Science Sunday on Saturday: Louisiana Crawdads

Science Sunday


So do you say Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdaddy?


We read one of the Johnette Downing books I referred to earlier, “Why the Crawfish Lives in the Mud?”  You like how Aunt Tara got suckered into reading to them when visiting?

Afterwards we took some time to read through it again more slowly and we talked about what was true in the book (where crawdads live, what the eat) and what wasn’t true (the animals talking, crawfish being a trickster).


Sigh, and sigh again, I have no pictures of them doing this.  None, my computer ate them, bad computer.


My follow on was going to be to study one from the grocery store, like we did shrimp, but timing never worked out right.  Maybe we’ll check it out again someday and do that.


Have you ever looked for truth in fiction books?



A couple of weeks ago Mama to 4 Blessings linked drawing out a primeval reptile’s head.  I love the visual of that, and we forgot to do that when we covered that chapter.

I loved these snakes over at Learning Hypothisis to demonstrate gravity.

Over at All Things Beautiful she found these great worksheets on whales and a few other fun things on the course website for Apologia Swimming Creatures.  I keep forgetting to check these out.

Books 4 Learning reviewed a cute picture book about insects this week.  I’ve pinned it for next time we get to Flying Creatures.

Science Sunday: shells, really the last one

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!

This activity comes from my Swimming Creatures pinterest board.  Over at the Crafty Classroom she put together a great sea shell printable identifying them to the best of her ability.  I tried to look for some others to add to my collection, but didn’t find any.  Does anybody know of any other shell printables?
We went through our shells and slowly sorted them into the different types.  We ran into several which didn’t quite fit the pictures we had, so at that point it got into our best guess.

This is a great way to talk about classification and the minor differences you can find in things.
What makes this one a whelk and this one a conch shell?

Of course eventually it turned into a boys versus girls thing.  That didn’t go over quite so well because both boys would pick the same type of shell and say, “This is ____________ (fill in the blank of a child’s name they know) and he’s part of the boy group.  There’s more boys than girls.”

Yeah, and that would be when I ended that activity.

However, the concept is still sound, and they are still talking about it a few weeks later, so I guess over all it was a win.

Fantastic Five did a fun activity making their own constellations, she based it off a similar constellation post from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational.  It was fun to see someone doing what someone else had linked up to Science Sunday!

Alex Nguyen Portraits had a fun experiment of How many pieces of styrofoam can fit in the can?  You have to go there to see the fun twist she had in it.

So, I guess in the end it was a mixed result.  Sigh………


Science Sunday: How to age bivalves

This was going to be the last shell post, and then I realized I had a bit more to tell you about.


With bivalves as they get older they add new ridges.  This particular shell has an excellent example of it.  You can see the ridges very clearly.  We went through the different bivavles and looked to see if we could guess how old it was.  I thought at first that it was supposed to be one ridge per year, but that doesn’t make sense for how long they live.


I did some quick searches, but the best I could find is the thickness of the ridge is dependent on what sediment is in the area.  The thicker the ridge, the better the protection.


I had planned after this discussion to make our own “pearls,” using play dough, but discovered all of our play dough was dry hard rocks.  So, we left that part of our lesson out.


Here’s a few of the fun things shared this past week:

Winecup Christian Academy shared a fun solar system mobile.


An experiment gone wrong from Creekside Learning, you had to read her post it’s hilarious.

The Usual Mayhem has a recipe for troll boogers to go with a Harry Potter study (we’re almost done reading book 1, we are done reading it).  Now I just need to figure out a fun unit to go with the book.

Science Sunday: Shells and more shells

Science Sunday

We’ve continued our chapter about mollusks and shell creatures and continued our explorations of our shells.


To answer a few questions I had about our shell collection:


1.  These shells are from a combination of several trips to the beach (pre and post kids).

2.  Some of these were bought, actually many of them.  Galveston is not the best location for finding shells.

3.  We have some ground rules for playing with them, mainly it has to stay at the table so we don’t lose/break them.


This week we read about conches and the various different sea snails and the like.


First we looked at these two shells I had found on the beach in Florida.  They’re both broken, and that’s why I picked them up.  They do a wonderful job of letting you see what a conch or whelk shell looks like on the inside.  The one on the left lets you see that inside spiral and the one on the right lets you see the spiral in relation to the rest of the shell.


After talking about that for a while we went through our box of shells and found the ones that best match these shells.


Than we looked at this cross section of a moon snail shell (my best guess at the shell).  I bought this one when we went to Galveston knowing we’d get to this chapter and how awesome would it be to see what a shell looks like inside?  Just like before we found a matching shell that was whole, and compared the differences between these two types of shells.


They really enjoyed this and it actually became an hour and a half long session of looking at and exploring the shells, along with a few squabbles……….


For a preview of what’s coming I send you to this post by Crafty classroom with her shells printable.


Mama of Many Blessings shared about the human nervous system and where she found some printables.

Little Wonder Days has this super cute parts of a bird printable.


You have to go to the site, but Alina’s Adventures in Homemaking has a cute stop motion video her boys made.


Layers of Learning has an interesting post about a Dichotomous Key, which I’d seen before but never knew there was a name for these.  I love how she expands on what else you can do with these.



What Science Activities did you do this week?  It’s always fun to read them, even if I’m slow sometimes………

Science Sunday: shell sorting

Science Sunday

I was hoping to have some amazing pictures this week of the triops that had hatched…….  However, we’re into the start of the time when they MIGHT hatch, provided I never got the water too hot.  This might not have been the ideal experiment for us to try.


Instead, I’ll start telling you about the next lesson we’re learning: SHELLS!


After reading what animals live in shells and how there are many types, we first read about bivalves, so today’s lesson is on bivalves.




Setup: Each kid had a pile of shells and a few non-shell items and a piece of felt.


Goal: To separate out the bivalve shells from the non-bivalve shells and to remove the non-shell items from the grouping.


Pretty simple, but fun right?


Next we sorted through the bivalves and looked for ones that were broken or had small holes in them.


Question: How did this happen?  What is the difference between a broken shell and a shell that has a hole in them?


Shell with small hole drilled in it- that was eaten by a sea snail that drilled the hole and sucked out the mussel in the shell.


Broken shell- it was broken by a land animal most likely.  Sea otters will lay on their backs and crush clams with rocks.  Sea gulls will drop clams onto rocky shores to shatter the shell to eat the clam inside.


Afterwards I gave them some time to freely explore the shells and look at them some more.


They were given some ocean life flashcards, a book about sea shells with pictures of them to identify them, and a magnifying glass (sadly the store I got mine from seems to of discontinued it).


Oh, and just so I have a chance of knowing who is who later on, Superman is wearing the Batman lego shirt and has the blue felt.  I’m basing this mainly on the blue felt because blue is his favorite color.

Snacks and Stories had a fun idea of comparing blowing different substances with and without straws and what the results are.

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational made a fun yarn bird’s nest.


Child’s Play Music has an interesting idea for making music with water and common household items and explains some of the science behind it.

Creekside Learning linked up a fun series of ideas from their astronomy unit (aside from my favorite oreo phases of the moon idea) she also used them with the calendar to mark when it happened.


Learning Hypothesis had a fun experiment involving forces, pushing/pulling with balls.


Anyone have any other fun ideas about shells?  I have a few more things we’re going to be doing and I’m looking forward to more explorations.

Science Sunday: Hermit Crabs

Science Sunday


I’ve had this pinned to my Swimming Creatures pinterest board for a very long time and have been rather eager to give it a try for a while.  We finally reached crustaceans, so it was time to get started!


Supplies: red paint, construction paper and scrapbook paper, glue, scissors


First we read our science book about hermit crabs and talked about what made them unique and different.  We also watched the Dinosaur Train episode and Cat in the Hat episodes with hermit crabs (which my kids reminded me of after reading it).


Then we read “A House for A Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle, and compared the hermit crab in the story to what real hermit crabs do.  Real hermit crabs do actually get sea anemones to help protect them from predators and will move the sea anemone from their old shell to their new one.


After reading both of these I painted their hands, and made a handprint for the body of the crab, and then we cut a roughly shell shape from a piece of white construction paper.  They drew a swirly shape onto their paper for the shape of the shell.


Here was their assignment:  Glue on things that live in the ocean that a hermit crab might have on their sea shell, or be in the sea near them.


Princess had lots of barnacles and such added to hers.  Superman had a sea anemone, a shark swimming by, and another fish.  There was also some coral nearby.  Batman had a sea anemone (with a very accurate description of the symbiotic relationship), a manta ray, and some rocks because the hermit crab in the book had rocks.


All in all, I’d say they both absorbed the book, and the scientific knowledge.  Now, I seriously considering a whole mini-unit about the book……..  It’s just so much fun.


There were several weather themed posts linked up this week, so I had to highlight such a nice little theme already built in.

Next Generation Homeschooler has a great week long unit on weather for preschoolers.

Little Wonder Days continued the weather theme with a Simple Anemometer.

Learning Ideas k-8 has a cute wind sock to make.  Does anyone else remember making these as a kid?  She also has a whole bunch of weather posts on her site, but I didn’t want to show you every single one.


It’s fun when we can do an art project (which they’d been begging me to do, because you know we never do those) and have it work well with science.


Hopefully I have not messed up my linky thing and put in the wrong date or start time again (fingers crossed).

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: review Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day lap book

Whew, that was a mouthful, but I thought I’d show you what we’ve been using with our science pick for the year.

This is a printable lapbook created by “A Journey Through Learning” on Currclick.  I got it during one of their periodic 50% sales, at some point I should join their affiliate program because I talk about them frequently enough.
There is also a black and white version, but I liked the appeal of color, and if I want I can print it in black and white.
Besides my kids are very back and forth on coloring.
What has been working for me is printing off a chapter’s worth of materials at a time.  The picture here is showing Princess holding her drawing of what she thinks a mosasaurus looks like.  Apparently they’re pink.
Very pink.
She thinks a lot of stuff is pink.  But, it’s been an interesting window into their world having them tell me what they got from the readings for the day.  Some days it’s been insightful, others it’s “They eat fish, Mommy.”  Thanks kid, anything else?
All in all I really enjoy this.  I especially enjoy that if we go back to this textbook I can just print off the material again and they can fill it out again.
Here’s a couple of fun things ya’ll did this week:

Journey to Josie shared about their leaf field trip and I LOVE how they spent time picking up trash first.

Fantastic Five shared how they tested for starches in their food using iodine.

Do you have anything you’ve found super helpful like this?  Something that went with what you’ve been using and made it so much easier?

FYI: I changed how long the linky was open, I thought the people who linked up later in the week weren’t getting as much traffic as other people, so I decided to close it earlier so the people linking later in the week can instead be one of the first ones on Sunday morning.  Oh, and this forces me to visit people earlier……….

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.