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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Week 7:

Half Term Homework - Solids, Liquids and Gases:

LittleBit's Learning Log for half term was to complete 2 pages of her learning log on this term's topic. We decided that as we lack the kitchen of Heston Blumenthal, we probably weren't going to get all three on a plate without having ice, water and steam, which is less exciting than you might imagine. However, one of my colleagues mentioned something he'd seen on the BBC website... Bottle Rockets. Now that sounded like exactly the thing we needed. Take one solid and one liquid, mix them up to create a gas and some other liquid, and an explosive reaction that can launch a bottle into, well, about 10 feet in the air. Still, it was science, and fun.
How it works: The bicarbonate of soda and vinegar combine to form water and carbon dioxide (and also a very small amount of sodium acetate, which is used in reusable hand-warmers, but is otherwise unimportant for this experiment), the carbon dioxide pushes the water down, forcing the cork out of the bottle, and the bottle goes upwards.

So, LittleBit (with some help from Daddy, while I videoed) made a bottle rocket, and then wrote about it for her homework, and the idea is, we upload a video and print a QR code to stick into her learning log, so her teacher can see it. Which did lead to me learning some very basic video editing, mainly just splicing a few short videos together. However.

What we've been watching

I was very tempted to talk about all the television shows that we're watching at the moment, but a few series' are just coming to the end, and to be honest, the list got somewhat lengthy, so just the films we've seen at the cinema... of which, there've been a few!

The Space Between Us - PG - 3.5/5; LittleBit and I went to see this one. The premise is that a lady astronaut heads off on a mission to Mars and it isn't until they're on the way that she finds out that she's expecting. Not wanting to cancel the mission, she has the baby in the new space colony on Mars, and sadly dies. For reasons, the baby is kept a secret, and raised, on Mars by the scientists there until he is 16, when he is able to travel to Earth for the first time. On Earth, he goes to meet a girl he's become internet friends with, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn't believe he's from Mars! Alas, having grown up away from Earth's gravity, he becomes unwell whilst on Earth, but is determined to find his father, from only a photograph his mother had. I don't want to do spoilers and tell you how it turns out, but it's more of a YA romance than a sci-fi film. LittleBit loved it, and it was in parts moving and funny. There is one scene which includes teenagers being naked (not visible or graphic) but may be unsuitable for 'younger viewers'. Overall, it's a nice film, with a well thought out plot and a few plot holes, but they can be ignored easily enough.

LittleBit and I also went to see Hidden Figures - PG - 5/5; This is based on true story of the scientists behind the first American to go into Orbit. Three scientists in particular. Katherine Goble/Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn, all of whom were African American women, and this takes place in Virginia, in 1961. It wasn't just their skin colour that was against them, at one point it's pointed out that there is no protocol for a woman to attend a safety briefing. They were fighting prejudice on two fronts. I have no idea how historically accurate this is, but I think it's important for women today to know how hard the women who came before us had to fight for recognition in the workplace, but the fight to be able to use a loo closer to your desk than half a mile away? The fact that those women put up with that for so long is testament to their fortitude, because I'm pretty sure I'd have given up long before then, and they kept fighting. This is a truly moving film, and the very end credits showed the actresses photographs being replaced by photographs of the real women almost had me in tears.

Beloved came with us to watch Great Wall - 12A - 4/5; This is an historical adventure film, set on the Great Wall of China around 900 years ago. Matt Damon is a mercenary looking for 'black powder'. I don't want to say much more about the plot than that - avoid spoilers, avoid trailers, avoid the write ups about it, avoid reviews if you can, just go and watch it and enjoy.

And because it's a 15 rating, only Beloved and I saw John Wick, Chapter II - 15 - 4/5; It's very definitely the second of three, and for gratuitous fun, the film is good. It helps that they've just filmed the action without that horrific shaky camera some films use to either achieve a lower age rating, or because their action sequences are 'less good' (that's the polite term, right?). It is pretty violent, even I looked away a few times, but it is good. Alas, the ending is slightly less satisfying, because it needs to lead on to something else.

Books

The book to read for Book Club was The Rescue Man, by Anthony Quinn - you can read more about what book club thought of it over at the Runcorn Readers Blog.

I also read Tickling the English by Dara O'Briain. I do enjoy his comedy. We've enjoyed his stand-up routines (I can reccommend them on CD/audiobook provided there's no sensitive ears in the car), and we love Mock the Week and the new version of Robot Wars, but he's well known as a clever person (love watching his astronomy shows with Brian Cox too). The book is a sort of stand-up tour diary and also an Irish man's views on the English National Identity. I spent the entire time reading it laughing, which was awkward on the train on Tuesday, when LittleBit was trying to read her book too and kept asking what I was laughing at, it wasn't always anything I couldn't explain to her, but sometimes, she didn't find it funny, and other times it was just difficult to explain. There are a great many tangents, but I found them all to be anywhere from amusing to laugh-out-loud funny. The chapters are short, it's easy to read and full of observational comedy gems. 

No proper photo this week, I spent too much time editing videos and editing the one at the top of the page for LittleBit's homework, but am hoping that normal service will resume next week.

I did bake Tana Ramsay's Lemon Drizzle cake though, and even though it's slightly better done around the edges than I would have liked, and I didn't like the loaf tin and so I lost the corner of the cake taking it out, it still tastes really good.




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