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.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Our First Egg!

If you don’t follow me on Instagram then you probably didn’t see my huge announcement… the first egg was laid!!! We are all so very excited about this. It was a moment of taking so many pictures. 

Now, we were sure that our black sex-link Oreo was going to be the first to lay. She had been showing signs that she is ready to lay for about a month now. But no, we were really surprised by which chicken laid today.

This morning started out with us trying to figure out the configuration new roosting bars to help eliminate the roosting wars we have going on. (An entirely different saga going on there.) We had to kick the chickens out of the coop while we were installing it. And outside the door to the run all we could hear was serious squawking by Penny our Ideal. Now this chicken will squawk at you whenever you are not doing what she wants you to do so I didn’t worry about it. She couldn’t be roaming the coop while we were moving everything around. After Hubby got everything secured we opened the run door and Penny came marching in giving us a stern clucking to. Then she jumped into the nesting box she has claimed as her own and settled in.

We watched her for a few minutes then we decided to give her some privacy. Not even 10 minutes later she laid her very first egg! 

First Egg!

Now I am sure she was a bit confused about the whole ordeal. I would be. I let her sit there for a while as I was busy taking pictures, of course. Penny stood there for a few minutes then she started checking out her little baby egg. And she would then look at me and then look down. 

What just happened!?!

Then the last thing I expected happened. She rolled the egg under her chest and proceeded to lay on the egg. I watched her for a bit longer and she started getting more comfy and settled in. She started rearranging the straw in the nesting box around her. It was so very clear she was not planning on moving – she had gone broody on me! What!?! Broody? Really? Who has ever seen a hen go broody with her very first egg? This chicken has shown no signs of having a broody personality at any point in her short 21 weeks of life.

First Egg

What was I going to do with her? I gave her some more time to come to terms with the major ordeal she just went through. Then for a brief moment she stood up to rearrange her egg and nest and I seized the opportunity to grab the egg. 

First Egg

But not wanting to stress her out I put a golf ball that was in a different nest into the box. She was not happy with me putting my hands anywhere near her and she bit me. She settled herself in and I proceeded to tell the world of Instagram. 

Tiny Egg
It's so tiny! Just a little larger than a golf ball.

Sometime later I went out to check on her and she was out of the box and acting like her normal trouble making self. 

I wonder who is going to lay next…

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