Science Sunday: Insect field trip

Also known as, something that probably shouldn’t have been done at the beginning of November, but what the heck, that’s when we finished our study of insects.



Now, I have a very distinct memory of going to the Zilker Botanical Gardens this spring and seeing an amazingly large numbers of insects.  I noted this and intended to go back and look for more when we were actually studying insects.


Fast forward a few month and I spent a good month and a half playing tag with my friend who I wanted to go with for this excursion, and didn’t really move as fast as I 017should have.  So, we finally set out in November, yes I meant to write about this earlier, but was feeling lazy and November was crazy.


Our main discovery while we were there was monarch butterflies, which I was perfectly happy with because I love them.


020So, our first part having been a dismal failure we continued on to our next part of the field trip.

This was much more successful.  We successfully had a wonderful nature walk where the kids discovered all sorts of stuff, and many different things.




We checked out the natural wildlife in captivity.  Don’t you just love Batman in his hat?  That really cracks me up.





But as always the dinosaur dig was a huge hit, and the kids LOVED it!  And of course were absolutely filthy by the time we got home, so baths were necessary.






The cool new part for me was the discovery that the Austin Science and Nature Center has a whole new exhibit about weather and air pressure and stuff.  Most of it went over the kids heads, but they enjoyed looking at it.




And, the kids have discovered the trade in center where you can bring in cool things you find like plants or rocks and stuff and have the people help you identify it and earn points.  Those points can then be used to trade in for “cool stuff,” read animal skeletons and dead bugs.  I’m okay with the skeletons, not so much on the dead bugs.


Oh well.


And that finally concludes all of our insect studies, all 4 months or so of it……..

Science Sunday: Sword-fighting

003No, really I’m serious.  Okay, not really, but as we were sword fighting on Friday I realized there really is a lot of science involved.


As you’re jousting you have to figure out angles, okay that’s math.  But, the science part comes in when you get into the physics of having to brace yourself so you aren’t knocked off, or how much force to put into your “lance,” or in our case sword to knock your opponent off.



Yes, that is my view as we hacked and wacked at each other.  But think of the anatomy lesson they’re getting.


They’re learning what is a disabling hit, to the leg or arm, and what is deadly, most body shots or a shot to the neck.


Okay, I write this post mostly tongue in cheek, but have you ever thought about the learning opportunities that present themselves when you’re playing.  Why think about the lessons when you’re using a catapult.  Okay, so most families don’t have a toy catapult, but you really should get one, they’re a lot of fun.

Science Sunday: Insect records


We’ve slowly been working our way through insects because I wanted to be able to do butterflies much earlier this year, leading us to follow our science book backwards, but I digress.

Princess discovered about 4 or 5 lessons worth of life cycle printables I’d discovered and printed off.  Mostly for insects we hadn’t discussed yet, but a few for ones we had discussed.


She was super excited about them and proceeded to cut it out and put the whole thing together with a little help from me.  Since it all follows the same life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult), she mostly got them put together on her own, with only a little help.

Now, it’s not cut out quite as prettily as the ones I did by myself, but I’m much prouder of these.  Because my THREE YEAR old did it all by herself.

Doesn’t that make your mommy heart sing?

I know it does mine.

For those who are interested, here’s links to where I found these.

General list of insect resources
termite (who my boys really liked because the boys actually got to live in the colony)
ladybug (Princess’ favorite one)

Admittedly a lot of those you can find on your own just by following the chain of links once you start on the first one, but it’s handy sometimes to have it all listed together somewhere.

Science Sunday: Dinner time science

Oops, scheduled that for the wrong time there, I was wondering what was wrong……..

I’m pulling something from my stash of extra posts because I just didn’t get my post written in time this week, and I have a bunch to do to get ready for Sunday School tomorrow.  Which will probably lead to more posts for later this week.

Have you ever looked at your dinner and thought, “Why that’s a science lesson!”

If you have you’re a homeschooler, or an “afterschooler.”


So, we were at Red Lobster celebrating Jeff getting a major project done and Batman started asking about my crab.

How did he move his legs?  What was the hard thing in the middle of the meat?  What did he use the meat for?  What is the meat called?

So we talked through it all.  And I mean it all.  How the tendons (the hard part) are what he uses to move his muscles.  That the meat is his muscles.  That the outside part is his exoskeleton, and it is like armor.  Everything you can think of and more.

I’m sure the tables around us were looking at us very weird.  Very weird.  Good thing we got an early dinner, not too many people there.

So, you ever have something lead to a science lesson unexpectedly?

Preschool Corner: Daddy’s birthday party

Or, how to get thoroughly soaked while playing in the water and building a dam.

But, I thought that title was probably a little too long.


We met up with some friends for a picnic lunch to celebrate Jeff’s birthday at my favorite park, or one of my two favorite parks.

We got there to discover the playground was closed due to flood damage (and boy was there a lot of it, apparently that little creek rose about 10-15 feet, flooding about 30 yards away from the river and displacing some benches that had been sunk in concrete).011

But, I digress.   The other family’s kids started building a dam and my kids happily helped while trying to figure out such lessons like, how to stop the water.  How big a rock can I carry.

009And the personally most entertaining to me.  Superman’s quest to figure out how he could clean his feet without taking his boots off.

We’d outlawed that after discovering a large amount of broken glass.  We also had to outlaw the picking up of said broken glass, or clutching it tightly in your fist, Princess.  No really, it’s a bad plan.

He solved this problem by scooping up handfuls of water and pouring it into his boots.  He literally sloshed when he walked.  You could see the water splashing out.  But, it was a creative way to solve his problem.


It was interesting to see how older kids effect what my kids try to do.  Previously they hadn’t really shown much interest in building dams or creating a new tributary (as they are trying to do in this picture), but after seeing the other kids try they got very involved in the process.

Princess was inspired by their daughter to search for shells, and discovered a wide variety of fresh water clam shells.  Is it really a clam when it’s a square inch shell?  Probably, but it’s miniscule.

Which of course leads to fun discussions about what you can find in the river, and what is and isn’t a good idea to touch.

026So, all in all, it was  a smashing success of a party.  The parents had a blast talking together, and the kids got to have all sorts of fun sensory experiences and problem solving time.

And any party ending with ice cream is a good one, just ask Batman.

And for my future memory.  Batman is wearing the collared shirt and Iron Man boots.  superman has the non-collared shirt and camo boots (his soldier boots).  And someday I will get to be in pictures.  That’s one thing I dislike about being the photo person.  I’m never in any pictures.  Oh well.  Of course the birthday boy didn’t get to be in too many either.  Note to self, work on group shots and getting pictures of adults.

And thank you very much to Myrnie who pointed out to me that I had mispelled a rather unfortunate word that I used several times……. Sigh, my bad.  Hopefully, I caught all of those mistakes, thanks for emailing me that.

Science Sunday: Dogs


Sooooo……….  I’ll warn you right now, this post is not for the squeamish, or easily grossed out.  But, here are the uncensored things the kids have observed about Mac this week.
where he goes

That hole in his back is where he goes poop.  When his poop comes out it is soft.  But, if you leave it for a while it gets hard and black like a rock.
where he goes 2

This is where Mac goes potty.  He goes potty a lot.  He is a boy, at which point the boys were all set to go on about that, but I’ll spare you that particular detail.


He chews on stuff a lot, and we need to keep our shoes in a box so he won’t chew on them.  He likes to chew on our toys.

He likes to bite.021

He doesn’t know how to walk on a leash yet, and we have a lot of lessons to teach both puppy and kids.  He also doesn’t know how to come or sit.

He sleeps a lot.  He needs to nap a lot.  Why does he sleep so much Mommy?

So, any of you have something you learned from a new life experience?  Wow does that sound technical.

Science Sunday: Fireflies


This past week we’ve read about all sorts of beetles, from ladybugs to fireflies.  As soon as I realized we were studying them I tried to look up to see if there was any sort of experiment to explain how they light up.
I came up with nothing.  I saw lots of “go out and count how many fireflies you see,” type of thing, but we don’t really have them here in Texas.
So, I decided instead to have us be pretend fireflies.  This worked out super well because one of the episodes of “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That” was about fireflies so we incorporated that as well.

First we got our glowsticks and broke them.  Or rather the kids attempted to, and I ended up breaking them.



022 021

Then we went down to our local elementary school playground and took turns flashing our lights to signal different things.  The boys refused to flash their lights to get a girl to come to them because, and I quote “I don’t want the girl to come and eat me.”  That teaches me for telling them about how some females eat the male of their species.


But, they had a lot of fun flashing their lights to warn about spider webs, or other dangerous things.  I of course was the spider.  Why do I always get to be the bad guy?


039 038

And of course we had to try out the cool effect of waving them around in the complete darkness.


Seriously though the glowsticks were probably a lucky find for explaining fireflies because just like the fireflies glow it’s a chemical reaction and it doesn’t heat up like our lights do.  It’s a very efficient process as far as energy conversion goes.


Downside to this experiment now the kids are trying to convince me I need to let them walk around with them forever.  Oh well.


Have you ever had a lucky find that worked well for you?  I love finding those from time to time.

Science Sunday: More flooding

Since our school work this week pretty much was student directed, what with my running around like a madman trying to put together funeral arrangements, I thought to show you what was the result around my house of the flooding.




So, this is taken with my phone through the car windshield.  All of the roads around my house have many different creeks running across them.  So, this is a residential street, and as you can see the road is completely flooded.  Several houses in the area had to be evacuated.  What was previously not in the 100 year flood plain is again.



One of the major roads in the area was flooded.  I thought about taking a picture, but figured it’d be bad to do when most of the road is closed down, and it’s down to two lanes and we’re theoretically going 65.


Sometimes I do show the better part of valor, i.e. discretion.  Rarely.


And someone asked about my backyard.  The flooding probably got to about two feet tall at its highest over by the fence.  Our yard is graded to keep water away from the house, so while the back part was fairly deep in water (as you can see from last year’s flood), by morning it was down to about ankle height.




My theory on the flooding, this is part of why the Southwest gets so much flooding.  The ground tends to get dry and baked, and we tend to get torrential amounts of rain.  Because of how quickly all that rain comes it can’t be absorbed by the ground as quickly as it comes down, so it puddles up on top of the ground.


For those who are curious we did an experiment earlier that covered a little of this.


And for those who are wondering, the memorial service for my step-father was yesterday, and so in theory life should be getting back to normal, maybe.  Probably not, because I’m discovering there is a lot to do when someone dies unexpectedly.

Science Sunday: Rain

So, this past week it’s been raining.  Perfect opportunity to see how rain effects our world right?




To begin our experiment we gather four of the same cup, and chose 4 different places to put them.  We put two in the front yard, and two in the back.



We went to check on our cups a couple of times during the torrential downpour of that day.  After a few hours there was about an inch or so in the bottom of each cup.


The one  in the backyard next to the slide had all sorts of stuff in it, and the one next to the spout had been knocked over.  So we set it back up.



Right before going to bed we checked on all the cups and they were about half full.  And that night is when the real downpour started.


The next morning we went to check on the cups in the front yard and they were full and overflowing.  The kids put their hands in them and reported it was a little cold.



Then we went to the backyard.  First the cup by the spout was only half full.


Now, this is where the cup under the slide should be.  It’s not there.  Neither is the cushion that goes under the slide.  Our baby pool is also missing from this side of the yard.




We see all sorts of interesting evidence.  This 5 gallon bucket was empty, but now is full.



You can’t see it too clearly, but this is a ball of twine that had been unrolled and went across the entire backyard, and then across a large portion of the neighbor’s yard.




030029032   031

This is the state of our fence.  It was broken in 3 different places.


Can you see the evidence gathering for what happened?



034 033

We finally found the baby pool, over in the back corner of the yard.  Full to the brim.


So, what do you think happened?  If you want to know my guess, check out this post from last year, where the same thing happened in daylight so I could take pictures.


And for those who are wondering about the chicken mummy, come back on Wednesday to see it’s final state.

Science Sunday: Insect parts


Today’s Science Sunday is brought to you courtesy of my husband.  Can I just say he is the coolest husband ever?  I had to go to the dentist on Monday and asked if he’d be willing to read and discuss one of the sections in their science text book, and not only did he do it, but he went above and beyond the call of duty.


I was so amazingly proud of them when I got back.  I’d say it was almost worth getting that filling, but that would be a total lie.  Look at their drawings of the different body parts.  They did a good job of remembering what it was and being able to explain to me what makes an insect (3 body parts and six legs on the middle body part).



Of course being my kids they turned to the next page and drew all sorts of pictures.  I particularly like Batman’s (in the middle) with the insect that is attacking people, I think.  I’m not entirely sure, he explained this big long epic narrative to me about 3 days ago.


So, did any of you get to have some delightful experiences like that?  I love when things like that happen.