Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week 2 Wrap-Up

Week 2 is over and we pretty much stayed on schedule. No more crazy weather, so all our extracurricular activities happened as planned. Plus we managed to have a few unplanned playdates.

One thing I added to the math schedule for this week was a few videos from a course I'm taking via The course is called Symmetry: Beauty, Form and Function. The intro to the course starts with the words "Symmetry is everywhere". As soon as Monkey heard me read that he got very excited since he's been obsessed with symmetry for a while now. He exclaimed: "you see, Mom, that's just what I've been saying!" and wanted to watch the course's videos. He got through the first week's lectures although they started getting too formal too soon. But we are on a lookout for symmetry everywhere we go.

This is something we've explored in the past as well and it's interesting to see how Monkey's understanding of the concept deepens and becomes more complex. For example, a few months ago, if I were to show him my cell phone and ask if it was symmetrical, he'd say yes. But last week, when asked, he said a cell phone was not symmetrical when viewed from the front because the buttons on the opposite sides of the mirror line didn't have the same letters/symbols. I asked him what if all the buttons were blank and he said it'd still not be symmetrical because the camera lens was off to one side and so was the charger port.

We also talked about glide symmetry and rotation symmetry and how we can create tiling designs by reflecting, rotating and gliding the same image over and over and over. And we talked a bit about tessellations. I wanted to try making a few the old-fashioned way, with paper, scissors and some colored pencils. Monkey, on the other hand, had no interest in this approach, but spent a lot of time creating beautiful designs in KaleidoPaint app (he called the design above "Eyes")

In the Engineering club this week the kids were building bridges. The task was to build a bridge with a 2-foot span. They were given lots of clear tape, drinking straws, twine and 3x5 cards. The bridge had to hold as many pennies as possible. Surprisingly, Monkey went with a very simple solution (some kids started off with ambitious projects like building drinking straw trusses or suspending their bridges with twine). His bridge performed beautifully and held 130 pennies.

We also made it to an intro to fencing lesson and Monkey loved-loved-loved it. It was difficult for him, but he tried real hard and declared that he wants to continue with fencing. This is the only sport practice (other than yoga) that he wants to participate in. Anything else we offer - gymnastics, soccer, karate, swimming - is met with a resounding "no".

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