Sunday, June 19, 2016

Birds of a Feather

We just can't seem to get out of this book.  We do other things beyond this book, of course, but we are so big into birds right now, that we keep going back for more.  We have made our own little aviary of our back deck and are loving every minute of it!  We have even named our frequent visitors!  (A few of their pictures are below.)
This post is about Lesson 3 in Apologia's Zoology 1 text, "Birds of a Feather."  We had so much fun with this lesson!  We even shared it with our homeschooling group (see below).  Here is what we did.

We investigated lots and lots of feathers!  (I picked up lots of sizes and shapes at the craft store.)
Here, Mags is investigating the vane, the soft part of the feather.
Here, we were using an open  umbrella to feel drag, like a bird experiences in flight.  
This girl!
And here are our pictures from our experiment of waterproofing a feather.
One of our two feathers Maggie "preened" well, or covered in a light layer of oil.
Then, she submerged both in our container of water.
The one that was lightly oiled repelled the water, but the one with no oil (below) got soaked and heavy.
I just love notebooking with this curriculum!
To help her make her "Life List" (a list of all the birds one has ever seen with his/her own eyes), I bought her this little bird log for kids.  She was very excited to start making notes!
Here is one of our favorite visitors, our red-bellied woodpecker, Jerry!  He frequents our feeders daily, and every morning, he rat-a-tat-tats around our deck to let other woodpeckers know that this is his turf!  He is my favorite!
This is our male brown headed cowbird.  We call him "Purple Durple" because when the sun hits his feathers, their iridescence makes him look deep purple!  Cowbirds are fascinating.  They never raise their own young!  They are known in the birding community as pests, because they lay eggs, one or two at a time, in the nests of other birds!  Other bird parents raise young cowbirds who often eat more than their own young!  Wild!
Maggie started her life list in her notebooking journal, too.
Here, she diagrammed the flight feathers and made her feather facts pocket.
Feather facts!  This curriculum is so cool.  We love Apologia!
This is "Comb," the male cardinal that visits our deck more than the other cardinals around.  He and his wife both nibble from our feeders but they have become very fond of the peanut plate we lay out (just unsalted peanuts on a ceramic plate).  He often feeds her from the plate.  He is a true gentleman!
They even leave behind little gifts to thank us!
Maggie wanted to put these in her notebook.
I did a similar feathers lesson with our homeschooling group, but used a story book about feathers to introduce the topic.  We read Tico and the Golden Wings by Leo Lionni.
For a snack, I made sugar cookies shaped like feathers.  Some were black and some were golden.  I served them on gold plates.
I used gold shimmer sugar to make them really sparkle!
Here is the work table for our group.
Each child was challenged to complete a writing prompt that went with the story.
When the activity was complete, it looked like this.  Their birds had black feathers and one golden feather (we painted a black feather with gold acrylic paint).
Then, we talked all about feathers!  We labeled feathers, found the shaft, quill, and vane of our feathers, and hooked and unhooked our feathers' barbules.  We looked at different types of feathers and talked about the five types (contour, down, semiplume, filoplume, and bristle) and what each type does for the bird.  They loved this.
We even looked at the iridescence of this beautiful peacock feather!
Learning about feathers was so much fun!  This might have been our favorite lesson in this book!  We learned things that we still talk about all the time!

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