Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Under the Sky

We're determined to do as much outdoor school as possible, since we'll be missing these warm days in a couple of months! Today we spread a blanket on the grass and started our biomes unit study. I'm using Amazing Biome Projects You Can Build Yourself by Donna Latham and Farah Rizvi as a springboard for the unit. We read the introduction, compared different biomes and discussed the threats that each of them face.

Then we used sidewalk chalk to list the eight (nine if you count the oceans) biomes covered in the book.

Super tried to write "tundra" in icy letters, but it was somewhat challenging using chalk on a crumbly sidewalk!

We talked about deciduous and coniferous trees, and found examples of each. Deciduous trees typically grow in areas with four distinct seasons, and they lose their leaves in winter.

Coniferous trees have thick, waxy needles that conserve moisture. They don't lose their leaves, which is why people refer to them as "evergreens."

We have both types in our neighborhood. In fact, we seem to have a little of everything here...

We'll be talking about animal adaptations in our biomes unit study, so we read Animal Senses: How Animals See, Hear, Taste, Smell and Feel by Pamela Hickman and Pat Stephens. Have you ever wondered what it's like to see with compound eyes like an insect?

Or to see ten times better than a human, like a hawk?

We did an experiment to find our field of vision: hold your arms in front of you and slowly move them to your sides. When you can't see them anymore, you have found the limits of your field of vision. We learned that frogs have a huge field of vision because their eyes are on top of their heads. But humans have "binocular vision," meaning we focus both of our eyes on the same thing. We can't see behind us, like a frog, but we can focus better on what's in front of us!

Then it was time for some gumdrop geometry...

Count the Dots to find the number of vertices.

It turns out, our geometric solids are useful as grasshopper catchers, too!

Don't worry, we let him go after lunch!


Nicole said...

Outdoor school looks beautiful and peaceful! I'm envious- we've been in the 100s for weeks now and our summers are so hot that we have to spend most of our time indoors.

What fun you all are having!

Denise said...

Some very clever ideas! I enjoyed your post & photos. Looks like you guys had fun.

Lori said...

Some *great* ideas. I like staying outdoors too! Everyone thinks better. (IMO:))