Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rabbit Trails and Slime Mold

It wouldn't be homeschooling if we didn't head down a few rabbit trails!  This week we are continuing our cell and DNA studies, and after reading a bit about diatoms and spirogyra, we wanted to check out a few more members of the fascinating Protist family.

We began by reading this book by Rona Arato.  It's a good introduction to Protists with lots of great photos and cool info about this odd group of organisms.  The kids like this series of nonfiction because it's written for a young reader but, as Dude says, "They don't talk to you like you're a baby."

I have to admit, we got a serious case of the giggles when we got to this page!  We have four dogs and have seen our share of, uh, slime mold, over the years!

Then it was time to get out the microscope and look at some protists.  Super took these amazing microscope photos.

Amoeba, reaching with their pseudopodia...

 ...Paramecia, dyed with such festive colors...

...and delicate, confetti-like Diatoms.

We learned that malaria and African sleeping sickness are caused by protozoa (which are in the Protist family) and that when you use chalk, you are writing with the crushed silica shells of ancient diatoms.  We read about the dinoflagellates that cause red tides, and about how important Protists are in the food chain.

Finally, we watched this very thought-provoking video:

Hope you're having a great week learning with your family!

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