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May Mayhem

Taunton Home Education travelled back in time this month to Ancient Rome AD79 for our POMPEII!! event. This was our chance to indulge in all things roman and volcanic under the supervision of the Goddess Juno.

The Pompeii trail lead you through the events of those fateful days in AD79, the excavated ruins of Pompeii with a big background display with everything you need to know about volcanoes across the world.

Resident lego architect, Preston (aka Quintus Annaes Cassus – everyone got a Roman name!), constructed a lego Pompeii city which was buried in ash and then unearthed painstakingly by our archaeology team.

Mini-models of Pompeii were built next to clay models of Mount Vesuvius and subjected to uncannily similar eruptions and pyroclastic flows, using yeast and hydrogen peroxide combos.

We made some rather fabulous erupting Volcano art inspired by that wonderful Nick Rowland painting. Love this piece:

A Pompeiian Pistrina was set up with young Romans making Roman spelt bread loaves, Statitai (Roman Pizza with cheese, honey and sesame seeds) and Libum (Roman cheese cakes).

Some of us became Roman soldiers and made DIY gladiuses and beautiful shields. We did mosaic printing and made beautiful mosaic tile coasters.

You could test your knowledge of Roman numerals with a computer game and make a replica gold serpent bracelet just like those unearthed from the ruined city.

In other news, Fun Science returned with two classes this time to cater for different age groups – Big Dippers for older kids and Halley’s Comets 5-10 year olds. Cress kicked off with sessions on Luminescence – making light without heat. We found out about the different forms of luminescence. There is electroluminescence which you can create using a Plasma ball - it releases photons when electricity is passed through it a bit like the energy efficient lightbulbs in our homes. Then there is chemiluminescence - glow sticks contain luminal and hydrogen peroxide when you snap them the two chemicals mix to give off light. Not forgetting Photoluminescence which is where you use light to make more light! We got to grips with this by making glow in the dark slime. Finally there is bioluminescence which is when chemicals in the body of animals or plants create light – we tried to name all the creatures with this ability and work out why it might be useful for them. Cress plugged her USB Microscope into her laptop to demonstrate how colour receptors in our eyes work.

Next we moved on to investigate polymers (long strings of atoms stuck together) and had fun breaking them and indeed making them! We broke down polystyrene cups using acetone – you could see the strings as the cups disintegrated. We poked pencils through a pl;astic ziplock back full of water and marvelled as no water leaked out because the strings of atoms in the bag moved out of the way and went around the pencil, hugging it. To make a polymer we used borax solution – this does the opposite of acetone, it forms bonds between atoms rather than breaking them – mixed with PVA and cornflour to create bouncy balls.

In our art class the kids looked at London based fashion designer Orla Kiely and her brilliant retro/natural form designs and used that inspiration to draw and colour their own mug designs – love this bright, simple rainbow mug design!

Surrealist painter Salvador Dali provided the subject for another class with the kids studying his 'The Persistence of Memory' painting with desert landscape and melting clocks. We do like the surreal!

We also developed our post impressionist style by looking at the artwork of Vincent Van Gogh.- from mountain landscapes to starry skies and sunflowers!

An animal wildlife sketching class completed May’s arty efforts. Sketching is the basis for all artists work through the ages so get sketching people!

At the Cookability kitchen we did ‘loaf’ inspired dishes.No not boring loaves of bread! The kids made delicious and rather beautiful roasted carrot hummus in elegant veggie loaves, mini pizza loaves and mini fruity tea loaves.

Next we had a pulses masterclass! They've got it all pulses: iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, they’re packed with vitamins and fibre plus are a good source of protein). What a yummy menu the young chefs produced :Chickpea oat crackers and Dhal plus chocolate chip cannellini cookies. Venetia also treated them to a super cool watermelon drink served in a watermelon.

Our outdoor adventures with Channel Adventure continued with honing of archery and axe-throwing skills and some serious kayaking.

Young actors began studying the script for Taunton Home Ed Performing Arts group’s next production: A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The kids have done drama and dance workshops to prepare for the autumn big show. Roles are being allocated and excitement is building!

And finally lego club at Priorswood Library is producing some fantastic creations. Here is a carnival parade created this month:

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