Friday, May 14, 2010

Seco: Spanish For Dry?

We had major rain today. It was so loud at one point that I was having to holler during first period in order to be heard over it! We really needed the rain though, so I am okay with the little inconveniences it imposed. I am hoping that this summer is not a repeat of the last one when it was in the 100's for days on end and bone dry.

There is a creek nearby called Seco creek.

Seco creek sign

Seco means dry in Spanish and the creek was given that name for a reason! Today after all the rain it was not muy seco!

Seco creek rising

I made a live action video! Stand by for the most excitement ever!

And just in case water over the road wasn't enough drama, we also had to watch out for mud!

mud on road sign

So people, please remember, if there is water OR mud on the road:

Turn Around, Don't Drown!!

And have a great day! :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Polyhedron Math Mobile

Now that state standardizing testing is over I needed something to fill the remaining weeks of school. Math projects here we come! I found this really cool project to make polyhedrons (three-dimensional shapes) using card stock paper, a compass, a ruler, scissors, and tape. It can be found at Math Cats Math Crafts.

I decided to go one step further and let the kids create a mobile when they were done. I, of course, had to make my own! It was so much fun. I loved this project.

Here is the final project. I call it "my totally awesome happy math mobile!"

Entire mobile

I have it hanging above my desk. I told the kids I put it there for times when I get so frustrated that I throw my head back and groan. I will then open my eyes and see the sea of happy yellow faces. I would instantly feel the frustration melt away. They just laughed at me as normal.

Here are the individual polyhedrons. First up, the tetrahedron. Tetra in Ancient Greek means 4 and hedron means side.

Tetrahedron-4 sides

Next the hexahedron. Hex means 6. Cubes are considered hexahedrons.

Hexahedron-6 sides

I don't have a picture of the octahedron. Not sure what happened to it. But it is an 8 sided figure. An example can be see here.

Next is the decahedron. The 10 sided polyhedron (poly means many). I think this one is my favorite because it looks like a star.

Decahedron-10 sides

And finally the icosahedron. It is a 20 sided polyhedron. This one was challenging! It took 12 inter looping circles and many lines in just the right places. It was interesting to say the least. Several of the kids ended up tracing my lines just to get it right. It was worth the trouble though because it looks amazing! The picture doesn't really do it justice though.

Icosahedron-20 sides

I leave you with a parting artsy shot of "my totally awesome happy math mobile!" Hope you enjoy it and will go out and make your own!

Close up of center tetrahedron

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Short Girl's Guide To Riding Lawn Mowers

The other day Frankie was going to mow the lawn, but he had something to do first that particular morning. I knew it was going to be hot by the time he got around to it and then he wouldn't really want to actually do it. I was home and not doing anything so I decided to go ahead and mow it for him. It was above waist high so there was no time like the present.

Last time mowed I had to have Frankie, who had walking pneumonia at the time, come out and push the lever (as pointed out in the above picture) from right to left to lower the blade. Every time I tried to do it myself the motor would die before I could get the lever all the way to the left.
I wanted to try it again on my own. So, I went outside and got the lawnmower started. I being only 5 foot 1 inch have to sit on the edge of the seat so that I can reach the clutch with my left foot. I also had to sit on the edge so that I could reach the lever. I tried several times to push the lever over, but every time I would the mower would die. I even tried to use something that I could hook on it and then try to pull it over. That didn't work.

I tried moving the lever with my right hand. I tried reaching over with my left hand and pulling that way. I tried sitting on the right as far as possible while still on the edge. I tried moving to the left as far as possible while still on the edge. Nope. Nothing worked. It died every time.

I went inside and called Frankie to make sure I wasn't forgetting to do something. He said I was doing everything right. He said the problem might be the fact that when I get to a certain point in pushing the lever over and since I don't have monkey arms, my rear end comes up off the seat just enough to make the safety kill switch feature kick in. Alright, I will see if I can't keep my butt glued to the seat and try again!

I go back outside and try several more times in various positions to get that stupid lever moved over. Still no luck! With a sigh I leaned back in the seat, still sitting on the edge mind you so I can keep my left foot on the clutch. I sit there a few minutes trying to figure out a way to get this to work. Then the light bulb came on!

Sitting in that leaned back position on the edge of the seat with my left foot on the clutch, I grasped the steering wheel for balance. I then brought my right foot up and used it to push that lever over. It was awkward. It was not lady like. It was slightly uncomfortable. I would died if anyone saw me. But it worked! The mower roared into its powerful mowing self! I was so proud of my ingenuity!

I am now invincible on the riding lawn mower! Let's hear it for the short girl! :)