Our middle gent turned 7 last week.
Sniff. Seven??? Already??? Can't your sweet momma have one more year of delightful six? Excuse me for a moment while I collect myself. Alas, and hooray!, it seems I get a year of delightful seven instead, which is just as marvelous.
He asked for chocolate cupcakes, and we all decorated. The frosting was really that bright blue. Yowza!
For his birthday, he got the new Playmobil Sphinx with a Mummy. And, way cool, some Tomb Raiders with Camels! Let's side track for yet another moment. (Bear with me.) We've been studying Egypt. Our Egypt study has stretched several months past our timeline because the fine young gents have been so fascinated by the ancient Egyptians, middle gent in particular. We've even priced airline tickets to Egypt, mostly to explain why we're not going. He's not even deterred by the fact that it's blazing hot in Egypt. He wants to sail on the Nile River, visit the Sphinx, and go inside a pyramid. "Someday, Mom," he promised earnestly, "I'll go to Egypt with you." I certainly hope so, my darling.
To my point. Playmobil sells a Pyramidtoo. It's pretty awesome. It's also pretty expensive, and they were out of stock at the store for which we had a 50% off certificate. So, no pyramid. A fact my fine young gent noted. "Hmmm. We need a pyramid."
Note the "Teachable Moments" label at the bottom of this post. My poor gents.
"You're right, honey," I said. "Let's build a pyramid!"
We started with paper:
We printed several pyramid templates. The gents and I spent a happy half hour cutting and folding paper pyramids from different kinds of templates. I didn't do a lot of teaching or talking. (I know, right? Me! I didn't talk a lot. Maybe I should go lie down.) I just let the different templates, which ended in the same pyramids, work for themselves.
My fine young gent noted that the little paper pyramids weren't quite big enough. So I pulled moving boxes out of the attic. Then the real work began.
"How am I going to make a template for you?" I asked the gents. They blithely asked me to print one. Then they said, "Oh. Yeah," when I reminded them of the limitation imposed by the size of our paper. They were a little stumped, so I measured the templates with them...each side of the base was the same length because the base is a square. Let's measure the edges of the triangles that make up the sides....OH!
Fortunately, loving math-brain was available to work with our eldest gent:
They did it the math way, with multiplying and such. I helped middle gent. I didn't want to think that hard, so we did it the measuring and observing way, recreating the template by deciding how long our sides should be then copying the model. Fortunately again, loving husband had to go to work, so eldest gent and I created the largest pyramid together the measuring and observing way, which meant that he got to see how both equally valid methods ended with the same results. He cut it and folded it almost all by himself.
Ancient Egypt has taken up most of our living room floor.
Now we just need a white-walled palace from which the Pharoah and his soldier can dangle the captured tomb raiders.
The template the boys chose, as our boxes were rectangular. You have to check out this whole site: Paper Models of Polyhedra Could it possibly get any more math-awesome?
Pyramid template at Do To Learn Kids
And from our beloved Enchanted Learning: Make a Pyramid