Friday, October 10, 2014

The Mystery Layer

We had a mystery layer. 


When we only had two laying chickens, we found an egg that looked much different from Penny’s white eggs and Oreo’s oblong pinkish brown eggs. It was more of an orb shape and a bit darker brown. We found it on a Sunday afternoon after church in a nest that hadn’t had an egg in it yet. It was cold and none of the chickens were giving up their secret as we inspected and interrogated each brown egg laying chicken. We suspected Sparky was the newest layer. However, we could not be sure. She had been showing all the signs that she was ready to start laying for a couple of weeks, but so had Daisy. It was time to be on egg watch. I calculated the approximate time the mystery egg was probably laid. Then figured out the earliest time the chicken would lay again. 

On Monday we were all on high alert. Checking the coop almost hourly to see who would jump in the box. We were so disappointed when Oreo was the only chicken that showed any interest in the boxes and she laid a very oblong pinkish brown egg. No other chicken laid on Monday. Super bummer. 

On Tuesday we went into the coop in the morning and there was another egg. None of the chickens were anywhere near the boxes when we approached the coop. And none of them were talking. Except to let us know they wanted out of the coop. Not one of them had the afterglow of laying an egg and none of them were singing their song.  {{ humph }}  This is such a frustrating dilemma. I have been meticulous with recording who has laid an egg on each day. 

On Wednesday Oreo graciously gave us an egg. But no other excitement in the egg diaries.


Thursday we kept checking the coop every hour and again every time we heard any amount of clucking at all. Around noon we heard some clucking and decided to go check. There we saw an egg in one box that looked just like the other two mystery eggs. Daisy was in a different box clucking out a song with all her soul. Peaking in there we saw a cute tiny little beige egg! It looks nothing like the mystery egg from Sunday and nothing like the egg in the box next to her. Daisy laid her first egg! It was so cute and she was so proud. She got out of the box a little while later all the while still clucking and placing straw on her back. Even after she was out of the box.


This made us deduce that Sparky was our mystery layer. But we hadn't found her in a box yet. That Friday our goal was to catch Sparky in the act. Checking the coop constantly we were determined that this would be the day we would confirm she was the layer. How hard could this be? Checking the coop every half hour I was sure we would catch her. Harder than you would think. We did eventually find her in a box laying late that afternoon. Watching her, we watched Sparky go in and do her thing then jump out. Total time was less than 30 minutes, a very efficient chicken indeed. In the 13 days she has been laying, she has given us 9 eggs. Not bad for a chicken who just started laying.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall and Photosynthesis Unit

It's finally here!

The first week of fall!

I love fall immensely.

Well… almost immensely.

The arrival of fall means winter is right around the corner. I am not a fan of winter as it is cold and gray. I am not a fan of cold. And really gray isn’t my favorite either. But then after winter, comes spring! I adore spring. See, there is always something to look forward to.

Besides the yummy tastes and smells of fall, that are so awesome, God paints the trees in such amazing beauty. I love how the trees change colors right before our very eyes. It is like watching the greatest painter ever complete His masterpiece in its entire splendor. And we only have a brief moment to take all of that majestic glory in before it is gone for another year.
Genisis 2:9
Do you see the phrase, "pleasing in appearance?"
God's creativity is beyond anything we can imagine and He creates nature for us to enjoy.

Fall also ushers in the natural time to study why and how leaves change color. This year I decided to also go deeper into the process of how plants create their own food, also known as that big giant word; photosynthesis.

Of course that means checking out as many books on the subject from the library and enjoying some educational videos online. We are also going to put together a lapbook and the older ones will most likely have some type of notebooking and research essay to write. And of course no science unit will be complete without at least one or several experiments or hands on activities.


Below is my list of resources I am going to use this week as we explore and learn. I am sure as we go through our study I will find some more great sites, however this is a starting point that will get us moving in the right direction.

Leaf Color Activity - What color will the leaves on the trees change? Answer this question with this fun activity that can be done with almost any age group to some degree. We have done this particular activity a few times and we will be doing it again this year. The kids love it. 

Photosynthesis Video - This quick animated video shows the process of photosynthesis.

NASA put out this very cool video that shows Photosynthesis from Outer Space.

Ellen Mchenry's Basement Workshop is a goldmine of botany and photosynthesis activities. There is also a lapbook with some very cool mini books. The lapbook elements will work great for notebooking also.

Science Made Simple has a quick and easy to read page about photosynthesis.

If you have Netflix, Magic School Bus Gets Planted (season 3 episode 11) is a fun episode about photosynthesis. There is a very cool activity on their site also that would really be fun. Gets Planted - A-maze-ing Plants

There are of course the fun art projects that include reading the book Leaf Man and making leaf men or other fun pictures, leaf rubbings, and even preserving leaves by ironing them between pieces of wax paper. Of course a nature walk or two are in order this week as well. What are you going to do to kick off fall.

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