The Sacred Sprouts Schoolhouse

Archive for the 'Field Trip' Category

What’s Happening This Week

In trying to update more frequently, I’ve made it a point to keep the camera nearby this week.  We’ve added some fun extras to our learning this week, and I thought I’d share a little bit of what we’re doing.

The first fun thing this week was a field trip for the kids.  We have a huge bald eagle population along the Fox River here, so we went to check out the action.

We found the big nest, with a momma eagle in it.  She would pop out her head from time to time, but as much as we willed her to join the seagulls in their fishing expedition, she stayed put.  We did get to see a juvenile eagle though.  He didn’t have his white head yet, but boy, was he big!  If you look close in this picture, you can see a triangular dark shape at the top of  a tree.  That’s the nest.

While we didn’t get to see any mature bald eagles in flight, it was so nice to be out in nature.  It also gave the kids an opportunity to work some binoculars and explore.  We saw ducks, seagulls, blue herons, and even a trio of deer wading in the river.

This week Zander also really got down and dirty with his Biology.  I’m impressed with the experiments that have been included with his kit from NOEO.  This week, after learning about Louis Pasteur last week, we’re taking our own turn at exploring bacteria and fungi.  The first day, after I prepared a few petri dishes with some agar, he gathered some bacteria from a Wii-mote and smeared it in one of the dishes.  Then he applied some antibacterial goo to one half of the dish.  We’re keeping an eye on it for growth, and are kind of not very excited to see just what’s living on our video game controllers.

The next day, he needed to compare two similar things, so he chose to compare spit.  Both he and Abigail scraped their tongues and then applied the resulting goo to one half of a prepared petri dish.  This dish has joined the first one in a dark place, and we’re just waiting to see the colonies start growing.  We’re expecting it could take a few days.

Today his experiment involved yeast- a helpful fungi.  He started with three plastic cups, which he labeled, and then I divided a packet of yeast between them.  To one cup we added warm water, to the second cup we added warm water and sugar, and the third cup was cold water and sugar.

Yeah… this one didn’t do much.  According to our directions, we should have seen some serious foaming actions.  I’m wondering if the yeast is dead, because we got a few bubbles in all three cups and nothing else.  We have another packet of yeast, so we’ll try again tomorrow.

Abigail has been intensely studying World War II, and it’s amazing all the many things that we could add to this study to really make it come alive.  We have plans to watch The Sound of Music this Friday, but today, since Andy was around and had nothing else to do on a grey, dreary day, he got out an old board game, Axis & Allies.  Him and Abigail have been striving for world domination for about 2 hours now, and it sounds like she’s been putting up a fairly fair fight.

I think that Zander’s hoping they wrap it up shortly here so that he can have some play time with his sister today, but overall, it’s been a great week here at the Schoolhouse.  This was one of those weeks where I got up Monday morning and really thought about declaring it Spring Break.  I really didn’t feel motivated.  Instead, we took Monday off after a busy weekend, and then Tuesday when I woke up I STILL felt like taking the week off.  But we trudged on, and all the added extras gave us the little boost we needed to keep moving forward.  I like the idea of instead of doing a week-long Spring Break, to break it up over the next few weeks and take a day here and a day there off.

We may just do that.


posted by Erika in Field Trip and have Comments Off on What’s Happening This Week

Those Moments Where You Wonder…

Today we took total advantage of a gorgeous day and decided to swap out music class for a combination of phy ed and science.   We headed out to our local bike/hiking trail and walked a ways out, getting exercise as well as an opportunity to spot some birds.

It definitely was the perfect day for it, and my ever-observant kids wasted no time in pointing out the different birds and things they found.  Right off the bat we found a nice burrow which left us wondering about the inhabitants.  The droppings nearby led us to believe rabbit, but that burrow was awfully big… my bird-minded daughter thought that there were several birds who might find that burrow nice for a nest.

We’ve been studying birds for science, and there are definitely those days where you wonder if they are even paying attention.  Abigail says it’s the best science she has ever done- she’s fascinated by birds.  In addition to reading our textbook, spring has also found us observing a lot of bird activity in our yard, and we even managed to watch the acclaimed movie “Winged Migration”.    A few weeks ago, on one of the first nice days of spring, Abigail took a notebook and her binoculars outside and spent hours observing and drawing birds.

So today on our walk she had all kinds of opportunities to show off bird knowledge- and that she did!  She pointed out all kinds of birds, and then was able to tell us all about them.   The red-winged blackbirds and robins were most in abundance.  But then we saw the brown-headed cowbird, and Abigail promptly began telling about how they are brood parasites, laying their eggs in other bird’s nests.   We watched some yellow finches taking a drink from a stream, and watched in awe as a brown-tailed hawk swooped over us, looking for it’s lunch.   We saw a small red-headed woodpecker checking out a fallen branch for some bugs, and towards the end of our walk, we saw a pair of killdeer prancing about a pond.   I think Abigail was a little disappointed that they didn’t start acting like they had a broken wing- but I think it may be a little early for them to have their eggs laid.

I was quite proud of my little girl as she observed nature in action.  She’s become an expert bird-spotter and is getting quite adept at using her binoculars to zoom in for the particulars.

We only have two chapters left to explore birds before we move on to flying reptiles and bats, followed by flying insects.   I hope she won’t mind when we change subject matter a little bit.

posted by Erika in Field Trip and have Comments Off on Those Moments Where You Wonder…