Monday, December 5, 2016

Erdkinder's Last Trip to the Farm for 2016

Green oaks Creek Farm, November 2016. 

We spent the day working in the ornamental garden, weeding and trimming. It's amazing how green and lush the farm is after the recent rains. All the shrubs and plants have suddenly grown so much!

We enjoyed our time at the farm. And on the way home, we stopped at Gazos Creek Beach off of Highway 1. It was a fresh and windy beach trip, but we were glad to enjoy our time together.

The jasmine has grown so much

Look how green the grass is!
Getting ready to weed the paths and patio.

Standing on the creek overlook

It's hard work, but we have fun!

Even the teachers go up to the tree house sometimes!

Overlooking the empty strawberry fields.

Showing our love for the farm.

Gathering our belongings and getting ready to leave.

Beauty at the beach

Skipping stones
So many birds at the beach

Discussing our beach findings.

The wind is getting up - it's almost time to leave.

Rock with a hole inspires artistic photo!

Creek empties into ocean.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The EK observes Mars!

As November draws to a close, we continue our way into the winter with the usual colder weather and less daylight - perfect conditions for Astronomy! EK and Robotics students this year have had the opportunity to use scientific equipment from the California Academy of Sciences including optical lenses, an Arduino-powered rover, and several carefully designed Astronomy labs. Below, you can see the students planning out the orbit paths of Mars and Earth using mathematical ratios, the Cartesian Coordinate Plane, and a laser to track retrograde motion! The experiment is conducted in three dimensional space and data is recorded in two dimensional space to explain the backwards motion of Mars in the night sky.

Looking up information about Mars.

 A student uses Cartesian Coordinates to sketch out the approximate planetary orbits.

Reviewing key terms and begins typing up her Lab Report.

 The approximate orbits begin to take shape as we add more data points.

Time to double check the math and perfect the approximate orbits!

 Our two-dimensional "night sky" where we will record planetary movement using a laser and marker.

 Students begin to model the planetary orbits in three dimensions. 

 Adding stars to the night sky for a more realistic background.

 The night sky looks great!

After making points with the laser, students connect the dots to simulate the movement of Mars. 

 Connecting two spaced out data points.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Working on Halloween Projects in the Erdkinder/High School

October is always a fun month in the EK/high school classroom as the students get to work on their dramatis personae projects for Halloween. Not only do they do exhaustive research into their Halloween "character" who is typically an influential person from the historical period we are exploring, but they come to school on the morning of Halloween dressed as that person and ready to deliver a speech about that person to the school community.

After trips to the library, mini-conferences with the teacher, the turning in and refining of first, second and even third drafts, the students are now focusing on the "creative expression" portion of their work - getting their project boards ready and making their costumes. We are all excited to see and experience the finished result!

Researching and making notes
More research
Checking references
Pondering options and getting input from a classmate.
Launching into the project board!
Still compiling information.
Multiple resources - including library books.
Using projection technique for board titling style.
Beginning to commit to an artistic approach.
More reference checking for bibliography.
Re-working an earlier draft.
Translating key words and phrases for the dual language version of speech.

We've acquired a lot of material for the projects.
Work in progress.
Image selection and preparation to put on project board.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Erdkinder's Spaghetti Sauce Factory!

Turning a glut of tomatoes at the farm into a product we can sell

An over abundance of tomatoes had us brainstorming while we were farm camping in September - so we decided to embark on making pasta sauce! This will enable students to learn skills regarding raw materials, cost of goods, wholesale vs. resale pricing and profit margins - key to running our "micro-economy" each year.

Collecting tomatoes that for a variety of reasons cannot be sold at farmers' markets
The tomatoes we have collected are washed at the spigot before we use them.
In the outdoor kitchen, we roughly chop tomatoes
Nature's bounty - but heirlooms don't make the best sauce, sadly.
There are a lot of tomatoes to process.
Boiling the finished batches of sauce to seal the mason jars.
Boiling down the sauce so it's the right consistency.
Chopping basil!
Beautiful tomatoes still warm from the sun!
Getting the stalks out of the produce.
Pressing many, many cloves of garlic to add to the sauce.
Using a traditional French "moule" (food mill) to remove seeds and skins form the sauce.