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!

sailing on the sultana

this trip was a unique opportunity to explore the history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay while sailing on an 18th century schooner, the Sultana.

the group explored different types of marine life in the bay,
helped the crew with the sails,
learned the names of the different parts of the ship,
discussed how sailors lived, what they ate and the tools that were used for medical care, and
learned a bit about navigation.

you can’t get much better than class on the water with instructors who enjoy their job so much that they live where they work.

scratch + wedo at kid museum

every month Kid Museum offers homeschool workshops that integrate hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math learning in a playful, engaging way.

signGirl took the Scratch & WeDo workshop where she designed an interactive machine with a LEGO WeDo kit and used the Scratch programming language to move and manipulate it.


Either this class was intensely engaging or this girl has the makings of a talented and intensely dedicated engineer. Or both.