Thursday, 15 February 2007

Trip to Tees Valley and breakfast with Freddy Fish

On the 14th February we went to the first Tees Valley Home Ed meeting at Natures World .

Miles spent most of the time asleep in the car while Hermione and Lily took full advantage of everything on offer. They had a great time with some Teifoc Bricks which are mini construction bricks with 'real' cement. Hermione made peppermint creams which I couldn't possibly allow her to eat as by the end I think she had added at least one third of a bottle of food colouring and possibly even more lemon flavourings to her mixture. We agreed that they could be for Daddy as he certainly needs his energy boosting. They both made hats with their names on and paper flowers.

Following the meeting we were allowed into the grounds of Natures World free of charge. It was covered by what we had paid at the meeting (£1.50 per child). I was suitably impressed by the place. There is a miniature (stream sized) River Tees complete with land features, bridges etc. plus lots of different kinds of gardens, play areas, a duck pond and so on. We ran out of time as I had to get back to see a man about our new kitchen. All in all a great day. We will definitely go back.

Activities started early round here today. By 8.30am Miles was sound asleep having been up since 5.40am so I decided to see if the girls were interested in the story of Freddy the Fish which I discovered on a website which in can no longer find. I filled a vase full of fresh water and added two fishes cut out of a raw carrot, Freddy and Freda. Freddy and Freda lived in a river in a protected wilderness area. The water was nice and clean and they were happy and healthy.

One day they went on a journey. They swam down stream past a farm where rain had eroded soil into the river - at which point we added soil to the vase and stirred it up. Fred nears a housing development. Fertilisers from the pastures had washed into the river - add brown sugar and stir. Fred swims by a large car park. Oil had washed into the river - add honey and stir. During a recent cold spell ice formed on a bridge. The gritter lorry drove by and salts washed into the river - add salt and stir. Fred swims past the park. Picnickers had thrown their litter on the ground - add shreds of paper and stir. Several factories downstream will not dispose of their waste appropriately - add warm soapy water and stir. As Fred past the waste water treatment plant part of the plant was broken and chemicals were leaking into the river - add red food colouring and stir. Finally Fred swam past a waste dump located next to the river bank- add green food colouring and stir.

How are Fred and Freda now?

Well, during the course of the story the carrot had started to float to the top. The girls concluded the fish had died as a result of all of the pollution. They knew they were carrots not dead fish really but they were convincingly concerned for the welfare of the carrots, oooops I mean fish!

Discussions followed about how we can help to keep our rivers clean and what may happen if we don't. We talked about what would happen to animals who rely upon fish as a food source and what in turn would happen to animals who fed on those animals and so forth. Concern was expressed that fish and chip shops would be no more. If we don't keep the rivers clean Lily feared that we may just end up with chip and chip shops.

We carried on a water theme with looking on a very basic level at the water cycle. We finally cracked it with a little dance in the kitchen - transforming ourselves from rain drops to meandering rivers, from meandering rivers to choppy sea, from choppy sea to evaporating water and then to a cloud. Learning through movement seems to be the way to go round here at the moment. I don't mind but do feel most comfortable being a raindrop or meandering river with the curtains closed.

We then coloured some pictures of the water cycle before heading off to Durham for the Farmers Market.

When we came back my Mum and Hermione watched a 'Share the World' video which we received free of charge as part of an educational pack from these people . Hermione complained that it wasn't very 'cool' but sat totally mesmorised throughout. My Mum thought it was brilliant!

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