Science Sunday: Shrimp



A few months ago I shared how we dissected a shrimp, however the shrimp we got from our grocery store was already beheaded.  We got ones with shells on, so they saw the tails and legs and such stuff, but they really wanted to know what the head looked like, up close and personal.


I joked about going out for sushi and making my brother order fried shrimp heads again (he did it on a dare once, it was AWESOME), but Jeff didn’t think that was the best plan, for many perfectly valid reasons.




Then, when we were in Virginia we ate at this perfectly horrible Chinese/Japanese buffet.


Horrible, they messed up jello so badly I couldn’t eat it.


But, they had shrimp with their heads on.  So, right there in the restaurant we had a science lesson.


First thing we noticed is how HUGE the eyes are.  I personally think they’re kind of freaky.




Next we noticed the length of the antennae.  They’re about as long as the shrimp itself.


This required a lot of playing and fiddling around to see how much it could be moved.



And then some general exploration of how it moves and the different parts of it.


Of course eventually it was eaten.


I guess that day we played with our food.


Let’s see what others did this week:

Finding the Teachable Moments shared about their Fire Safety week, a great pre-school/early elementary unit (you have to see what her husband brought home from work!).


Homeschool Mo did a couple of things this week, but I really loved her illustration for the earth circling the sun using a pie pan.


Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Science Sunday: starfish



You remember how ages and ages ago I asked for recommendations about starfish, and then I lost my camera with the pictures of what we did?


Well I found it.  Or more accurately, when I made the kids clean out the dog’s toy box of all of their stuff they found it.  My guess, I had them clean and they put it all in the dog’s toy box.


Needless to say I was not a happy Mommy.



First we looked as the starfish my Mother-in-Law had given us from a trip she took and picked up for them.  I’ve been holding on to these for quite some time.  We noticed the little bumpy things on the bottom and talked about how those are little suction cups that let the starfish move around.


After we poked around and looked at them under a magnifying glass, I said we were going to try and see what it was like.  Then one at a time I ushered my unsuspecting kids into the bathroom and they got to play with the plunger in the toilet.


After I was suitably disgusted by their fascination (and they now think of the least excuse why the bathroom needs the plunger, racing downstairs to get it), and they managed to not cover my bathroom floor with water.  We continued on to the next part.



Then we cut out a starfish from sandpaper and recorded our observations of what it felt like to try and move like a starfish.  We did a similar craft before, a couple of years ago for our ocean animals book.


I’d like to thank: Fantastic Five, Alex Nguyen Portraits, Books 4 Learning, and Enchanted Homeschooling Mom for all coming up with some fun ideas to do.  Between all of their ideas, links, and suggestions I could have spent a couple of weeks on starfish, unfortunately my kids interest level was not as high as mine.


Does anyone else ever run into the problem of being more interested in a topic than their kids are?

Let’s see what others did this week:

Fantastic Five combined science and art for a fun astronomy lesson.

I loved the idea of using a rolling pin for a pulley from Quirky Momma.


Next Gen Homeschooler did a great job of trying to earthquake proof buildings.


Dottie’s Homeschool Universe shared about rocks and how they’re formed.


Science Sunday button Science Sunday


Don’t forget to have a link back here somewhere on your front page.


Oh, and one last request: If you have any posts, old or new, about land animals I’d love to see them linked up.  We’re going to be studying land animals next and my land animals pinterest board is rather sparse.

Science Sunday: Sea Cucumbers


Now who here read that title and said “Sea Cucumbers is that a vegetable?”  I admit I did at first when I first read that part.


But, they’re really rather fascinating.  There are two different kinds.  One that just eats sand and filters its food out of it.  The other has large numbers of tentacles and uses the tentacles to bring the food to its mouth.


Well after reading all about this we decided to make our own models, but first we needed play dough.


That accomplished we got busy making our sea cucumbers, I gave them the play dough, tooth picks, and pipe cleaners.


It was quite a lot of work, much hard work.  You know the type of work that they complain when you say it’s time to stop.


Horribly hard work.  They really hated this science lesson.


Let’s see what others did this week:

By His Design 5 shared about dissecting owl pellets.  She includes a link for where she got hers.  Last time I did this it was artificial owl pellets. 


Watch how sounds waves move at All Things Beautiful.


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Science Sunday: Octopus Colors

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 had planned to share with you what we did with your suggestions for starfish (unfortunately they weren’t as intrigued with starfish as I am), but sadly I LOST MY CAMERA!  So that post will have to wait until I find it again.  Please be praying it pops back up sometime soon.

We read in our Swimming Creatures text that octopuses change color not just because of where they are, but also because of their mood.

This was fascinating to me, and demanded an art project.
First we painted the different colors octopuses have been seen to change.  Afterwards we painted our own idea of different emotions.

Simple, but to the point.

Did you ever have a science project lead to an art project?  My kids LOVED this!

Let’s see what others did this week (or in the past several weeks):

Over at Homegrown Learners they learned about Louis Pasteur, I’m linking to this partially because of the cool movie clip she found and partially because it was such a blast from the past to see this book series, which I had and LOVED growing up.

Spell Out Loud has a great post about the human heart.

Fit Kids Clubhouse had a great post about her son’s experiment with a lava lamp.  I really encourage you to take the time and read it, not skim, but read.  It’s a great testimony about taking the time to follow your child’s lead.

Little Wonder Days did a whole series of egg experiments.  This is part one.

Raising Lifelong Learners has a great post on making your own compass.

And finally here’s a fun suggestion of a series of books to read with your kiddos about different animals.

Science Sunday will be on a Saturday next week, and on Sunday I’ll be sharing the next country for Around the World in 12 Dishes: Sweden!  Anyone have a fun Swedish inspired craft they’d like to suggest?


Science Sunday button Science Sunday

Science Sunday: Octopus propulsion

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!

We started studying Octopuses, I learned the PROPER plural for that from our science book this past week.  Okay, there’s actually a debate about that, but still.

First I gave the kids some various papers, they chose blue and yellow, and let them have at it to make octopuses.  While they made those I took turns reading with the different kiddos.  Afterwards I was very amused to discover the similarities in their projects.


Next, we looked at my terrible brilliant drawing of an octopus expelling water.

We talked about how an octopus sucks in water, and then pushes it out, and that’s what pushes them through the ocean.

Then I got out a turkey baster and we squeezed the bulb to feel the air coming out.  That let us feel what the water being pushed out did.

Now, you could follow this up with letting them play with it in the bath tub, or in the summer in the pool, but that would not have pictures of it for obvious reasons.


Finally we took some eye droppers I had and tried squeezing them under water.

This part didn’t work so well because apparently someone had knocked the bulbs off, so we weren’t getting good suction with them.
But, with the various hands on and “illustrations” we did, they did get the idea of how an octopus and other cephalopods move, so that’s all good.

What kitchen things have you found to be good for using in science activities?

Chestnut Grove Academy has some great ideas for studying whales with little guys.

Juggling with Kids shared about Diving Ketchup, and I was thinking this is an excellent example of octopus propulsion also.

 We’re about to start on starfish, anyone have some good hands on ideas for them? I’d love to hear suggestions.  All I can think of right now is to look at the ones my MIL gave us under a magnifying glass and make a craft using sandpaper.

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.