Something that lives a long time…

This was a fun Sketch Tuesday assignment!  We learned a lot about whales with our Apologia Zoology II curriculum, and had a great review with our recent read-aloud Seabird, and our study of the South Atlantic.  Somewhere in all the books, study and videos we remembered that whales live a long time!  Grace decided to sketch the Bowhead Whale, which does not migrate to the South Atlantic like other species, but stays up in the Arctic regions.  We found information on Ask.com which quoted a Wikipedia report describing a bowhead whale specimen caught off of the coast of Alaska, found with “the head of … Continue reading Something that lives a long time…

Sketch Tuesday: Something poisonous…

We have missed the last few Sketch Tuesday assignments, but this one fit right in with our Apologia Zoology II Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day curriculum.  We had learned about rays and skates in the chapter on Sharks and Rays.  These two creatures both have cartilage instead of bones!  The cartilage is lighter, and more flexible.  Rays have a sharp, spine or stinger filled with venom near the tail.  When we visited the Virginia Aquarium a few weeks ago we were able to watch a feeding, and hold our hands down in the tank water to feel the rays’ backs when they swim by.  The … Continue reading Sketch Tuesday: Something poisonous…

Getting Out

One of my goals when I started homeschooling Grace was to spend at least one afternoon a week on a field trip.  We live in an area rich with resources and seldom take advantage of them.   As a youth, my family lived in Fairfax County, a relatively short drive from our nation’s capital city, and I have wonderful memories of family trips to the Smithsonian, the monuments, the bike trail along the Potomac, and the many wonderful parks. Despite the initial enthusiasm, it is all too easy, to get bogged down in the academic routine, and with Ian’s afternoon medical appointments (two a … Continue reading Getting Out

Blubber, blubber, between gloves of rubber!

Today, I did the messiest experiment!  Dad got Vaseline all over himself. Our experiment was to show the benefit of a layer of blubber to sea creatures, particularly those who spend a lot of time in cold water like  whales, sea lions, seals and walruses.   We had to put an inch of Vaseline or shortening all over a gloved hand, and it was really messy!  Then we were to put a second glove over top of the Vaseline.  We were using medical gloves, which fit super-tight!  When Dad tried to put the second glove on me, the Vaseline oozed out, so he had to try to … Continue reading Blubber, blubber, between gloves of rubber!

How water temperature affects deep ocean currents…

Our Swimming Creatures of the Sixth Day curriculum kicks off with information about the ocean itself, and one of the neat activities demonstrates how water temperature affects water movement.  Thermohaline currents are deep ocean currents, caused by temperature, or salt content or both.  In this experiment we were only working with water temperature. Our question:  Which is heavier – hot or cold water? Grace decided that hot water was heavier. The procedure is as follows:  First put a few drops of blue food coloring in a clear container of hot water.  Then put a few drops of yellow, in a cup of ice water.  Pierce the cup, … Continue reading How water temperature affects deep ocean currents…

New Zoo – fun photo from NASA

After a WONDERFUL Christmas break, Grace and I headed back up to the school room last Monday! We started a few new things – one of which is the second book in the Zoology series which focuses on sea creatures.  The first chapter discusses salinity, tides, the continental shelf and abyssal plain and also phytoplankton and zooplankton.  I was so excited to receive this timely photo from NASA of a plankton bloom – it’s quite lovely!  The NASA description is below the image. Stirring Up a Bloom Off Patagonia Off the coast of Argentina, two strong ocean currents recently stirred up a … Continue reading New Zoo – fun photo from NASA