Saturday, January 10, 2015

Brevard Zoo Kangaroo!

We had another Brevard Zoo Jaguar Society event today, this time with the kangaroos.   We not only got a talk, but got to meet them too!   

One of them, named Bindi was very friendly and was incredibly soft.   She loves to be scratched under the chin and puts her head wayyyy back for it. 

We learned that their back legs are "connected", they move together.   They are called magapods (mega = big, pod = foot, which Levi knew from Mr. Science).    We saw up close how much they use their tails for sitting, moving and balance.  

They have a burlap bag that the kangaroos "kick box" for training - kangaroos must support themselves with their front feet in order to kick, so they kind of grab on.   

Here she is in action, though not kick boxing! 

This one, J.C. is 4yrs old, but they still give her bottles because it makes it easy for the keepers to examine her while she is busy.   

Bindi came up to everyone to sniff (here she is sniffing my mom's ankles) 

... and Levi's boots

And his "pouch"

Bindi let Levi follow her around and pet her. 

And notice his outfit?   I made it last night just for the occasion.   Orange, turquoise, some kangaroo touches... perfect!    I saw a circle pocket on Project Run and Play, by Max California, and loved the idea.  I've had it in my head to use for a long time, but finally was inspired by the kangaroos to use it!  
This is made from flannel, which I bought when it was on sale - its soft, cozy, but not TOO warm for our not-so-cold weather (that we think is freezing anyway). 

The buttons are cute mushroom shapes that I bought on ebay forever ago, nothing to do with kangaroos but I liked them so I used them!

My sweet kangaroo had fun at the zoo. 

Cheetahs at Brevard Zoo

My parents signed up to be "Jaguar Members" of Brevard Zoo which means we get the opportunity to go "behind the scenes" and see various exhibits up close.    There are talks and questions and answers about the animals, and we get to see things that most zoo-goers don't see.  

This one is from November when with the Cheetah exhibit - we watched the cheetahs during an enrichment activity where they get to chase a furry looking toy as it zips around a course on a string. 

We also got to go to the back of the enclosure to take a closer look.


We also stopped to see our friend the Meerkat  who was hanging out by the glass!

Its always a great learning opportunity, for Levi and for us adults!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bird Lapbook and Unit Study (August-Sept 2014)

I'm trying to catch up with blog posts, new years resolution - don't get so far behind! 

Here is our unit study/lapbook on birds!

First up is an "egg-speriment" - classic "put an egg in vinegar and see what happens".   The shell of the egg dissolves leaving the membrane.   You can hold it up to the light and see the yolk inside.  We also talked about the anatomy of an egg.   

The egg in vinegar:

The result (vinegar egg on the left).  We also discussed osmosis, as the soaked egg got bigger.   It also demonstrates how a developing chick breathes. 

The next egg experiment was to find out why eggs don't break when a bird sits on it.  The shape spreads the pressure! 

Stack of heavy books on top of a carton of eggs (Levi was sure destruction was inevitable)


Levi explaining the experiment
We found a little baby bird outside of its nest sitting in the middle of the road, and called the wildlife sanctuary to figure out what to do with it.   We put it close to the nearest tree and checked on it once in a while to be sure it was o.k.   Eventually, it disappeared, so we are hoping it learned to fly and took off! 
Levi taught himself a funny whistle where he blows across his toungue.   He decided its a morning dove call.  
He also dissected an owl pellet.    I ordered them on amazon here.   They were super gross but Levi spent forever taking them apart.  We found it easiest to soak them in water.    Levi recorded his experiment in this little book
What he found inside

Birds we observed at the park

His hair is orange in support of his friend Lily

We also observed birds at the zoo.   We spotted this spoonbill acting strangely, she would not let anyone near her and would not move from this spot.  Levi suspected she was sitting on eggs, but we didn't see any eggs, just rocks.  Levi asked the zoo keeper and found out that she thinks those rocks are her eggs!   The zoo removes eggs for research so this poor bird was a bit confused. 

Another Spoonbill

This Ibis has an actual nest.


Levi talking about vultures:

We talked about bird behavior as well, like what this bird was doing:

The zoo had some new signs up, all about flamingos

And our friend Thor at the zoo:

These guys were at a farm we visited:
Dancing bird at the farm:

And here Levi is working on an owl painting which later became the cover of his lapbook.

Here he explains what he is doing:

The finished lapbook: Bird habitats Poems and Songs (he memorized a few of them) Birds (what makes a bird, a bird)

Bird anatomy: Parts of a bird (outside) Inside of a bird Quiz on bird facts

Bird Behavior: Migration Honing Preening 

Anatomy of an egg and our vinegar experiment

Our other egg experiments

More experiments and "bird records" that Levi looked up and recorded (this was his favorite thing to research)

Ducks: How many kinds of duck? Types of Duck Characteristics of ducks/water birds

More on ducks Duck communication Habitats names for male/female/baby ducks Chickens: digestive system vocabulary comparison of small vs. large farm raised birds 

More on chickens: Chicken facts Group names Family Names Uses for chickens Ostrich: Burying its head Size Speed Boiling an egg

More on Ostrich: Why do they have wings? Maintaining body temperature Communication Owls/birds of prey: Raptors Big and small owls how birds of prey attack owl communication owl facts owl face shape

Owl Pellet dissection reflections

Bird Observations: These I made up myself and have a variety of different things to fill out for observations such as physical characteristics, where the bird was found and what the bird is doing.   These we did at the zoo and it was a good way to get Levi to take a closer look at animals he sees regularly with zoo visits.

This is the cover, he made the paper for the owl with the drip art.