Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Fossils

The boys have been on a couple of fossil-hunting adventures this summer, so far. [Click to read Fossil Adventure #1 and Fossil Adventure #2.]

I wanted to share some of their finds. We're still researching and reading to identify the exact time period, but take a look! Fish, clams, and more...

LEGO Mindstorms: The Tritimer {by R}

This is my Tritimer. It is a start/stop timer that counts minutes. As you can see it is built out of Lego Mindstorms.

I called it the 'Tritimer' because it has three sections in it that slow down the speed so that it will take exactly one minute to spin around a full circle.

I have used no programing in this build because we can't get the programing software on our computer. I have used the trial and error method with my mom as timer. If it didn't go correctly, I would just tweak the gears so that it would.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fossil Hunting with a Friend {by R.}

Today we went on another fossil hunting trip. We went to the spot on Arroyo Seco Road. This was the same spot where we got lost trying to find it the first time. And, when we got there this time, we found all of our fossils.

There were two major differences between the last trip and this trip. The first major difference was that we came way more prepared. This time we brought more hammers, more bags, some stuffing for the rocks, and tape to hold together broken rocks.

The second major difference was that this time we brought our friend, F., along. When my brother has F. in the car with him it is a disaster, especially since I was between the two of them.

When we got to the site, F. got his tools and he loaned us some chisels. We went up the left side of the hill and my brother and my dad went up the right. While the others were finding a lot of fossils I climbed across to the middle. Then F. and I moved to the other side finding that it had more fossils.

After we got overwhelmed with the heat we ate sandwiches and drank root beer. Then we had another long drive home. It was quite an adventure.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Making Memories: Fossil-Hunting {by R}

  Fossil Hunting 
by R.

I woke up this morning on a regular day in summer. My mom told us to take good pictures but I did not know what I was supposed to take pictures of. Then my dad told us we were going fossil hunting. We were excited to get back on making our rock collection bigger.

My teacher, Mr. S. sent my dad some fossil field trip places to look at.

The first stop we went to is a donut store for breakfast. I got a filled, my brother got a coconut, my dad got a maple bar, and we shared an apple fritter.

Then  we drove by a vertical fault formation. All the other exposed walls had lines that were horizontal but this few square feet of rock were vertical. We would of stopped to check it out but there was no place to park the car.

Then we kept on driving until we came to the third stop. It was a huge hill that overlooked the whole Arroyo Seco watershed. There we found a great view and a few deer on the road. All of them were bucks.

On our fourth stop we came to a spot in the driveway where we can see these rock cliffs that came right out of the ground. They were huge! We all said 'whoa!' as it said in parentheses on the field trip paper.

Next, we came to a stop at the Carmel Valley Road. We turned right on Arroyo Seco Road as the field trip paper said. Then we kept on driving until we came to this park. They said we had to pay ten dollars to get in. My dad didn't have any cash so the lady said to go the country store and to buy something there. So we turned around and kept on driving. We couldn't find the store so we went back to the lady. She said that it is three miles out. So my dad set his odometer and we set out. When we found the store we got ten dollars, some good advice, and Gatorade. Then we went back to the lady and paid her.

In the middle of our hike we noticed that we were going in the wrong direction. The field trip paper said to go east and that was to turn left on the intersection. To make the ten dollars not for nothing, we spent some time in the river looking for cool river rocks.

Then we drove to the intersection and went left this time. We finally came to the fossil place we were looking for. When we looked for fossils we tons of clams and scallops. We collected a lot of clams and scallops and one fish.

We went home tired and with a lot of fossils.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Camo-ing the Prop Guns {Time Lapse}

What do you do when the NERF guns you want to use as props don't match? Well, you camo (verb!) them, of course. 

All I saw were leaves and sticks and puffs of paint. Then - voilĂ ! - we had a matching arsenal for R's birthday movie-making fun.

Pieces of a Puzzle

The Assignment
Each 5th grader was randomly assigned one of 50 wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces to decorate. The aim: to celebrate and memorialize their year together by producing a work of art to which all students would contribute a piece. The design and decoration of their puzzle piece should capture the student’s personality, interests, family and friends, and fond memories of the school year.

A Few of the Results

R's was mostly about aerodynamics and the periodic table. And I was shocked that he relinquished a model of the P-38 Lightning and a little R2-D2. "Mom, it is my favorite plane," he responded. True enough.

Learning to Code

A good friend of mine sent out a link earlier this year, about coding and why it's important to learn. I, largely, ignored it - sorry K! - but this week, I'm taking it to heart as I look over and see this...

R has been having a blast this week, programming his little arduino. He types in code and the lights on the board behave differently. First he had them blinking at different intervals. This morning he showed me how the light comes on until you cover it with you palm, then it turns off. Move your hand away and it turns back on.

Maybe I'm easily impressed, but I know that I couldn't do that.

Does your kid code? Do you? Would love to hear. Comment below, or email me at constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com.


Here are a couple of links I found this morning. I don't remember which one my friend originally sent me, but I will certainly be reading up on this more.

"Why all our kids should be taught how to code" on The Guardian, March 2012

Hold on to your hats!

As I am watching R. get drawn into the world of arduino* - he has hijacked my laptop to type code well past his usual bedtime - I realized that a blog might be a good way to chronicle his creations. All of our creations, really. We are 'the Maker Manns' after all. So, hold onto your hats and follow along, if you dare.

D's busy hands at the Maker Faire 2013

I'm fully cognizant that I am going to be left behind with some of this technical mumbo-jumbo. Then, you'll find me, creating magic of my own, in the kitchen or with my camera and laptop. Find me at Culinary Adventures with Camilla or view my forays back into the world of publishing at With a Pen and a Lens.

*If you're unfamiliar with arduino, check out the MAKE blog for a good introduction. Click here.