artreach portraits 

this fall mercyGirl and signGirl delved into portraiture at ArtReach.

mercyGirl’s statement: I like to design things and draw. I would like to be an architect when I grow up. In the future I would like to design my own house and have an architectural design business.

signGirl’s statement: I love cooking, mixing things together, reading chapter books, and doing gymnastics. In the future I am hoping to own my own underwater restaurant. The door to the restaurant can be found on the beach.

thanks to the teaching artists, their personal pieces and collective work always seem come together so well.

art of the Quran 

The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts is one of the Smithsonian Freer-Sackler Galleries‘ most recent exhibitions and it features many, many magnificent Qurans. Qurans with gold, jewels & precious metals; ancient Qurans; colorful Qurans; and even one with pages about the size of a twin bed.

We attended an opening event with calligrapher talks (including one of the US’ most esteemed masters, Mohamed Zakariya) and other demonstrations.

We also attended a family workshop with local artist, Lubna Zahid. She gave us an introduction to the art of illumination then led us through the exhibition highlighting different motifs found in various Qurans. We then used our sketches and her techiques to illuminate a custom bookmark.

Catch a tour, family workshop or open studio before it The Art of the Qur’an ends February 20, 2017.

forced from home in DC

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors With Borders built a realistic refugee camp in the shadow of the Washington Monument to raise public awareness about the experience of the world’s more than 65 million refugees and internally displaced people. More than an exhibition, this was an immersive, outdoor experience that included a 360-degree video that framed the context and issues refugees face, then — in the company of an experienced MSF aid worker — we are asked to walk in the footsteps of those forced to leave their home, making increasingly challenging decisions and being faced with greater hardships.

This is social studies at its best. No article or texbook can hold a candle to this 45 minutes experience. 

If Forced From Home comes to your city on its tour throughout the US, Do. Not. Miss. It. It will definitely open our eyes, minds and hearts.

fall seedlings: expeditions, native birds, carnivorous plants & stir fry

This past fall at the US Botanic Garden
the Seedlings class discussed the exploration that helped to populate the Botanic Garden,
native birds of the National Garden,
carnivorous plants, and
the edible parts of plants.

USBG trivia: the Botanic Garden was located where the Capitol Reflecting Pool currently is now. The Garden was moved to its current location so there could be a clear line of sight to the Washington Monument. Ms. Lee introduced us to a tree next to the pool that was a part of the original garden.

You don’t have to leave the city to bird watch when you’re at the National Garden. 

In addition to learning about different types of carnivorous plants, the girls got to take one home in seed form.

The most delicious part of learning about the edible parts of plants is putting them in a stir fry.

Even more fun after class in the Children’s Garden:

the physics of coasters & building green

at the national building museum homeschool day in june:

in Roller Coaster Rally signGirl and prayerGirl discovered the physics behind roller coaster design.

in teams, they rotated through four stations building a roller coaster to meet a specific challenge that focused on kinetic energy, potential energy, friction, or some combination of the three.

in Think Global, Build Local mercyGirl learned what makes a home environmentally sustainable by investigating green homes from the past and present, including various technologies and materials that help make each home suitable for its geographic region.

the green features of mercyGirl’s custom building include solar panels, a slanted roof to capture rain water in a rain barrel, and other features that aid in air circulation and heat gain during the winter months.

homes, water pressure & disaster 

in the My House, My Home class prayerGirl visited the National Building Museum‘s House & Home exhibition to look at photographs and models of past and present American homes. back in the classroom, she learned about the process of building a house through a hands-on demonstration with real tools and materials. then she created her own house to add to the classroom neighborhood of custom homes.

this girl has a knack for picking an excellent location: her one-of-a-kind home is on waterfront property.

signGirl did the Water Works class where she experimented with the power of water pressure and learned how civil engineers have utilized it over time. she worked with her group to create a miniature architectural structure that transported water, and shoot water the farthest possible distance. she and her group also designed and built a PVC pipe fountain outdoors on the loading deck.

in Designing for Disaster, mercyGirl learned how buildings can be built to withstand the force of an earthquake. she experienced the engineering design process by investigating front-line earthquake resilient technology and then worked with her all-girl team to design, construct, and test model their building using a shake table. their design withstood the shake table test! go, girls!