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: Shrimp

Science Sunday

I just heard about a linky sponsored by Apologia Science, so I’m gonna link this up to Homeschool Science Show and Tell!

I’m kinda thinking I need a “grocery science” category, because as I was finishing up our science experiment for the week I realized a large majority of our science experiments come from there.

001Case in point.  This week we were reading about different crustaceans, and I thought excellent let’s check out the lobsters at the store.

We had a lot of fun observing the different parts and remembering why the water is cold (keeps the lobsters complacent and from needing to eat).

I asked if we could touch the lobsters, but they’re not allowed to touch except with gloves on, and I was rather expecting that answer, but figured I’d give it a shot.


That night after dinner we explored the 6 shrimp I got after looking at the lobsters.  I considered getting some crab too (what a great excuse to get crab, right?), but the crab is already cut in half and doesn’t have the exoskeleton on it.  Kinda takes away some of the science lesson, and thus my excuse to get crab.


We went through and looked at their swimmerets, and discussed their exoskeleton, which is tough and brittle.  Then we looked at the tail, talked about it for awhile.


Jeff joined in the lesson at this point, and after having pulled the tail off one, pointed out the long thin brown thing you can see in the picture (thank goodness for zoom).  That is the shrimp’s lower intestine.  Then we talked about how the butcher (or someone else) had already taken the head off and removed most of the organs.

Let me tell you that was the most fascinating thing EVER to them.

Afterwards they filled out the lapbook portion about shrimp and drew pictures.  Oh, and they all stole Jeff’s shrimp.  Back when we were on our Christmas trip they all tried shrimp and swore they didn’t like it.  On Wednesday when I only got a little they all decided they loved it and stole all of poor Jeff’s shrimp.

Here’s a few fun ideas from this past weeks link-ups:

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational has a fun way to learn about spiders (I know my boys would love this).

All Things Beautiful did an experiment with the connection between taste and smell (FYI one of my boys has those same jammies).

Learning Ideas K-8 has a fun anemometer, homemade wind speed measurer.  I didn’t know you could make one at home.

And one last one:

The Learning Hypothesis gave us a link to the science behind play dough.

Science Sunday: Crabs and Lobsters

Science Sunday


I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably mention it several more times in our science studies: Do not underestimate the value of a good field trip to the pet or grocery store.




We just read up about the various body parts of crabs and lobsters, so while I was out with the kids on Friday we stopped by the pet store and looked at their little brown crabs.  I was hoping for some hermit crabs, but this store didn’t have any.  You can see the crab down by Princess’ hand


That’s him all blown up.  It gave us a chance to look in real life and find eye stalks, his carapace, his walking legs, and his claws.  I had intended to go and check out the lobsters at the grocery store as well to compare, but the kids were not quite ready for that.

All Things Beautiful posted what happens to air when it gets cold.


Changed by the Maker shared about hermit crabs and has a cool video about molting (and yes I’m showing this to my kids on Monday).


So, do you have a favorite place to go for field trips?

Science Sunday: frogs

Science Sunday
I thought it’d be good to review our study of frogs.

We read this book and also reread the section on frogs and toads in our science book.

Afterwards we talked about the differences between frogs and toads.


Earlier I had gone over to my swimming creatures pinboard and found this idea by Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational (printable included there).  She had linked it up to Science Sunday right after we’d studied frogs and toads, so I didn’t do it then, but saved it as a review activity for a day when the kids wanted a craft and I wasn’t up for a big craft.

So, they happily colored and talked to me about the differences.

Frogs have longer legs for hopping, and have smoother skin (generally speaking).

Toads have shorter legs and have bumpier skin.
We also looked at the difference between frogs and toads for more information.

By the way my boys decided their frogs were poisonous, so they colored them bright colors to warn predators they were poisonous.

It was even more impressive when we found a toad in a neighbor’s front yard and they correctly identified it, and then spent 10 minutes chasing the poor thing around the yard.

It’s so much fun when they show off what they’ve remembered from earlier lessons.

I’m also going to try and start showing off some posts that were linked up in previous weeks.  So, here’s a few that stood out to me:

Changed by the Maker showed off her artificial gravity experiment.

 And Next Gen Homeschooler made plastic using milk as part of her Letter M studies.  I know it is bad grammar to start off a sentence with a conjunction, but I’m lazy.

That’s it for this week, I can’t wait to see what ya’ll have done!

Science Sunday: Armadillo

Science Sunday

Earlier this week Jeff told me he saw an armadillo as he was leaving for work wandering around our yard.  I was pretty excited, because armadillos are common to our area, but you rarely see them alive.


Armadillos have poor eyesight and their instinct when scared is to freeze and then jump up into the air very high to scare the predator.  That does not go well when the predator is a car, and they usually don’t survive………


So, you can imagine I was pretty excited when I saw one outside the next morning.  I got all the kids outside and we watch him run around and reviewed what we knew of armadillos.



Armadillos are nocturnal, that means they usually come out at night.  They can’t see very well, but can smell very well.  The bad eyesight was reinforced when we heard him bump into several things in the bushes.





Armadillos like to dig A LOT.  We looked at the holes in the ground he had dug last night, which you can see behind him.  I asked the kids why they dig, what are they trying to get, and they answered “bugs,” and they were right.  Armadillos eat primarily grubs and insects in the ground. 


When I asked how they dig, they said they have claws on their front feet like Mac (our dog) does.  He can dig tunnels like Mac tries to also.


One thing that surprised me was how noisy he was on the sidewalk.  His claws are so long in front that they clicked rather loudly in the morning air.


And of course Batman had to pretend to be an armadillo and move just like the armadillo did…….  It was great.

Science Sunday: The Nature Center

Science Sunday

We have an absolutely amazing nature center here in the Austin area.  If you are ever vising here I highly recommend it.

It’s calming, it’s a rescue zoo for local animals that can’t be adapted back to the wild, and the thing my kids were obsessed about recently, you can trade in your nature finds to get different ones, mainly skeletons.

Or that’s all my boys wanted.

028A few weeks ago we saw a dead lizard being eaten up by a swarm of ants.  This made for a quick fascinating nature observation.  Especially when a few days later we saw that now the lizard was just a skeleton.

So, Superman quite happily scooped it up into a plastic bag and spent the next two weeks begging to go down and trade it in.

He and his brother and sister also scooped up a couple of pocketfuls full of rocks and proudly took them to the nature counter.

She took the skull out and let them observe it and talk about what they knew about the lizard.  The kids remembered it was greenish brown with some blue.  So she got out her reptile and amphibian book and found a green anole for us.  Then we found out what it was and we got to talk about it for a while.

Then came the cool part.  Or to me.


Then we started talking about the rocks and she explained about how most rocks in our area are limestone and a lot of these rocks looked like limestone.

And to make sure she pulled out an acid (HCl) and put a drop on each one.

It bubbled up just like baking soda and vinegar does.  So, over half of our rocks were limestone.

Now, according to her if I put some vinegar on limestone it will react the same way, just not as impressive.  I’m eager to find some limestone to try.

Then we headed off to take lots of pictures for our hero story, which is the subject of another post someday…….

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!  Great way to encourage writing with their own personal paper.

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: why is the tree losing its leaves?

Science Sunday


Our kids were each given when they were born a tree.  I think it is a very neat tradition that our friend started for us, and now the kids have decided the big huge live oak tree in our backyard is Mommy and Daddy’s tree/

But, earlier this week the boys looked outside and saw their trees were losing leaves.  This led to the question if it was fall yet, to which I replied no……



So, that got us to thinking why would a tree lose its leaves early?


Well, first we talked about why does a tree lose its leaves in winter and what does a tree use its leaves for?


A tree loses its leaves in winter because it doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to keep the leaves healthy, and this helps the tree conserve energy.


Then we remembered a tree uses its leaves to help it get more food from the sun, but it needs lots of water to grow the leaves and keep them healthy.


And how long has it been since we got a rain storm of any significant amount?  Over 3 months.  I think even longer than that.  I don’t really remember any spring rain.


According to this, Austin is in one of the worst droughts ever.  So, we all agreed that the tree is losing its leaves to help protect itself against the lack of water.  And after a quick google search, we’re proven right.


Why are trees losing their leaves so early this summer?

Science Sunday: Whale Sounds

We’ve started learning about whales and dolphins and as I was reading about them it brought up all sorts of questions about their sounds, so I did a quick you tube search and played the different sounds.  I thought I’d save ya’ll the search and share what we listened to.


I also couldn’t resist a few for the boys of the different whales hunting:

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.