Learning with Laura - Prairie Primer - Week 32

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Welcome to another week in Prairie Primer! We didn't do a ton of Primer activities this week because science was more involved than usual (but so fun!) There has still been so much learning happening. My husband walked me through a field to show me his prayer spot that he visits sometimes during the work week. It was just exactly like they described the prairie in the book. We are right about where they in the country that the family lives in the first part of the book. It gives me such respect for the pioneers that started their lives right there in the middle of the field from scratch. Walking over untouched prairie you realize the hazards they would have faced. Amazing folks!

My energy is definitely waning as the end of the year is drawing very, very near. I've been having a lot of fun tying up the details for next year. I'm starting to sell books I know we won't use to make room for all the new things we get to do next year. Boy is that a lot of work!

This week in Little House on the Prairie the Ingalls had a lot of adventures. Ma had a visit from the Indians in the area. Laura was told very firmly not to let their dog Jack of of his leash. She was very tempted to do it. If she disobeyed her father's instruction the whole family could have been hurt. Ma handled the whole situation with cool calm. There are so many wonderful lessons in this book! Not only are we learning lessons in history, but also of science, geography and how to have good character. Excellent!

Another adventure they had was visiting an abandoned Indian camp. Pa explained all the tracks and what kind of life the people lived there. The girls both found and gathered beautiful and colorful beads. When they got home they strung the beads for a necklace for baby Carrie. Laura in her head didn't want to give her beads to the baby, but Mary was the one who suggested it first. I love that Laura didn't always paint her own character in a positive light. It makes the story far more relateable.

We found some expired pasta in the pantry and dyed them in all the colors of the rainbow. You soak them each for about 3 minutes each. Easy as pie.

 Even my big boy came and asked if he could string a few too. I love it when big kids are still young at heart.

I also made one too. Silas and I both made rainbow necklaces. Aedan ever marching to the beat of his own drum made the one in the middle :) I don't think we ever made pasta necklaces before. We can mark that off the childhood experiences list! Silas hasn't taken his off yet. He thinks it's pretty awesome.

The Native Americans they would have likely encountered were from the Osage tribe.

 Silas thought the picture in this book looked very much like the one in Little House.

 I thought so too!

The end of the year is always bitter sweet. This is the last page Silas will ever do in a Penmanship book. His handwriting has improved so much! Next year he will be required to write mostly in cursive. I love these inexpensive Pentime books.

 Science was so fun this week! We totally geeked out (or maybe that was just me!) We learned about endothermic (cold or doesn't release heat) and exothermic (hot and releases heat) chemical reactions.

We first combined yeast and hydrogen peroxide.

It immediately bubbled up.

We took the temperature of the mix. It started at 76 degrees.

As it continued to bubble the temperature went up.

The final temperature was 110 degrees.

Silas could feel the heat in the glass. This was definitely an exothermic reaction.

Next we used good ol' baking soda and lemon juice.

This never, ever gets old.

 Silas always yells for his brother. Aeeeeedan! LOOK!

 Woops. We were too ambitious with the baking soda. The temperature went down 2-3 degrees. Not as dramatic as the yeast and peroxide, but still demonstrated the endothermic reaction concept.

Ok, so I may have had way too much fun with this. We were learning about acids and bases. We gathered all the supplies. I had to buy 7-up at the dollar store and ammonia (nasty stuff!)

 Next we boiled 4 cups of purple cabbage in water and let it set overnight. This was a stinky experiment!

We divided it amount 9 different cups.

Then we labeled them all for what we were to add to each one.

We started by adding all of the different items to each cup.

 This was fabulously fun for a hands on kid and for me too!

Acids turn the cabbage indicator from purple to pink. The shade of pink shows how strong the acid is. Vinegar is definitely an acid. 

Bases turn the indicator from purple to green or blue. Green means it is a strong base, and blue a weaker base. Ammonia is a strong base.

Lemon juice was an acid.

There is no change if the substance is neutral. Water is a neutral liquid.

Baking soda turned the indicator a lovely shade of blue which meant it is a weaker base.

Dish soap is supposed to be a base, but ours didn't change the color. Our soap is natural though, so maybe it didn't have enough weird chemicals in it.

7 up wasn't as strong of an acid as lemon juice, but it did turn it a lighter shade of purple.

Salt just made the mixture a cloudy purple, so it was neutral. See? SO fun! Or am I just a great big ol' nerd? Guilty! 

Next week I have some fun cooking activities I want to do. We actually have 3 weeks of school left, but we have been condensing some of our work for the past few weeks, so we will only really have 2 weeks left after this. I just can't believe it! I hope you are enjoying your final stretch wherever in the world you are :)


  1. I love those science experiments! So fun!! Planning for the new school year is always fun.

  2. We are also a Pentime family! I love the improvement and also the slow moments it gives my girls to color in the little pictures.

    We've listened to many of the Little House books on CD on our many car trips. My girls always have asked for more . . . hmmm, maybe I need to buy the next one and plan a rode trip :)

  3. That's an excellent idea! I would love to have these books on CD for trips!

  4. Your rainbow pasta is so pretty and colorful! I won't be dyeing pasta - I've never been very good at it, haha.

    Neat that you live right there on the prairie. ♥ I thought Kansas was so boring when we drove through from MO, but then I fell in love with it when we did a unit study on Sarah, Plain and Tall. We are on week 1 of Prairie and I feel that same longing for wide open Kansas prairie. :)

  5. I totally think Kansas is boring to drive through too until you get to the foothills and the mountains are on the other side. I appreciate hearing Pa's different perspective than the one I have of all that wide open space. I hope you enjoy Prairie too!


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