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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Geology and Biomonitoring

Spring takes us outside. I want to teach the kids so many scientific things as it really is interesting for them right now. So with the end of April marking Save the Frogs Day we talked  about frogs and made lapbooks up about them. We then went for a drive the second week of May to see if the Northern Leopard Frogs had laid eggs yet. As it turned out the weather has been too cold. The water's edge was dredged by people disturbing some of their natural shoreline. But that didn't stop them from singing. As far as we could tell there were two distinct frog's at the shoreline one was croaking and the other had a higher pitched peeping. Having been to this particular spot later in the season before we knew that it is also inhabited by small treefrogs in the trees nearby. I imagine some of that peeping was them singing to one another.
We took the time to have a Mother's Day picnic. And to scour for interesting rock specimens to study for our geology class. Later in school I gave each of the kids small bound notebooks and introduced them to the idea of science journaling. The were really excited with the idea of having these notebooks to take with on our future outings during the warmer months. I was excited to see them happier in our class rather then bored and distracted. I am hoping with more hands on and less book work we will see some renewed vim and interest in learning. So we are continuing this month learning about geology and I look forward to taking them for more rock collecting in the future. Ds also recieved for his birthday a lovely piece of Peacock rock or Bornite. It is simply stunning. It's amazing the colors that color our world and many walk by without so much as noticing. So please if you haven't today take the time to smell the flowers in bloom, notice the bee hard at work, or just how lovely a little breeze through a tree can be. And again don't forget to keep your eyes on our blog for the upcoming giveaways in the end of June, early July. Open to all Canadian residents.
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Well spring is finally here. It never ceases to amaze me how we can go from cold and sleepy months into a complete about face. Our activity levels triple inside of one month yet our energy is always constant.
With the gardens finally uncovered we can look forward to more time spent in our gardens learning, exploring, and playing. But with the increase in outdoor time we notice a signifigant decrease in our indoor time.
I have spent little time focusing on my blog. But with the Canadian Blog Bash fast approaching I want to let my regular readers know you are in for some special giveaways. I have a few Canadian sponsors for what is shaping up to be our first exciting giveaway here. Remember it is only open to Canadian residents though. I will be making a link to our giveaway page so be sure to look for it.
 The kids are feeling the spring fever that accompanies youth and it is making school a difficult task as they are distracted with other thoughts. I also had made up some workbooks for math for them which I have discovered were just a bit ambitious for them just yet. So as with most homeschooling things I realize I need to slow down. My enthusiasm for their learning may not be inline with their abilities. So I am taking a step back in mathmatics to make sure they truly get what they are learning.
English is progressing slowly as DD continues to practice her reading. DS practices his reading by frequently reading to his little sister and by reading silently to himself. It's nice to see a real interest for reading being developed in both children.
I have not published in so long I just want to take the time to quickly recap a couple of projects we have done.
The first was a science experiment for our egg-stravaganza eggs month. I had found this experiment on several site and decided to try to duplicate it at home. Needed one hardboiled egg and one glass small mouth bottle, the kind you might find a soft drink in. Well you might if everywhere locally wasn't into plastic bottles these days. So short of digging out an antique bottle from our collection I decided to try using a 'Ribena' bottle its mouth opening was similar. However the neck style was a little wider then a long neck pop bottle. Perhaps that is why it turned out so dismally. In any event we lit three matchs as per required and dropped them in the bottle. Then we plopped the peeled, hardboiled egg on top and waited. The gases were supposed to expand and then contract pulling the egg into the bottle. At best we only

got a slight vacuum on the bottom of the egg. So we reheated the gas in the bottle by placing it in a pot of hot water. We then let it cool down again. Nothing. A rather disappointing experiment for sure. I am going to keep my eyes out for the proper glass style bottle. But they are rare around here.
We managed to start to incubate chicken eggs. After the 17th day we had two start to pip. We were so thrilled to hear the cheeping from the eggs. But sadly after several hours both chicks succombed to exhaustion. We took them out and peeled the shells off. It was interesting to note that one had used up all of it's yolk sac and the other had some still left. We are waiting one more day to see if anyone else pips. But nothing as of yet. It's been another disappointment. The only learning outcome of the experiment is that perhaps chlorinated water in the incubator for hydration gives off some chemical that kills the developing chicks. This was the conclusion we have drawn after talking to an experienced egg hatcher. I may try again after this with a different egg if I can find any locally.
Sadly we lost one of our guinea pig friends this past month. We now have only four males. Our Lego club wrapped up for the season. My son turned eight. And we had company from out of town. I have to start to turn my thoughts not only onto the yard and gardens but onto the year end homeschool party which is in my hands. With DH working twelve hour days, seven days a week things have been rather stressful and tiring. But as my mother liked to quote 'pound on, pound on.' I am not sure where she got the quote from but it likely served her well as she slogged down our half mile driveway in the winters, when snow was three feet deep, making a path for us kids to get to the school bus. With that in mind I feel empowered to get done what needs doing. Thanks Mom for being such a wonderful hard working, stay at home Mom. And a belated Mother's Day to all the Mothers of the world.
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