Posts Tagged ‘science’

The insect I know. It’s the larval form of a ladybug. But what is the spotted hard-shelled immobile creature?


What on earth is that miniature albino zucchini that’s attached to the body of the cute green caterpillar?


Here’s another view of it. Ignore my ragged cuticles and dirty, uncut fingernails.


We found lots of elm leaves that had these cancerous looking lesions. Are they eggs imbedded in the leaf?


It’s always this way with me. The kids find things that I can’t explain and can’t seem to find explanations for. And if I do spend time tracking down entymologists or researching in the library, by the time I come up with an answer, the question’s long been forgotten. I wish there was a book that had all the answers. I could jump up, grab the book, flip to the picture of the lesiony lump and say aha! it’s the this-or-that, and we’d all be that much wiser.

Another thing I wish is that I could find a printer that doesn’t drive me crazy. I hate printers. They never do what I want. It’s so aggravating to rush to the computer to print off a sheet of downloaded musical notation paper, or whatever musicians call those lines they compose music on, so that my young guitar player can jot down the song he’s just invented only to find that the printer is in a mood and won’t respond. I tried every thing I could think of to make it work as Tee slowly drifted off to another activity, and nothing I did made any difference, dratted thing, and then, without warning, several hours later it sprang to life and spat out the sheets. RRRRGH.

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Meet Curly
and Flicker

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Anybody have any idea what these things are? They’ve started appearing in our tadpole aquarium. Jay thinks that they’re snail poo. They’re translucent, non-mobile crescents that attach to the glass sides of the tank. They have little dots on them, which we didn’t look at under magnification. Out of the water they look like whitish blobs of jelly.
Zach….? We need your help!

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Owl Pellet


Dissecting this owl pellet was the highlight of the morning. At least for Jay. Tee was more interested in the book he was reading.


I’m pretty sure that the skeleton was of a mouse, not a rat, based on the size of it, but it still had very impressive incisors.

Jay squealed with excitement at every new bone she found, and announced that she’s decided that she’d rather be a naturalist when she grows up than a plasticine sculptress. She spent the rest of the morning making observations in our backyard and jotting them down in her naturalist’s journal. Things like I saw a squirrel. I saw a bird.

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Look! Isn’t that a beautiful little bird? She/he’s eating right out of my hand! It’s my Mother Earth dream! I’m so close to nature that all of the little animals come right up to my skirts to eat the fresh bread crumbs I’ve collected in my apron for them.


Here’s another one! I even know it’s name. It’s a yellow warbler.


This is a particularly large variety of sparrow.

They’re actually in the hands of a naturalist, who was in the process of banding them. We got a chance to watch, and we saw oodles of different song birds. They were banded, had their wings measured, were identified, had the amount of fat on their breasts recorded, and put into little envelopes to be weighed before they were released. I was surprised at how docile they were during their ordeal, and also, how completely unscathed they seemed when they flew away.


It was difficult to get a good shot of the mist net, the net that the birds are captured in, because it was virtually impossible to see.


No day at the wetland is complete without some water organism identification.



The kids got to play at being scientists, and they were excited with the sheer number of little squigglies that live in the water. When we were on the way home, Tee looked at a sparkling pond at the side of the road, and said that while it looked inviting, he wasn’t sure he would want to swim in it now that he knows how many nymphs, leeches and larvae are in there.


That’s a damselfly nymph. It looked like it was big enough to fly right out of the water.

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  1. Cut a strip of coffee filter
  2. Mark a dot on it with water soluble marker
  3. Fill a glass with water just high enough to wet the end of the strip of paper when it dangles into the glass
  4. Attach the strip to a pencil so that the pencil will bridge the mouth of the glass and allow the strip to dangle into the water
  5. Watch the water creep up the strip, taking the pigment with it, and, it your strip is long enough, separating out into the different pigments that made up that color of marker

I fudged just a bit and used this to help explain how plants “suck” water up from the ground with their roots. Not exactly the same process, because for plants it’s really capillary action, but similar enough.

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Density Experiments


This is a lovely example of fluids with different densities. Corn syrup at the bottom, water in the middle, and oil on the top. We also made a “wave in a bottle” with blue water and oil, and experimented with water by changing it’s temperature and adding salt. We were able to show that hot water (which we colored red) floated on top of cold water, and that cold water(which we colored blue) sinks in hot water.
I asked them to guess whether salty water would float or sink in regular water, and after we were able to prove that tap water does indeed make a layer on top of salty water, I explained that salt dissolving in water doesn’t change the volume of that water, therefore increasing it’s density. Tee totally understood it, but Jay is a little murky, insisting on calling the salty water “condensed”.

Here’s a picture of my “scientific” diagram of water molecules. It’s a wonder they learn anything at all!


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