Saturday, May 24, 2008

let’s call it science...

but in reality we call it life. Part of living is learning. Learning by discovery, by exploring, by observing, by touching, by seeing, by smelling even by tasting (but not in this case). One of my son’s morning chores is to put fresh water in the three birdbaths in the backyard. We have a birdfeeding station there also and enjoy watching the birds daily. From our dining table and family room, we are able to watch the birds come and go. The kids and I are pretty good at identifying the birds by their physical appearance but also by their behaviors and songs. We’ve been watching them for years. We have a running list of birds we see in our backyard and also a list of birds we have seen away from our home. This spring, we have the pleasure of watching several bird families raising their young. We have families of tufted tit mice, house finches, mockingbirds, Carolina wrens, Carolina chickadees and red-bellied woodpeckers.

Yesterday, Zach came in to tell me there were black dots in the pool. Much like these (this picture was taken today):

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Upon further research we decided they were frog eggs. There were patches of them all over the pool. We have a frog living near our pool, and we had heard her the day before. The next time I see her (I’m assuming she's a she, and she's the one who laid the eggs), I need to identify her. So we put some in a jar with a little water, just to keep watch. Then I went and scooped the rest out – who wants to swim with frog eggs? Not me!

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Last night, we checked on the eggs, and they had unfurled. I thought maybe they had died. But this morning you could see little tails and they were wiggling occasionally.

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Also this morning, I went to check on the pool, and found more frog eggs, which were then scooped out. And while I was scooping I found this little dead baby bird.

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(he has frog eggs on him)

This little one was too little to fly, and I have not seen a nest near enough for him to fall into the pool. I think maybe a predator had taken him and accidentally dropped him in the pool. So the kids watched while I turned him over and we observed his feathers, eyes, feet and opened his mouth. I asked Zach what kind of bird did he think it was. I was thinking Mockingbird, but I didn’t say anything. He said mockingbird, and after I asked why he pointed out his reasoning. Pretty good!

Now, if I had a dissecting kit (on my list of things to get), and I thought the kids could handle it, we would have opened up him.

I love sharing these moments with my kids. I love to see them learning by just living.

11 comments:

LauraJ said...

reason #299475 why homeschooling is great! They don't do this stuff in school! (maybe this also attributes to why such a large percentage of people are terrified by death) it's a fact of the life cycle
that first picture I thought it was birds in the sky! tadpoles!! how fun! I used to keep jars of them when i was a kid!
I was wondering if you were going to disect that bird, but no kit so you can't.

jillytacy said...

You have some great science learning and experiments going on. As a teacher(before I had my daughter,)I know that these real life, hands on experiences will remain with your kids forever. It's these moments that really teach, not just seeing pictures of the life cycle of frogs or pictures identifying birds in books. Books are great but real life experiences are more memorable! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun watching your tadpoles grow. Sorry about the baby bird but again it's a good life experience and teaching moment.

Not Lucy said...

When I was a kid, my great-uncle lived in this house. We would come over and visit almost every Saturday, especially in the summer as we had a huge garden here that supplied us with most of our veggies. Back then there were two cement ponds that I assume he made for my great-aunt. They both had gold fish originally (until the raccoons ate them all). Later both ponds developed cracks so they had minimal water in them but one had enough to have tadpoles each spring. We had such a good time scooping them up and checking them out. Each week they would be a little bigger or start getting legs, etc. It was so cool!

Now the ponds have been filled with dirt and are used as flower beds. We still have some frogs but I don't know where they are laying their eggs.

Jacquie said...

I did this with my 4th graders except I didn't do the dissecting. I brought my hubby in since he's an expert. The kids assisted and loved it as did I. (ours was a frog and we did a couple of grasshoppers too!

SheltonDHW said...

That is so cool! I used to get tadpoles every spring when I was little, but I never found frog eggs!

susan said...

that is my thinking exactly!! thank you for putting it so succinctly. i am in awe of the little feathers starting to come out of the wing bone. very interesting thanks for sharing

Katy said...

Frogspawn and tadpoles - the best part of Spring!!! Soon we'll get the baby frogs popping by to say hello, and the cats will try and eat them (disgusting, squished half nibbled baby frog is not a nice sight)

Beth said...

Spring is a fun time of year. I am new to Texas and the frogs here are big. Sad baby bird, we seem to get one or two dead ones a year.

Tine said...

you are such a great mom and teacher!

Crafty Turtle said...

Sarah, you ROCK! I wish I could have been there with you and I would have convinced you to improvise on the dissecting kit and just use a steak knife and forks - that's what we did with my dad when he brought home the rattlesnake that he had run over.

We ended up not only dissecting it, but cooking and eating the meat and saving the skin and head in the freezer. Did I ever show you that? I think it's still in there...

You are the coolest science teacher EVER!

Sarah and Jack said...

Man, I wish I could get my hands on some frog eggs. Jack would love watching them develop and I have been thinking about ordering some off the internet, but I was trying to find them around the neighborhood somewhere!