found this beautiful tunnel web spider and her nest while hunting cockroaches.
Then James brought in some caterpillars after an emergency call from his mum to say all his swan plants at home had been eaten.

A successful transplantation.

Then this stag horn beetle (thankyou Andrew Crowe "which New Zealand insect") turned up in the light trap, with it's antler like antennae that fold up and two rhinoceros horns.

By week 6 we were attempting to make strandbeasts of our own based on Knex designs from the internet. Ollie told me he'd watched it at home millions of times, mum confirmed this and showed us how Ollie animatedly describes them. We all had a go at walking like them. I had a go and making one with the children helping to make the parts and me trying to figure out where they go. Prototype 1 sort of worked, we're now (wk 8)working design 2 which Ollie says I'm not allowed to finish till he gets back. With one leg on it already looks very promosing and I'm certainly learning a lot about building with knex. We may need to buy a motor.
Here's the photo Ollie took (I've cropped it.)

Ollie and Xander test out version 1.
Here's a gum emperor caterpillar that came in, now released onto a tree for the final stages as it kept wandering of the leaves we'd picked.

Jack brought in a male large brown vagrant spider in week 8, I showed him how to be a log not a bird so the spider could walk on him without biting. My favourite spider don't try to pick them up pincer style or they probably will bite and it'll hurt, instead just let them walk on you.
If they get sacred they raise their front legs in warning and may poo (white). These are good signs to put them down, otherwise a beautiful friendly spider that as a wanderer doesn't have a web that gets broken when you get them out to look at.

Jack carried around the mat to show everyone. Not so sure at first Jack now tells me to call him if we find it (I think it's escaped the terrarium we set up for it.)
Even our student teacher Vanessa had a go, first with a little spider we found then our velvety vagrant.

I steady childrens arms and hands to ensure no sudden movement or grabbing actions, and retrieve the spider when it goes to far.
Then one of our veranda spiders caught itself lunch while we watched.
See lots of things with legs.
And lots of kids catching crickets at home with their parents and bringing them in, thank you mums and dads.