Sunday, May 15, 2011
There has been a lot of by the way science/nature study here lately. The weather has been beautiful, whether the unseasonal but much appreciated rain or the seasonal sunshine, it's very conducive to all kinds of springy science stuff. We've been watching the birds, not specifically so, but while doing other things. So one day, the seven and a half year old spotted and pointed out a new small bird, with iridescent blue plumage. I think it's a sunbird of some sort or a perhaps a relative of a hummingbird. I tried to consult our encyclopedia of local birds, a lovely occupation any time, and under the category of songbirds, it had a bird that sort of looked like our mystery bird, but not 100%. Anyhow, it just happens that I was browsing through a Janice Van Cleave science book recently and saw a project for a homemade hummingbird feeder, which I thought would be a nice project that the children might like. And indeed, after the kids saw our bird they enthusiastically endorsed making a bird feeder. I found lots of great tutorials on line. Hopefully, I'll post some in a near future. I also decided to unearth some of our science/outdoor project books to leave around for inspiration. So I took out the Amazing Outdoor Activity Book by Angela Wilkes, that has lots of good ideas for things to do with great step by step illustrations. The children were happily looking through it at various times as hoped. There are lots of projects there that might appeal to the big boys with help from medium sized girls, which were a bit difficult before, but now would be just right. Interestingly, the book has a few nice ideas for making bird feeders that we might want to try as well. We also spend some time watching the haying procedures in the local fields, which is always very exciting - different types of agricultural equipment, the process, etc. I took lots of pictures. The children later were playing different games transporting imaginary hay bales covered with improvised tarp. The seven and a half year old made quite realistic looking replicas of tractors with various attachments for plowing, bale making, etc with LEGO blocks. So lots of excitement. We had a discussion about fields, raising and feeding sheep ( some flocks came out to pasture, another favorite pastime, sheep watching), the uses of hay and other related subjects. We made pancakes together. Kitchens are very useful for science education:) And then, just to add to all the science stuff that was already going on, I came across this website that has a few very interesting curriculums for living science, things like chemistry for elementary school children, botany, neuroscience and more. I looked at some samples and they were fantastic. I am really excited about this find. Some of the offerings are for older children but might come in handy later down the line. There is also an interesting curriculum for English etymology, a subject that I find very fascinating and hope my children will too. There are many free downloads for different subjects as well. I feel like just as I needed something, these things just appeared, science ideas raining down from heaven, B"H. Amazing!