Friday, March 7, 2014

Mega-fauna Sam's House Field Trip

Today we went on a field trip at Sam's House where we had Levi's 6th birthday party.  The theme was "Megafauna" and the kids learned all about the animals that used to live in the area many years ago. 

Tree climbing upon arrival:

Inside the log cabin, the kids learned about land in Florida.   At one point, Florida was just a few small dots of land, the rest was ocean.   During the ice age, Florida was much larger than it is now, so animals evolved to be much much larger.  Then, when the ice melted, Florida ended up around the size it is now, and animals reduced in size.    To demonstrate this, they used foam squares, having the kids stand on them to compare how much space they had when the land was different sizes.   

 Next they made fossils.   The kids pressed clay into plastic bowls, and then used plastic bugs and animals to make imprints.   They mixed plaster of paris and water in a bag and poured it over the top and left it to dry.  

Then, we went over and looked at the Megafauna.   The outline in the picture below is a mastodon.  There was also a giant sloth, and a turtle/armadillo type thing.  

The kids used paint brushes to find the bones buried in sand.  They colored the bones on a skeleton of a mastodon, using a sign to confirm the location of various pieces.    Miss T said this was her favorite part! 

 Then came the real fossils!  These were donated to Sam's House by someone who collects fossils found in the area.   They scooped up sand, sifted, and found fossils and then learned what they were.  

Here is the giant ground sloth - actual size! 

Last, the fossils they made were removed from the bowls by turning them upside down, pressing, and then removing the clay.  Levi painted his snake in a rainbow of colors with purple for the background.  

We really enjoyed our field trip, it was very hands on and interactive keeping the kids engaged, and I think Levi learned a lot!

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