Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Recap 4/18-4/22/11

This week was one of those weeks that just hummed with learning and connections.  While our focus was on the Renaissance, so much of our past learning came into play.  We spent time learning about the artists and scientists that flourished during this period of rebirth.  We talked about how art changed.  We talked about astronomy and how the teaching of the church put many scientists at risk. 

Last summer we were blessed to attend a lecture and learning series about Galileo at a local university and museum. We got to listen to an expert compare the view of the universe before Copernicus, by Copernicus and by Galileo and show us the various perspectives in a planetarium for a sky view like no other.  We also got to learn about how Galileo drew maps of the sun and sky by tracing shadows on paper.  And we got to make a replica of Galileo's early telescope and experiment with it on the roof top of the museum. 

So much of what we learned almost a year ago made even more sense as we recalled it this week. 

We reviewed all that we'd learned about the reformation and how that led to a rebirth of the church.  We talked about why people resist change.  We read the book Fine Print by Joann Burch and learned how the struggle of one inventor made much of the rebirth possible by giving the means to share ideas with many through printed books. 

S9 carving a letter for printing.

S9 is convinced Gutenberg would not find his printing acceptable.
In addition to all our reading, looking and talking, we did quite a bit of hands on learning. We made stamps out of potatoes and realized that Gutenberg would have had a difficult job if he'd had a quiet place to work and all the money he needed for materials. The challenges he faced made his success with printing even more impressive.

We became scientists and explored the characteristics of our materials while making playdough. Then we turned our playdough into works of art over and over again.

S9 using himself as a model for his Hercules sculpture.

H12 and I have been reading various books set during the Renaissance this week.  One story we enjoyed in particular was The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli.  H12 didn't like the way the story ended.  She still longs for a happily ever after in all of her stories.  She also finds the differences between classes and the limits placed on girls to be especially irritating.  She did like the storyline and the characters.  She also liked hearing familiar names from our history work and learning more about what life was like during the Renaissance. 

The rest of our learning went well this week too.  We are on track to finish required hours by the end of May and will finish most of our subjects before then.  It's a good feeling to get so close to the end and not feel overwhelmed, especially when we've had so much change this year, our own Renaissance.


  1. It sounds like you had a great week! I love when all of those connections come together too!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful week. We've just made it to the Reniassance too and will be learning about Gutenberg next week.