Science Sunday: Mississippi: Stetson hats and felting


When googling interesting fact on Mississippi, I learned “Hat maker John B. Stetson first practiced hat-making in Duns Falls”.  So I looked for books on cowboy hats and found “Boss of the Plains.” Widgets


All about how he started making hats, only he was in Colorado when first making the distinctive hat.


Well, after reading it we had to see if making felt was as easy as he claimed.



We got some wool roving and arranged it in a criss cross pattern, making sure to overlap it somewhat.



Than we got it wet and put it in a terry wash cloth.



Finally we rolled and pounded it a bunch to help it “mesh” together.



And after smushing it up a bunch, we created felt.  Not very high quality felt, but it was felt.


Why does wool or other natural fibers felt?

It felts because there are small barbs in it that causes it to catch on itself.  Information from Cornell University


Why did our wool not felt well?

1.  The water needed to be hot, much much hotter.

2.  We did not use soap.  Soap will help the barbs hook together better. Information from





Let’s see what others did this week:

I love the spider web they made at Raising LIfelong Learners.


At Keitha’s Chaos, they had a brain based obstacle course, what a great idea!




Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Mississippi: Freedom School Yes!

Every now and then I run into a book that is wonderful, but doesn’t easily lend itself to an activity, but I still want to share it.  This is one of those books. Widgets


It tells the story of the Freedom Schools that happened in Mississippi back in the summer of 1964.


This is a compilation story, it assembles facts from several different  people who were teachers for the summer and several of the cities where it took place to make one story.


Mississippi Freedom school


It tells the brave story of one young woman who comes down to be the teacher and one young girl who is brave enough to go to school, even if she’s threatened.


Then it tells of all the great stories of African Americans.  It tells about Crispus Attucks the first person killed in the American Revolution.


Harriet Tubman, who led many of her people to freedom.


Of Benjamin Bannaker, who was the son of a slave man and an indentured servant who both became free, and how he designed Washington D.C. (which by the way that family’s story is also amazing, and another book I never wrote about, but loved).


Nothing I could design would compare with the bravery in these stories.  I do not want to trifle with it.  So, it was simple, cut it out and read about these brave people.


And sometimes that is all you need to do.

Mississippi: Mike Fink

I had all of these grand plans with Mike Fink.   Mike Fink is a tall tale from Mississippi. He’s braggart and a brawler and a brat. Hey look, alliteration.
I created this nice cute printable for what Mike Fink fought, and brought over all sorts of paper for them to create what he was going to fight, told them “USE YOUR IMAGINATION!”
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And the grabbed the colored pencils.

And they drew alligators, and dragons.  And more alligators.

And no one grabbed any of the paper and made fabulous creations.

They drew pictures.

But they did tell fabulous stories about them.

Mike Fink found the dragon and it was eating a town.  He grabbed his bow and arrows and shot it as fast as he could.  Then he ran and jumped on it.

Some days you just need to go with the simple.

Science Sunday: Mississippi Steam Boat

Science Sunday
I really wanted for Mississippi to look at Steam boats and how they work. I found a great lesson for high school, but it was way too complicated for my group of guys.

I found a few great books, and then after a quick youtube search, found the perfect video about how a steam engine works (as described by a 9 (?) year old boy):

Afterwards the kids drew their interpretation of how a steam engine works.
This is Batman’s interpretation of how it works.  I thought the drawings were pretty accurate.

Then I made and they demonstrated (I didn’t want to cut out the pieces necessary for 8 kids to make it) how it would work as a steam engine.  High Hill Homeschool has some great instructions on making this.
We first tried it with my steam kettle, but it didn’t produce a focused enough steam source to turn it.  So, we poured water on it, and used that to demonstrate how the steam engine works.
All in all a fun lesson on steam boats.
<a href=””> Widgets</a>

Let’s see what others did this week:

Almost Unschoolers made and explored the science behind Resurrection Rolls.

All Things Beautiful made their own batteries.

Almost Unschoolers attempted to recreate a battery from a book they read.  It apparently was the week of batteries.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom created a ball and socket joint and a great lapbook.

No Doubt Learning had a super cute amazing shrinking leprechaun hat.  I’m thinking this could also be for Dr Seuss unit or for our brownie, who needs a hat.


Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Today’s Adventure: Mississippi Children’s Museum

Or how to get lost going somewhere you’ve been before.  Really, my iphone is trying to get me lost in the worst parts of town.


Last night it was strip joints and places I”m sure were selling illegal substances…….  Doors were very locked and windows were rolled up tight.



This was a surprisingly large children’s museum, and the hit of the museum was definitely the upper floor.  The kids LOVED building their own house, and working the construction equipment.  It was fascinating to them.




I thought the “Go through the human digestive system” exhibit was rather hilarious.  Especially since it had sound effects and ended with you being flushed down the toilet.


Okay, really REALLY gross, but rather funny to hear the kids reactions.  So, there you see Superman just after having been flushed down the toilet.



After trying my best to tire the kids out so they’d be relatively calm going over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we headed over.  The kids again spent the majority of the evening torturing entertaining the dogs.




While Mom and I spent the evening like this.  Reminiscing looking at old photo albums, the majority of which I was pre-verbal, and finding some rather amusing pictures and stories written by myself as a kid.


I don’t know if I was amused or disturbed to discover my writing style has not changed much from being in high school.

So, I found many wonderful old gems:

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I think my favorite is the one on the right above.  I did a double take when I saw it in the pictures because that could have been me and Wendy, but it’s my Mom and me as a baby.  The other amusing thing to me is I think it’s the first picture I’ve seen of my Mom wearing glasses.


And we couldn’t leave Grandma and Grandpa’s house without getting pictures with them, and she got all dolled up to take the pictures.

IMG_1082Now the ridiculous thing is we forgot to get pictures with my Aunt and cousin who we spent all the nights talking with until late hours of the night like…….  9:30.  You just can’t stay out all that late with kiddos.


It was great visiting family, but the kids are getting very VERY antsy to get home and see their Daddy.  They’ve got great plans of presents they want to get for Daddy because “He probably misses us and is very sad.  Can we get him coffee?  And a grown up movie we can watch with Daddy?  But, one that’s not too scary.”


So, now we’re on the lookout for a present for Daddy.  I nixed getting him Scooby Doo, and about a dozen other animated things.

Mississippi Science and Nature Center and family shots

After a few false starts this morning (Mom’s phone steered us wrong in how to get to the museum, and then the kid museum wasn’t opening until noon), we got to the Science Museum.IMG_1015

And it has the coolest butterfly exhibit right now.  As part of it you go through a maze making decisions for the young caterpillar.  Here we are working together to move our caterpillar across the leaf.





And then we had to practice climbing from leaf to leaf.  By the way, do you know how hard it is to get pictures of three kids all looking the same way at the same time?



And then they became a chrysalis.


My kids have just told me “Rapunzel’s Mom is mean.”  I asked them if I should lock them in a tower, and they said, “No, then we’d throw you out the tower.”


Note to self, do not lock them in a tower.

IMG_1028 And then imagine I trusted my internet connection here enough to upload a cute movie of the kids pretending to be butterflies and trying to attract a mate.  I”ll pretend to upload it later.  Right now I’m trying to upload onto facebook a video of Superman talking to Jeff.


Wow, letting them watch Rapunzel turns me into the nicest Mommy ever.  I’m getting constant compliments of what a nice Mommy I am.  SCORE!



We back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and having fun at the best hotel EVER!


I mean seriously, we were swimming and they brought in a giant trash bag full of swim toys for the kids and they finished blowing it up.  If you ever go to Jackson, Mississippi stay at the Country Hotel and Suites.

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I love this scene in Rapunzel, “I am never going back, I am a despicable human being, BEST day ever!”

Okay, back to the point.  As the kids mostly happily played, Mom and I looked at pictures of me as a little kid, and pictures of my Dad.  Occasionally calling the kids over to see some especially grIMG_1050eat memory.  Like these two pictures.


And, I’ll leave you hanging on a funny story about my Mom………  No really, when this event happened a few years ago I nearly crashed my car in shock with what she said.

We’ve crossed another state border


But of course we had to stop at the Monroe zoo, which is AWESOME.  If you’re ever in Monroe, LA and you have a few hours to spare stop in and wander around.  It’s the perfect size for little guys, and it has a super neat train and boat ride, which sadly weren’t working when we went there.




The coolest part for the teacher in me was their “Small World” exhibit.  I know that’s not what they called it, but it had great explanations for how different insects make their sounds, and all sorts of other hands on ways to learn about insects.


My kids loved the nocturnal animals exhibit because they got to see all of the bats and other night animals.  Batman is currently quite obsessed with bats (which is ironic considering his nickname).



We traveled on for all of an hour and crossed the Mississippi.  Incidentally, I accidentally put the wrong initials in my phone to check the distance and was quite shocked to learn we had 19 hours to go, and then realized it was taking me up to Michigan……


I didn’t get my usual picture at the state line, but instead got a picture of us in front of the river.  The kids were suitably impressed by the size of the river.



We stopped in Vicksburg at the Coca-Cola museum there.  Coke was first put in  a bottle by the drug store there, and they helped with a lot of the early advertising campaigns.  Batman, who loves Coke, was quite happy to go through there and pose in front of the Santa coke ads.  And by the way keep an eye out next week for a post about Coca-Cola and Georgia (it was invented in Georgia, so it was one of our Georgia activities).  Batman was very disappointed he did not get to drink a Coke from the Coke Museum.  Poor guy.

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Of course the kids favorite thing about Vicksburg is an awesome park that is a block South of the Coke Museum.  I mean look at it.  It’s got a couple of awesome playscapes, wonderful water play area, and there’s a whole art area that I didn’t get a picture of.  Or, as my kids called it “Mommy, that’s the labyrinth.”


And now we’re in Jackson, MS and at our hotel for the night we’re about to leave and go to my grandparents house.  I can’t wait to see everyone.