A Real Life “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” Homeschooling Moment

Molly Fractal Sign

Are you familiar with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a children’s book written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Felicia Bond?  It is the story of a boy who shares a cookie with a mouse.  After the cookie, the mouse wants milk.  The mouse then wants to clean up.  Then he notices he needs a trim.  And it goes on and on (very sweetly) as the mouse keeps getting distracted.  In the end lots of fun and interesting things happen but the boy is so exhausted that he falls asleep on his desk.

Today I am that boy!

I mentioned tonight that my son could fracture something if he kept doing what he was doing.  What was it?  Jumping, flipping, running at top speed across our kitchen, leaping over all of our luggage with his belt around his head/eyes, who knows?  If you know him, it could have been any one or combination of those things.  The point is, I used the word “fracture”.  And so the kids asked what it meant.   I had them look it up on the computer.  After getting the basic definition we noticed there was a video from MIT and the Khan Academy on fractals.  And it had a really pretty green snapshot of what turned out to be broccoli. 

We clicked on it and it turned out to be a clever explanation of fractals in about 5 minutes.  It had such cool pictures that we watched it 4 times!

We noticed right away that fractal also comes from the latin fractura, from fractus, meaning “to break”.  Aha!  Fracture.  Fractal.  What other words could we think of?  Fraction!

I then had to tend to the baby and when I came out of his room I found the fractal sign above on Molly’s door (it took a while to get him down).  I know I am a geek but HOW AWESOME!  She copied it from the video (at 2:45 to be exact), which she had re-watched and then paused as she drew the sign.  It is not even sketch Tuesday!  When I asked her why she drew the sign, she said she thought it would be cool because, well, the triangles just went on and on and on.

According to their website, MIT partnered with Khan Academy to produce short videos relating to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) for children back in 2011.  The videos are made by students at MIT for students like my children.  Awesome!  Yet another resource out there that blows me away! 

So, I sat with my two oldest children for about another 30-45 minutes and together we learned about Earth’s Tilt 2: Land of the Midnight Sun (turns its not just proximity to the sun but the angle too), Flocculation, (it sounds dirty and it is), Bioplastics (potatoes, anyone?), and How Information Travels Wirelessly (this one is a bit advanced even though we are basically MIT students now), and Bread Mold Kills Bacteria (his own sandwich?!?!).  We’ve saved Rock Cycle for another day despite it’s awesome screenshot of jellybeans.

We will be back, MIT and Khan Academy!  That is, if we don’t get too distractzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…


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