Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Animal Tracks and Wildlife Signs Science Unit

I've been using this Crinkleroot book for science for the Littles.  We love Crinkleroot!

The first animal mentioned is Beaver.  We read the section here, then went through Getting To Know Nature's Children: Beavers.  We did a coloring page and watched some videos on YouTube.

Otters are next.  The kids had fun sliding down the back of the bathtub like an otter slides down a muddy bank.  I showed them pictures we had taken when we saw the otter exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium a few years back.  Of course we also watched some videos, including the MBA Otter-Cam and colored a page.

Raccoon is the next one we met.  In addition to videos, we did a coloring page and read Jim Arnosky's Raccoons and Ripe Corn.  We discussed why raccoons are considered pests in some places and how dexterous they are.  We looked at the anatomy of their hands and how they have functional (but not opposable) thumbs.  I taped down the children's thumbs to show them how hard life would be without thumbs!

I found a great video showing Beaver and Otter together during wintertime.  I now can ask a Little is he or she is acting like Beaver or Otter and they will have a character trait to identify.

Whitetail Deer was next.  We saw a doe and her two fawns last summer when we were camping and the children have a great memory of it.  We learned about how bucks grow their antlers and why.  We learned how they shed them every year.  The Lambies spoke of trying to find some next time we are in the forest before the mice nibble them away.  I let them feel some faux-velvet so they knew the texture of the velvet on the antlers as they grow. We read Deer At The Brook and watched a clip or two of the graceful creatures.

I'll continue blogging our activities for the second part of the book when we are finished with them!

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