Category Archives: World Culture

The Diversity in Sameness…

So as you may have noted, many of our lessons are about observing things in nature and looking at things with different perspectives. This project really showed us that even under the same label there can be many differences if you take a closer look! We gathered sets of ten different items such as pinecones and shells, a piece of paper and a pen. We collected our tiny choices from the Dunes but you can collect from your own backyard or anywhere that has nature-y things aplenty. When we came home we gathered our treasures and sorted them into groups of ten (some people had a few extra – hard to resist treats).

Olive selected rocks and mini pinecones, I had individual moss bits with their flowers and twigs from a tree and Mom had snowdrops and acorns. We looked at the color, size, what they were, their growth development when we found them and we wrote down what was similar and what wasn’t within the same species. Afterwards, we looked under the microscope to see their differences up close! In hindsight, I personally think we should all look at things from different perspectives more often and appreciate the differences we all have, despite being the same species. Different is not only good, it is found throughout the natural world.


BUT WAIT – IT’S UPDATE TIME!  Did you check out our post on the fairy houses? Well, we went to the Dunes to gather our objects for this lesson, so while we were out we checked on our fairy houses.  They were only outside for two days but the night before there was a big storm so we were exited/worried to see how they held up! Soon after arriving and seeing that the village was in ruins we realized we had a mystery on our frozen hands (it may be hard to believe, but its still grey, cold and frigid here in Michigan)! The 3D printed home was missing and nothing that went to it was there either… we never did end up finding it but we suspect that a fellow organism took it, mostly because “it” left no trace (We think its most likely a human but wouldn’t it be funny if a deer or squirrel took it?!). The woods can be a mysterious place!


A Little Peace & Fairy Dust…

The last few months of this school year we are focusing on longer term projects. They are more complicated and involve many different areas of study. Math, engineering, culture, history, language, materials and research.

Here was our first of this kind. It was a World Village. We’ll share the assignment as we were presented it in case you’d like to use it for your own, modified or not.

world village





Year of the Dog…

Chinese New Year is this Friday. It’s the year of the dog – hooray for Milton, Mom and all you other doggies out there. We’re starting our celebrating early with a lantern making project. Pretty straight forward and fun to make! You can check out our Chinese Fan making project from a prior New Year here.

The dog is the 11th zodiac in a 12 year cycle. According to the China Highlights website here’s some of the lucky things for Dogs:

  • Lucky numbers: 3, 4, 9, and numbers containing them (like 34 and 49)
  • Lucky days: the 7th and 28th of every Chinese lunar month
  • Lucky colors: red, green, and purple
  • Lucky flowers: rose, cymbidium orchids
  • Lucky directions: east, south, and northeast
  • Lucky months: the 6th, 10th, and 12th Chinese lunar months

Whether you are a dog or not according to Chinese astrology, we hope this is a good year for YOU! WOOF!


NOTE: The featured image at the heading of the post is from

Rolling in Art!

Maybe you read our post from last March about the Mobility Cart manufacturing tour we took. If not you can read it here. Maybe you thought to yourself – WOW! I had no idea that so many people suffer from not being able to get around in other countries, just like we did after we saw the incredible videos of disabled people in Africa. This New Years, we came together as a family to create a custom, African design inspired cart for a child in need thousands of miles away! If you read this and think you’d like to do the same or as a fundraising activity or even just donate money toward to cost of a mobility cart, you can check out Mobility Worldwide’s website here.

Once our cart is fully assembled at the plant, we will update this post with a photo…Can hardly wait! Happy New Year!!!


Here is a video of the people who are helped by these incredible carts!



Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the festival of lights. It is one of the most popular festivals in India and extends over 5 days. We love the the significance of this occasion – it is the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, hope over despair. It is celebrated with candles and sweets, family and fireworks. Here is a Nat Geo Video that gives the highlights :0)

In honor of the very celebrated Hindu festival, (it’s also a festival for followers of Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism!) we made our own Rangoli – an expression in temporary art, it is created from sand in bright colors, many times in a mandala shaped design. We created some last year, but we think we have improved!

We watched many videos on tricks to create our rangoli. We have included 1 we thought was lovely for you to see.

So! We wish you a Happy Diwali! We love to celebrate anything that focuses on hope, light, love and family!






This week, we made baby envelopes, magnets and an icosahedron made out of maps, which we learned all about before we took to them with scissors and glue! We learned how the legend or key works and guess what? They have icons for sunken ships, where moose and elk live and even native american tribes… How cool is that!?! We also discovered how the mileage calculation works, how colors represents denser populations and how font size is relative to the size of the city being named. Now, enough learning, onto the CRAFTS!!!

First we made little envelopes made out of the map using templates from Paper Source, scissors, a map, glue stick and our hands! Because the template is see-through it made it a lot easier to choose our favorite parts of the map. All we had to do then is fold on the edge and glue. You can also do this with drawings or book pages you don’t like any more. Super DUPER fun!!!

We also made these fun little magnets. First we traced around the glass circle where it touches the map then we cut it out – since they are all different we can’t use any pattern. Then we glued the map to the 3D glass object, after that dried we painted the back black and glued the magnet on. It’s that simple.

The last map project we created was the ever-awesome icosahedron map star. We found templates here and with patience (that’s a lot of cutting and folding for 20 points!) and glue you end up with this completely awesome little star to hang.

Well! That was our lesson on 2D maps – up next!? Topo Maps!


This is where the crafting with maps began…

Baby and card sized envelopes!


Easy to make out of any paper you have! Trace the pattern, cut and glue!



Map Magnets!


And finally, a 20 pointed Icosahedron!!



Behind the Scenes…

…At the Field Museum! We were so lucky to get the chance to meet with Dr. Corine Vriesendorp who is the director of their Andes-Amazon program. She is a field biologist and a plant ecologist…. and may we say – super FUN! She had just returned from a research trip in Columbia so we were extra excited that the timing worked out for us to go to Chicago (who doesn’t love Chicago!?) and meet with her.

We started our behind the scenes adventure in the Rare Book Room. We saw the Audubon Ottoman, (well, it had a cover on it, but we were able to see one of the 4 Audubon Double Elephant Folio books), a rare, historical piece that was donated to the Museum in 1969.

From there, we went to the bird specimen area. There we learned about the consistent way nature solves problems, how species are collected and how huge the Field Museum’s collection of birds is. We loved seeing all the tiny hummingbirds and the birds of paradise. They are so dramatic!!!

We also revisited the beetle room. The room where hard, detailed, and wildly smelly work gets done by flesh eating beetles, who, for a place to stay, will eat birds and mammals to the bone, ready for organizing and storing by the most patient people on earth! They sort the freshly cleaned bones, some tinier than we could believe existed, tagged them and placed them in boxes to add to their massive collection.

After our tour was complete, we experienced the Specimens exhibit and the rest of the museum, including, meeting another scientist who is an entomologist. We held hissing cockroaches, spiders and a giant millipede.

A SUPER inspiring trip to meet some amazing scientists and hear about their work. A special thank you to Corine for taking us behind the scenes of her workplace!!! IMG_3532FullSizeRenderIMG_3533IMG_3540IMG_3544IMG_3548IMG_3549IMG_3550IMG_3551IMG_3559IMG_3557IMG_3555IMG_3560IMG_3552