Science Sunday: Is this a real animal?


On a recent visit to the Mayborne museum we discovered this little guy.  It cracked me up to read about him.
In case you can’t read the picture:
1.  It is related to the kangaroo, bandicoot, opossum, and wombat.

2.  The only marsupial found outside of Australia.

3.  Young are carried in the marsupium (pouch) for three months before showing their face to the world.

4.  Mate for life and are loyal to their mate.

5.  Orthlocks come out at sunset.  The Huoco Indians believed the creatures come out to view the dying sun.

jackalope6.  The orthlock is NOT to be confused with the Jackalope which everyone knows is a fraud!

The picture to the right is a jackalope.  Obviously a fake, while the orthlock is not……

So, we started discussing their opinions, is it a fake, and why?  They pretty much all agree it’s obviously a fake because no animal has both fur and feathers.  I have to say I think they’re right on that count.

I just got back in town late tonight and the post I had drafted featuring lots of people got all messed up and my brain is fried.  So I assure you there were many awesome posts this past week, but the hotel I was at last night did not let me get the post all written up because it decided it did not know “what this thing called an internet is.”

Plus side, I got to go to my first ever homeschool convention and it was a LOT of fun!

Science Sunday:

Science Sunday

Way back when we were studying Thomas Edison I got Snap Circuits Jr. to do with the whole group, but one of the other moms convinced me not to because of the large numbers of kids involved at the time.  So, I’ve been saving it for the perfect “Mom, I’m bored….” activity.  Aside from my standard response of “Go clean _________”, that answer they don’t like so much.



Well, earlier this week Jeff took Batman to work with him, leaving me with Superman and Princess.  I was at a bit of a loss what to do with 2 of the 3 kids, I knew if I did any art projects Batman would be sad he missed it, and I didn’t want to do any lesson from our curriculum because then Batman would be missing out on the work……  You get the idea.



I got the kit out and we got to work trying out different experiments with it.  I have to say I highly recommend this as a way to introduce early engineering and electricity, you can’t really hurt yourself or seriously cause any problems because of the design.


The projects are straight forward (or at least the first few), Superman and Princess were able to do them with some help, and after completing the first project once were able to repeat it without much help from me.


I foresee this being something we fiddle around with from time to time as we delve into it more.  This will also be great for answering their many questions about electricity and such stuff…….


Cool posts linked up last week:

Cloud in a bottle from All Things Beautiful.

Solids and Liquids using melted crayons from Learning in Mayapur.

Pine Cone Hygometer from Tiger Chronicles.


How about you guys?  This is probably the most open-ended science kit I’ve ever seen.  It has about 100 projects you can do in this one kit, and there is a lot of opportunity for hands on learning.  Have you found any kits like this one?  There’s several others in the series that I can see eventually buying, in particular the one for making cars.

Science Sunday: My First Magnet Kit

I got this a few years ago when I had a coupon to a children’s museum.  It’s a neat little kit, and it’s been sitting in my closet waiting for the best time for it.

Well that time came when I needed magnets for digging up the Hunley.

And the kids loved it, and played with it for an hour afterwards.  I did have to split up the set into 3 sets and rotate the kids around the different ones to cut down on arguments.  It was insane on that matter, but otherwise a well spent hour.
This time was mostly free form experimentation, what could I do with them, what couldn’t I do type of thing.  Eventually we’ll actually get to the experiments in the book.  But, for then it was a great type of playing around.

So, I wrote this post a few months ago, and now I’m finally getting to post it.  I’m feeling kinda lazy and rather tired after this past week.  It’s amazing how much you take for granted comfortable beds and the ability to send your kids to their room or outside for a few minutes of quiet.  I’m looking forward to getting home and sleeping in my own bed. 

Science Sunday: rabbits and bunnies and what was in the yard

Science Sunday

This past week we didn’t get much school done because we went up to help my mother-in-law who had just had back surgery.  I was wondering what I’d be writing on, but then the perfect post fell into my lap, so to speak.


“MOMMY!!!!  Come now, there’s a bunny outside and you have to come see it!”


So I hurried out to see the rabbit.  And we slowly walked around the yard following it and the rabbit stopped and just sat there for the longest time.



So, I challenged Superman to slowly walk up and see if he could touch the rabbit, because it was seeming fairly tame.


I instructed him on how you walk up to wild animals, and how slowly you have to move.



He was about three feet away when she startled and we saw these little guys…….  Aren’t they cute?


Which of course led to a discussion about rabbits and how old are these guys?  After much observation we had a big debate going.  The boys all thought they had just been born.  Princess thought they were a few days old, and I thought they were about a week old.


After a quick search online we found out babies open their eyes at 10 days old.  So, that means they’re quite likely 2 weeks old.


We also found their burrow, but didn’t want to get too close for fear of collapsing it, or scaring the mom away.


Pretty cool discovery though, wouldn’t you say?

Science Sunday: How Big is a Whale?

Science Sunday

We finished up the chapter on whales and dolphins, but I didn’t think they were quite grasping how big these animals were.  If I read to you a whale is 100 feet long would you know how long that is?



First we measured the kids to get a baseline of how far a distance is.


We also tried to measure Mac, but he wasn’t so cooperative.




Then we measured out the different whales and dolphins using 10 feet measurements with our tape.  This picture is the length of a Killer Whale, 30 feet.


The kids were fairly impressed, but then we measured  the Sperm Whale.


That is a distance of 110 feet.  The kids were very impressed that I was almost all the way across the street to be that far away.


I did this for about 8 different whales and dolphins, but you get the idea, and some of these just aren’t as impressive.  I mean being 8 feet away when you take a picture is just a normal picture.


But, they do now remember how big a whale is.

Science Sunday: owl pellet

Science Sunday


I have to admit, I probably had time to write my post earlier this week, but I decided I NEEDED to sew a dress.  Yes, and I wore it to church today, but it was so cold inside I wore a sweater the entire time, so no one saw my pretty new dress.  WAAAHHHHHHH.


Okay, enough pouting.  Now to relieve your wondering about the rat skull, for those who were wondering.


I picked 3 of these up at Hobby Lobby a few months ago and have been waiting for just the right time to let them have at it.


Now, these are not real owl pellets, nor is it a real skeleton (I discovered after buying them), but the plus side is you don’t have to worry about the kids remembering to wash their hands, and you know for sure it’s a complete skeleton.

dissecting an owl pellet


I set them each up with a spot at the table and some bamboo skewers to pull it apart and observe the different parts in it.


Very quickly we discovered and decided the skewers were not necessary, because it came apart fairly easily (the gray outer material felt like dryer lint to me).



Than we spent some time carefully pulling everything off of the bones and talked about why the owl would spit all of this up.


And finally we looked at the bones and decided what parts of the animal it was, and what type of animal it was.  The boys and Princess switched.  She really wanted the bird one and they wanted the “rat,” though in reality it was a mole.  I guess a mole is rather like a rat.


In theory we could have glued it onto a piece of cardstock and shown off our completed skeleton, but the kids were having way too much fun figuring it all out.  And like I said, Superman carried around that silly skull in his pocket for several days.  He wants to take it to the Nature Center so he can trade it in for another skull…….




By the by, I’m loving that I can get emails now from linky tools whenever someone links up, which means I’ll be visiting everyone’s links sooner!  I love hosting because I see so many great ideas, if you don’t take the time to visit all the links you truly are missing out on some amazing discoveries and ideas.

Science Sunday: Batman’s own design

Science Sunday

The other day Batman found our catapult and got it out and started fiddling with it.

And then he started experimenting with it.  He wanted to see how many things the toy he was launching would go over.

So, he lined up several dog toys, some dirty socks, a pair of scissors, a toy car.  And launched it!

As far as I know it made it all the way over, but it’s hard to know for sure with all he was doing and everything he kept adding to his experiment.

It’s not much, but the kids spent the week up at the in-laws and then they all came down here, so it’s been a little hectic!

Science Sunday: Dentist visit

Science Sunday <a href=””> Widgets</a>

Or the one where I have to face that “My babies are growing up!”

Also known as, my boys are about to lose their first baby teeth.


The kids got to find out all sorts of stuff as we went to the dentist, I love our dentist (and that’s saying a lot because I hate going with a passion), and they do such a great job of explaining things at the kids’ level.

So, they explained all about “sugar bugs,” which is why you need to brush your teeth, and why you need to not eat too much sugary foods.

She was also able to explain to the kids why it was their mouths were hurting sometimes recently.  They got to look at x-rays of their mouths and saw how the new teeth are growing in.

Don’t you just love it when science is nice and simple?  It was such a great learning experience for everyone!

Sigh, helps if you schedule for the right time……

Science Sunday: What we learned at Moody Gardens

Science Sunday


142When we were down in Galveston we went by Moody Gardens, which I LOVE with a passion.  I think I could happily sit there and watch the fish swim by for hours.


I mean look at that picture, isn’t it peaceful?  Makes me wish there was one in Austin, and not somewhere four hours away……..



We all got to see our favorites.  Batman got to see manta rays.  I got my turtles.  Princes got to see penguins, and Superman got his sharks (do you know how hard it was to get a decent picture of a shark?).



There is so much to learn there.  Especially since we’re starting on our study of swimming creatures.  We’d already read large portions of the chapter about rays and sharks.  So, it was fun to apply some of what we knew, and then afterwards as we’re finishing up our chapter on sharks it’s been a great help to be able to go back and look at the pictures to help us remember things.




This was one of the most helpful pictures.  See most sharks don’t attack people because they want to eat people.  Mostly it’s because we look like their prey.  Look at the images there.  After observing it for awhile the kids decided that we looked like a sea lion, and that’s why sharks attack.





Oh, and because I’m crazy like that I decided to make some fun seek and finds, which I’m going to share with ya’ll.  Hopefully you guys enjoy it (click on picture to go to the download), I know my kids like hidden picture puzzles and the like, so we’ll see if it’s as big a hit as I’m hoping……..

ocean find it



And as a bit of amusement notice how much the kids have grown since we were there almost two years ago.


Science Sunday: Beach science

Science Sunday

Well, I was going to give you a link to the two Reading Rainbow DVDs we watched this week all about the sea life, but Amazon has no clue what I’m talking about, and youtube just gave me a bunch of strange links.

After his sun burn is much betterBut, if your library happens to have these:  Seashore Surprises, and Dive to the Coral Reef; get them.


We watched these one day while Jeff was laying there in misery with his horrible sun burn, and then the kids, Mom, and I headed off to the beach giving Jeff some much needed “no kids trying to touch my sun burn time.”  If the kids had their way that’s how they’d watch TV……..





We wandered up and down the sea shore to find some of the things we saw in the video and of course to find SHELLS!


One thing we learned after watching the videos and reading our shell guide that the kelp that comes ashore is a good way to find sea shells.




And as you can see there was a lot of kelp to look through.  A LOT.  As we were leaving we saw construction vehicles moving it out of the way.  Previously there had been no real kelp to speak of.  After a quick google search on my part I discovered we were in PRIME kelp season.  Which also seemed to coincide with when they’re at their busiest (May to August).


So, there was a lot of picking through kelp to find shells (which will become a whole series of Science Sunday posts as we do some experiments with them), and watching the surf to find the coquinas we had just learned about thanks to Reading Rainbow.


I wanted to capture a video of them, but figured someone already had at some point, and I was right, so this is a cool video to show your kids about life as a coquina shell.