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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: Chinchillas

238Over Christmas break we visited a friend who had a pet chinchilla.  Oh boy the fun and learning that abounded.
First we learned that chinchillas are nocturnal, and then we learned what they eat and a little bit about them.

But the most exciting part was watching them take a bath.  They come from a very cold and dry area, so they take baths in dust.  The kids thought this was hilarious.  I wasn’t there to see it (we girls were getting breakfast and snack supplies), but I was told ALL about it for the next several days.

So, I give you the “Chinchilla dust bath.”  ENJOY!

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………

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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: Identify that sea turtle

 

 

Yes, we’re still learning about sea turtles.  Last week was just the first part of the lesson.  Now we get into the real thing.  First I searched all over to find images of sea turtles to print out, and then ended up finding a great site, Sea Turtle Conservancy, and used their pictures of sea turtles to make our cards and identify the different types.

 

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Then we looked at Ridley, he’s my sea turtle I got in Galveston this summer.  I could have sworn I had a picture of Princess with him from earlier, she’s trying very hard to steal him from me.

 

I posed the dilemma of what type of turtle is Ridley?

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What do you think?  We debated long and hard about this.  Here are your choices: Ridley Kimp sea turtle, loggerhead turtle, green sea turtle, leatherback, Australian flatback, olive ridley, or hawksbill turtle?

 

I’ll come back and comment later with what we thought it was.  If you go to the website I linked to you can see pictures of the different types.

Science Sunday: Dentist visit

Science Sunday <a href=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_mfw&ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Fadvenofmommy-20%2F8001%2F217e276c-c4ad-4613-b0f2-2b3254c03fc0&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</a>
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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.

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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: Prepare to be grossed out…..

Science Sunday

 

This is the cry I heard as I innocently sat at my computer last week, “Mom!  There’s a dead bird in our back yard and Mac’s chewing on it.”

 

Now, I hadn’t fully woken up yet, and was still blinking at the computer screen.  But, I was galvanized into action, and immediately said, “Put the dog inside, and follow me.”

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Yes, I said that.  I grabbed my camera, and a handful of bamboo skewers because I sure as heck wasn’t going to let them pick up the dead bird or touch it.  But, think of what we could observe!

 

 

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Equipped with our handy dandy bamboo skewers we proceeded to gently examine the bird.  I tried to treat it with as much respect as possible, so we didn’t really poke it, just used the skewers to move feathers and point to things.

 

 

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First we noticed that his toes pointed different ways.  After much discussion we decided this was to help him grab onto branches and balance better.  It’s rather like how our thumb points a different way from the rest of our fingers.

 

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Then we talked about how the bird was missing feathers, and what could have caused that.  I personally think the bird was old, and just couldn’t survive much longer.  The kids of course blamed various different animals for killing the poor bird.

 

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Then we looked at his other side and noticed his feathers were different colors there and talked about how that is a form of camouflage because someone looking up when he was flying would have a harder time seeing him against the bright sky.

 

We also noticed there was a bit of blood around his eyes.  Which really was quite disturbing.  Then I took away the poor bird and disposed of him properly before any other animals tried to eat him more.  Poor guy.

 

And before I could stop them the kids ran around and collected a rather large number of feathers they found all over our yard.  I gathered those up into a bag that “I’m keeping somewhere special” and sent them in to wash their hands 5 times with soap and hot water.

 

Because yes, it was gross.  And yes, there was a definite oogey factor, but I also knew they were going to be talking about it and wondering about it anyways.  Might as well get a science lesson out of it.

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Afterwards I set them to drawing something they observed about the bird.  They were quite sure they wanted to bring in the feathers to the Nature Center so they could trade those in and get “an animal skull.”  Yeah…….  We’ll see.

 

We did not however get a science lesson from the partially pulverized dead snake we found in the yard.  That went straight into the trash.  I was more weirded out by that one because I had started off thinking it was a discarded skin, only to discover it wasn’t.  EWWWWW!

Oh and, if you only check the linky on Sunday, I highly recommend going back later in the week and seeing the posts added in later on.  There’s always some fun ones added in as the week goes on.

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……..

 

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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?).

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Science Sunday: Cow bones

Science Sunday

I dug this up out of my drafts because I didn’t have time to write the post I intended for today. It’s been one of those weeks. Unbelievably busy.

I’d wanted this to be further away from our chicken bone experiment, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, so to speak.

So, every time we eat steak my boys ask if they can have the bones and give them to Mimi’s dog.  They’re always very disappointed in the answer that we didn’t buy a steak with bones in it.

And then they’re even more disappointed to find out that most bones from cows are not okay to feed dogs because they splinter.  Oh the horrors and cruelty that we won’t give the dogs a bone, they cry in pain in anguish.

Okay, that last sentence might be an exaggeration, but they are disappointed.

008 So, finally one day we ate a T-bone and I saved off the bone.  I boiled all the meat off to get to just the bone, and then washed it off.  Yes I suppose I could have let them handle the bone just as it was after we ate the steak, but after their problems with following directions on sanitation before and having to wash throw out toys……..

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Then we observed the bone.  Here’s their comments:
Batman: “It’s rubbery.” describing the sides, and for the top, “It’s rough and it’s shaped like a Y.”
Superman: “It’s smooth.” for the sides, and for the top, “It’s like sandpaper.”
Princess: “It’s slippery and rubbery,” for the sides, and the top “is scratchy.”  A lot of things are scratchy right now.

It’s a fun simple science activity.  I tried to draw out their descriptions, but they weren’t interested in describing it more, mainly they were trying to figure out what kind of bone they could give to a dog because “dogs like bones Mommy.”

Don’t you just love simple activities like this?

Science Sunday: the next ER trip

Science Sunday
Notice, on Friday I’d said amusing, not good.  But, it did lead to a great discussion on the way to the ER.

So, as I was calmly making lunch on Thursday Batman was attempting acrobatics using our recliner and the sofa.  He slipped and fell face forward onto the tile.

Being the good Mom that I am I of course said, “What were you thinking?” as I scooped him up without looking and calmed him down.  After he’d calmed down a little I then went into diagnosis mode.  Looked at him and the large amounts of blood on his face and clothes, and said, “Let’s go to the doctor.”

So, everyone got dressed, because we OF COURSE were being lazy that day.

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And as we were driving there it turned into a science lesson.  Yes, a science lesson on  the way to the hospital.

See, the boys were worried that Batman was going to die because of all the blood that had come out.  They wanted to make sure it wasn’t too much blood.

So, we talked about what blood is used for and how it gets food to the rest of the body and brings oxygen .  It made for a good distraction while we were driving and helped keep everyone calm.

Then later, when we’d gotten home and I’d had a chance to read up on about how much blood a little guy has in him, we talked some more.

An adult human has about 5 liters of blood in them.  Batman is less than half of an adult human, so I averaged that out to about 2 liters.  And that’s when inspiration hit.

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The 2 liter bottle of Sprite is about how much blood Batman has in his body right now.  They were all duly impressed, I was less impressed when they started talking about drinking said Sprite, but what could I expect.

That little cup on the bottom is about how much blood he lost from his “bleeding owie.”  I figure he lost about a 1/4 cup of blood, give or take.  That looks like how much is staining the clothes and jammies, and what soaked through the paper towels.
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And amusingly enough I’ve gotten several comments from friends on Facebook saying “Now I’ll be able to tell your twins apart.”

Yeah, until his brother gets the same injury a week later, that’s what happened last time.  A week later his brother got the exact same head wound, and then a week after that the boys dropped a shovel on Princess’ head and she got a nice little scar on the top of her head.053

Oh well, it’s been at least 3 or 4 months of no ER trips, so this is good.

You guys have any less exciting life experiences you’ve turned into science lessons this week?  I promise next week to have a less bloody post……….  Maybe I should go ahead and schedule that for the sake of sanity………