Guess what happened when I told Simon that Khan Academy doesn’t only teach math, but also has loads of computer programming tutorials? He was so excited he finished 38 percent of the HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive with jQuery block in one day. Considering he also had to attend a weekly group lesson in Scratch (CodeFever) in a distant suburb this afternoon, it’s quite an achievement.
Simon is back on Kan Academy! For the math lessons we decided to dive right into the equations. They are featured in much more detail here than on Brilliant.org (which we still plan to continue using for new topics) and one can follow Simon’s progress – see how many tasks he has completed and how much time he needed. During the Monday math lesson Simon finished two one-step equation items and started with the two-step equations. Algebra > Solving basic equations & inequalities (one variable, linear) > One-step addition & subtraction equations: fractions & decimals, One-step multiplication & division equations: fractions & decimals, One-step equations review.
After several months’ break (our previous tutor left us abruptly after the summer vacation and we had trouble finding a new one), we have resumed learning French. With a very sweet new teacher, whom Simon attends at her place. But also with… Babbel! An absolutely awesome app that so far seems to keep Simon motivated. It’s an app that only lets you continue and download the following lesson once you’ve achieved progress with the previous one. Speech recognition incorporated, it’s almost an AI French teacher on your lap – what else could one wish for?
In the video below, Simon practices spelling.
Simon made a fantastic little game in scratch all by himself which can serve as a fun tool to train little children to use the mouse. You can find it in Simon’s shared projects at: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/131801799/
Here Neva acts as a guinea pig.
Click on the green flag to see the circle multiply in a variety of colours. The circles move towards the cursor. Click on the bottom blue rectangle to clear. Click on the top blue rectangle to clear and stop the program.
It was great fun as they compared the multiplying circles to the fairy-tale magic porridge pot that kept making porridge.
Simon loves the conductive paint. After we finished making the Bare Conductive Voltage Village kit (previous post), he made two circuits, parallel and series, on his own without and help on my behalf. He did use weak AAA batteries first, so it didn’t work. When I told him he should switch to the 9V batteries, his circuits started to shine!
This is Simon’s parallel circuit:
And this is a series circuit:
On Sunday Simon found a Bare Conductive electric paint set in his shoe. Sinterklaas knows exactly what Simon wants! Today we tried cold soldering for the first time! The project involved building a paper house that would gradually light up as it gets darker in the room.
Besides the light sensor (or a Light Dependent Resistor), the circle also incorporated a transistor, a resistor and two LEDs.
It was quite difficult to keep all the components in place while the electric paint was still wet.
The waiting was enduring.
Tried blowing on the paint to make it dry:
Finally, the fun part: drawing the circuit:
The roof of the house on the inside:
Simon loved the effect of the gradual lighting up – when first placed in a dark room we saw almost no light but when we came back a couple hours later the house looked magical. Simon cuddled with it, took the roof off and reviewed the circuit again and again, and put the house next to his bed when falling asleep. I think we’d want to crawl inside of it if he could.
On Saturday Simon had his second astronomy workshop at the local observatory. The pages below is “homework”. He wasn’t particularly enthusiastic doing it but found tasks 4, 5 and 8 intriguing and was proud of himself when everything was completed. I always struggle with myself when giving him such “compulsory” tasks as he works better autonomously or at least when being able to chose the problems (which is often possible when using an online math platform, for example).
He also doesn’t like writing things down for someone else, in other words when he doesn’t see any practical value in it for the future. I’ve noticed that he prefers writing things down for himself to remember. Sometimes he even gets up at night to write something down, it’s quite funny to watch.
He said he liked his second workshop but couldn’t answer the question whether he learned anything new. He literally said “I can’t say yes or no to this question”. The workshop was about stars and galaxies. The first workshop was about constellations. Simon also confided to me that he is a little bit afraid of the third workshop next month: it’s called “3, 2, 1 Go!”. He is old enough to understand they would definitely not be taking an actual space flight during the workshop, still it seems to be triggering the old fears he’s always had of (accidentally) stepping in an aircraft and taking off.
It’s great to see how Simon and Neva have been spending increasingly more time playing together. We even hear Simon suggest activities to her and come up with compromises when they don’t agree on something. He has been taking her feelings into account and generally displaying much better communication skills than before.
Building a railroad according to the drawing:
Teaching Neva how to use Scratch Jr.:
Cracking almonds and hazelnuts together:
During his latest Digisnacks class at the Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool in Antwerp Simon fell in love. He told me this in English (don’t mind the wrong grammar): “Mom, I fell in love so deep!” With what? – I asked (knowing it’s not “with whom” yet in Simon’s case). – Lego WeDo!
He has since then downloaded pdf’s and the Lego WeDo 2.0 software and has been studying them thoroughly, hoping that Sinterklaas will give him the 2.0 set shortly.
Here are some examples of the tasks and projects Simon makes at his weekly Code Fever classes where they’re currently learning about conditional logic.
This one he quickly made tonight at home to explain the theme “signals” to Dad:
Earlier projects from during the class (he didn’t remix/ save the one from today in class). The first one is about controlling the characters by pressing letters and arrows on the keyboard:
In this one two dino’s play ball: