Saturday, September 15, 2018

Science Club: Bird Beaks and Bird Songs

This year, for the first time, I have two daughters in high school. It is strange to have so much of my family gone all the time. Leah is in cross country so she seems to constantly be at practice or at meets, but yesterday was a travel day and she wasn't on the travel team so she was actually home on Friday afternoon! Of course, Natalie was gone, since Friday after school is when she has her machine sewing class...

Oh, well. Three out of four isn't bad.

When Science Club ended and all four of my children were in finally the same place at the same time, we spent some family time together... our first since the school year started. We went to Artspace 304 for Art Games Night. The activity was Exquisite Corpse, and the girls had a great time. I grabbed some extra papers for the students in my homeschool co-op, since all of the contributions will be part of a curated art exhibit presented in October/ November at the gallery. How fun! Then we all headed out to dinner at Don Sol and, as a special surprise, I took the kids to the Thai ice cream place for dessert. At first we had Freeze! all to ourselves so we happily drew on the chalkboards, added sticky notes to the wall, and pretended to walk the runway at a fashion show. At some point other customers had to arrive, of course, but it was still a fun and memorable family evening.

Friday is the day for Science Club this year, which is also a nice way to wrap up the week. Our first topic is Birds and we started by looking at Bird Beaks and Bird Songs.

Friday, September 7

  • pass out everyone's new Science Club notebooks and allow time for kids to write in Science questions and topic requests... if you were planning the perfect Science Club, what kinds of things would we do?

  • jump right into thinking like a Scientist by talking about classification (classification is now thought to be the highest of the higher level thinking skills; we are all supposed to be doing more of it with our students, in as many contexts as possible)
  • review Linnaean system of classification:
      Kings Play Chess On Fine Grains of Sand
      Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

  • do "Classifying Shoes" activity from Classification Clues

  • open IDNR Birds of Illinois bin and look at replica skulls and tracks
      skulls: turkey, duck
      tracks: great horned owl, wild turkey, coot, quail, wood duck, great blue heron

  • use The Princeton Encyclopedia of Birds to answer a child's question about ducks; notice how many categories of birds are in the Table of Contents!

  • look at the Biome Map of the World from Waseca Biomes, then let children choose different biomes on different continents and use the biome nomenclature cards to learn more about birds found there:

      Grasslands of North America: greater prairie chicken

      Mountains of South America: Andean condor

      Deserts of Africa: sandgrouse

  • read Beaks! by Sneed B. Collard

  • do Bird Beak Experiment ($2.00 on TpT)
      foods: Swedish fish, mini marshmallows, bunches of grapes, colored water, gummy worms, sunflower seeds

      tools: toothpicks, slotted spoons, scissors, turkey basters, tweezers, clothespins

    has very clear teacher instructions for how to set up the experiment, explaining which tool represents which kind of beak and which bird uses that beak... and she also includes a record sheet, but I found it was easiest to simply place an index card by each food towards the end of the activity and let the students write down their preferred tool

Friday, September 14

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