Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pameran Orang Asli @ Museum Negara 30April2011

JY's fascination with Orang Asli craft prompted me to go for this. This year we have been doing a lot of activities related to Orang Asli.
There were a few stalls selling handicraft items. JY went from stall to stall looking at rings and bracelets but she decided against getting any.
Han went"So smooth!" as he felt the wood carving.
The programme for the next few weeks. Got this from Gerai OA's Facebook posting -too bad Gerai OA wasn't around, I have never got the chance to visit their stall and their collection of beads.
JY's favourite is the 2nd from the right - quirky

Leech spirit (left) and Tornado(right)
Walking into the exhibition hall, we noticed a man sitting in a shack. We gathered around him as he carved out a letter opener. After a while, he asked if the kids wanted to try it out. For sure!
JY using a mallet and chisel on the soon to be 'tornado' sculpture.
Fai using the mallet as the very patient woodcarver held on to the chisel.
Fai holding on to the tree trunk as JY chiselled away.
JY trying her hands at weaving. She said it was very complicated. Nipah leaves was used.
JY's Nipah bird.
Bamboo musical instrument.
The ladies thumped the bamboo onto a piece of wood creating a rhythmic beat.
Blow pipe.
We all had a go at this. The boys were told to blow HARD. They couldn't and their darts bounced off the target board.

I got 10 points.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fai: "I am gonna tell my children this.." 26April2011

It was like any other day. Mother itching to leave the house. Kids want to stay home.
After much negotiation...
Me: "The library books are due. I MUST return them today!"
Fai: Oh. Ok. If you have to....
I took the boys out. JY stayed home. She was busy with a cake order.
Here was the plan, go to the library, return the books, borrow more books. Go to the playground at Taman Jaya then pack some dinner home. Simple enough right?
Everything went as planned.
Little did I know that the a section of the road that I normally took was closed at 5pm. So I had to take a detour. A very long detour.
I looked at the digital mileage reading. I had another 70km of petrol to go. Should be good enough.
It started pouring.
Traffic was at a standstill.
Then. Suddenly. All the lights on the dashboard lit up and the engine went dead.
Turned the ignition key. Car started...spluttered...then went dead.
Oh Dear me.
It was storming outside. I put on the hazard lights. Called DH. Now all I have to do is wait.
DH called the RoadRanger number that was posted on my windscreen. Help was on the way. DH was also coming to my rescue - from Bukit Bintang.
Luckily, dinner was already in the car. We had bottles of water and best of all, Ean was asleep. And we had a bagful of library books to keep us entertained.
We read and read and read somemore....
Cars had to squeeze past me. Huge trucks, buses too. I tried my best to block out the scenario outside by reading aloud to the kids.

Then came my hero in blue - a policeman.

Polis: Apa hal? (what's the matter?)
Me: Enjin tak jalan (The car won't start)

Polis: Lepas brek, berhenti depan (Release your brakes, stop further up)

Me: Er...enjin tak hidup, brek masih boleh guna???!(Can the brakes still work when the engine is off?)

Polis(with a grin): Boleh! (Of course!)

So with my hero in blue pushing from behind, I released the brakes and glided downhill and the brakes worked. I parked the car away from the snarling traffic.
And there was a petrol station just a few steps away.

My hero glanced into the car, saw my 3 boys, shook his head and went on his way.

I was still too flustered and didn't have the presence of mind to thank my hero in blue or get his name.

The boys and I walked to Mobil, bought RM8.90 worth of petrol in a plastic container that costs RM2. Walked back to the car. I tried to tip the petrol in but it kept spilling out. I think, in all, I managed to pour in half a cupful
Anyway it was sufficient to get the car going.

The petrol attendant showed me how to do it. Use a plastic drinking straw to depress the flap then pour in the petrol.

DH came not long after. So did the tow truck.

Fai told me this :
" I won't ever forget what happened. I am gonna tell my children this."

Moral of story:
1) When you unschool, the parents gets the report card - to be narrated to their grandkids
2) Never trust the digital petrol gauge
3) Don't go out just before peak hour

science behind potato clock 28thApril2011

The potato-tomato clock is still running after a day. The tomato is rotting though and attracting fruit flies.
Fai dug up some book on electricity and one was borrowed from PJ Community library.

The magazine by Horrible Science explained the science behind the potato clock pretty well with nice graphics to boot.
From this experiment, we learnt:
1) electricity flows in a circuit
2) Zn releases electrons
3) electricity can come from a potato, tomato, banana, milk, even water with the help of wires and copper and zinc strips

Han started inquiring about electrons and Fai asked what 'current' was - saying that he thought 'current' meant current at sea.
Thanks once again S for giving us the opportunity to play around with the science kit.

Next, we will try to make our own using old copper 1cent coins, zinc nails and wires.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Potato-Tomato-Banana-etc Clock 26thApril2011

A potato clock! How interesting. There were zinc and copper strips and wires and a digital clock.
Complete the circuit with alternating zinc-copper strips and the clock comes on.
We started with 2 potatoes because it said 'potato' clock on the box, then...
Fai came running with 2 pieces of ginger. that worked too. Then...
2 onions

Banana and potato....
Then we ventured into liquids - 2 plastic cups were provided. First up, Coca Cola...
Milk works too.
Water can be used as well.
On loan from an unschooling mom, we had a wonderful time with the science kit. Thank you S!

Great Apes @Zoo Negara 25thApril2011

Our 3rd Education Programme in Zoo Negara. It was an early outing, starting at 9.15am as we had to be there to get an exclusive peek at how the zookeepers prepared the ape's enclosure before they were released into it.
It was also WL's birthday that day and we started off the morning with a birthday song, candles blowing and lots of birthday wishes. My boys made that cake. Fai mashed 3 cupfuls of bananas, Han whisked the batter and added a few eggshells for that extra crunch in the process.
The apes' enclosure was cleared of any leftover food from the day before. Then new food was brought in - banana stumps, banana leaves, bananas, coconuts and sugarcane. This was a treat for the apes, they were usually just given leaves.
Treats for the apes. The sugar cane was wrapped in a gunny sack.

This male chimpanzee got his hands on a bunch of bananas and a coconut clenched in his teeth.
The boys observing the chimpanzees.
Tearing the coconut open with its teeth with ease. Just bite and rip it out.
Then drink the sweet water in a few gulps.
From the chimpanzees, we went over to the orang utans. The male orang utans has bigger cheek pads and was much larger in size than the females.
The orang utans were more cautious and preferred to swing, climb and glance at us humans before they ventured out to get to the food.
The kids were asked to match the apes' feet, hands, eyes, hand print and eyes.
The apes' facial expression - fear, anger, happiness, sadness..
Then the kids had their hands taped so that their thumbs could not be used. This activity shows the kids how useful having opposable thumbs are.
It was difficult to hold the bottle.
It was took longer than usual pouring water out.
Trying to uncap a bottle of water was another tough one.
Peeling and cutting bananas without thumbs.
The Orang Utan's shirt could fit in 3 boys.
1 ape = strength of 6 men.
Here, the only daddy(1 ape) around had to play tug-a-war with about 10 kids(=6men?).

Daddy was no match for them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

After the Apes @Zoo Negara 25thApril2011

After watching the Animal Show and bidding farewell to the other homeschoolers, we headed for our favourite spot...the frog pond.
Something caught Fai's eye - pitcher plants. He never noticed it before.
Looked for green paddy frogs - Fai spotted 3. Han was too busy doing his crane kungfu pose perched on a rock to bother.
Observed the tadpoles
The boys made a new friend who was as fascinated with frogs and tadpoles as they were.