Monday, September 29, 2014

FIAR: Night of the Moonjellies

Our first "row" of first grade was Night of the Moonjellies, by Mark Shasha.  This is a touching story of a seven year old boy, Mark, who works at his Grandmother's seaside diner, MarGra's.  Mark finds a moon jelly on the beach one morning, and Grandma takes Mark on a special adventure one night after the diner closes to release the moon jelly into the night sea.  

I got all creative at lunch one day and made jellyfish and starfish.

I thought beyond a doubt that I was on the right track to being Very Cool.

But she promptly disassembled her lunch and made it into a horse instead!!  Ha!
Major points for creativity there!
(Emma is a horse FANATIC, and although she enjoyed studying sea animals this week, this lunch proves where her heart is.)

We had great fun making watercolor jellyfish one afternoon.

We also followed a simple recipe for making "sea glass" hard candy.  I'm generally intimidated by using a candy thermometer, but this recipe was super easy and quite delicious!  (It was also very pretty!)


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
6 T water

Stir together in heavy saucepan over MEDIUM heat until dissolved.  Use wooden spoon to stir.  Attach candy thermometer and let sit until mixture reaches 250 degrees (don't stir).  Add two drops of food coloring....don't stir....and continue to let sit until it reaches 300 degrees.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/4-1/2 tsp of flavoring.  (We used 1/4 tsp of orange extract.)  Pour onto well greased metal pan and cool completely.  

Cover with wax paper and tap with hammer to break into pieces.  Place pieces in zip lock bag with powdered sugar and shake to coat.  This gives the candy a dull, weathered look, like sea glass.

We had a tea party one night with chamomile tea and melon slices (just like in the book), and read the book aloud as a family.

By far the BIG HIT of our study this week was swimming with moon jellies!  I bought glow sticks at the dollar store and sealed them in bags of water to make "moon jellies".  We floated them all in the pool after dark one night and the kids all jumped in to swim.  Emma was DELIGHTED.  The night ended with the boys having moon jelly fights in the pitch dark across the pool volleyball net!  It was a blast!!

We ended the week with a Seaside Diner Dinner.

We bought sea-themed paper goods from the party supply store, and decorated our table with homemade hermit crabs (from Kiwi Crate), our sea glass candy, and our jellyfish in a bottle experiment.  We also hung art work from this unit in the window and dangled homemade jellyfish crafts from the chandelier.

The Menu:

Hotdogs (I didn't think our family would eat lobster rolls.)
Crunchy onion rings with fry sauce
Seaweed Salad (Cole slaw)
Jelly 'n Fish (Swedish fish in blue jell-o)
Coral Kabobs (Cantaloupe and Watermelon cubes on skewers)
Ocean Water (blue kool-aid and Sprite)

Sea horse project compliments of art projects for kids.

Throughout the week Emma colored and painted various fish and sea creatures from coloring sheets.  We combined them onto a sea mural, and also made aquariums out of paper plates (via pinterest).

Some other things we did during this row...
Chose jellyfish and lobsters as two animals to study more closely.
Learned the six New England states and located them on the map.
Studied our five senses, focusing particularly on sound words.
Focused on the character trait of responsibility, and made a book about things we are responsible for.

We celebrated this fun row with a field trip to the aquarium with our good friends.  I found a scavenger hunt printout to take with us.  We found lots of animals on the list.....but not a single jellyfish in the entire aquarium!  Go figure!  (Moonjellies are technically not jellyfish....they do not have tentacles and do not sting, but they are bio luminescent creatures that look very similar to jellyfish.)

Emma loved the polka dotted sting rays.  They were so fluid and graceful!

We were also tickled to see a sloth because we just read about sloths in our morning devotional.  We are working through a Bible study (My Big Book of 5 Minute Devotions:  Celebrating God's World) that uses all different animals to teach godly character qualities.  We read about the sloth to teach us patience!  Naturally!  This guy does look rather patient.....

It is fun when I can plan a field trip that my whole family will enjoy.  Since we have such an age gap, that is a challenge, but anything relating to animals is a hit with everyone.

The sea cow was my favorite exhibit.

This was a great row, and set the stage for an exciting year ahead.  Five In A Row is definitely Emma's favorite part of our homeschooling day, and we have certainly found a curriculum that is as much fun for me as it is for her.


  1. How clever! I dig those jellyfish sandwiches and your seaside diner! I know Emma had a ball! We row a lot alike! I look forward to more posts!

  2. LOVE this! Wow- wish I could be in your school :) :)

    Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog, it was so good to hear from you. You were an encouragement to me!!