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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Learning about Christopher Columbus - combining techniques & theory into practice

Just a little more on how we incorporate Waldorf techniques into our Mason education: On Monday, Columbus Day, I wanted to teach the boys about Columbus and his 1492 voyage. Looking ahead, I also saw that in our 106 Days of Creation science study we had just finished learning about the atmosphere and were moving into wind and wind pressure, so I decided to combine history and science studies and throw in handicraft in the mix. First, we sat down to read In 1492 by Jean Marzollo and answered Who, What, Where, Why questions. Then it was on to the craft: walnut shell boats! I blogged about making walnut shell boats last summer and decided this was the perfect craft to accompany our history lesson.

*We started by painting watercolor sails*

*As the sails dried, I used an icepick and screwdriver
 to break the shells in half - a rather challanging task-
and cleaned out the inside*

*Next we filled the shells 1/4 way full with beeswax
and stuck in the toothpick mast with the paintd sails*

It only took a few minutes to dry and the ships were ready to sail in
a bowl of water - or the high seas when our imagination took off.

After a brief discussion about how wind pressure push against boat sails,
 the boys experimented with blowing through straws to see who could make
their boat move without blowing too hard, causing their boat to sink.
(If a boat tipped it would no longer sail becuase
the sail got wet and weighed down the boat.)
This was a great way for the boys to learn about so many subjects - history, geography, painting, and science!  And I am sure we will come back to our fun game of Sail the Ship many times in the next few months.

See Waldorf Wednesday for more inspiration.


  1. I am visiting from Waldorf Wednesdays. I love the walnut boats, we'll be making some boats next week but I hadn't thought of nuts. Your blog is wonderful. Do you sell your items? Where? Hope you'll come visit us. http://raisingourfamily.blogspot.ca

  2. I am visiting from a CM forum, I saw you live in Central PA -- me, too! I'm sure I'll be back, as I am considering incorporating CM into our days, we'd abandoned the method in favor of unschooling but now I'd like to reclaim some "structure."

    We're huge nature-lovers and National Parks visitors, too! :)

  3. Hey, I'm in PA too! (Just reading the comment above)
    Thanks for sharing on Waldorf Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!


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