Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Primarily Primates

Lesson 6 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day is entitled, "Primarily Primates."  I was pretty excited about this one because I have always loved monkeys and apes, especially gorillas.  This lesson is full of information on all of the above!
Typically in these posts, I sum up what the reading is about for each lesson, but since you are probably reading from the same material, I will spare your time (and mine!) and just stick to our notebooking pages and supplemental activities for these lessons.  

As always, I highly recommend the notebooking journals to accompany your Apologia science texts.  These not only help Maggie learn and retain the material better; we use them like scrapbooks of our journey through the study together.  We add thematic stickers and scrapbooking papers, photos, drawings, and more.  Don't miss out on the opportunity to create an incredible souvenir of this time.  The journals are worth every penny!  (This will be our last year using the "junior" version.)
 After reading to page 98 in this lesson, we colored pages 93-94 in our journal and completed the "Fascinating Facts" on pages 95-96.  
Next, we completed the gorilla sticker page out of this Paint by Sticker: Kids: Zoo Animals sticker book.  (I bought ours at Barnes & Noble, but I have also seen them at Michael's craft store and on Amazon.)
She loves these ...
... and they look great in our journals, attached to black pages or pages we don't use.
Throughout our study of primates, we enjoyed watching the three episodes that make up this Monkey Planet documentary by BBC on Netflix.
If you don't have Netflix, you can also watch short clips of the documentary on YouTube.  Here is a clip of "dive-bombing macaques" at (below).
On the second day of our study, we read more from the text (pages 98-109) and then completed the travel brochure outlined on page 109.  (The notebooking pages to help with this are on pages 99-103 in the junior journal.)
We also completed the primate classification chart on page 97.  (Maggie wrote the names of specific animals in red under each suborder, where appropriate.)
After her notebooking work, we mapped the primates on our world map.
For some supplemental reading, we love using Zoobooks.  They are phenomenal, with great illustrations and photos from cover to cover.  For this lesson, we read four.  We read Old World Monkeys (2016) ...
... Chimpanzees (2014) ...
... Gorillas (2017) ...
... and Orangutans (2016).  (I think Maggie's favorite primate of all that we have studied is the orangutan, considered the most intelligent animal in the world.)
The Chimpanzees issue allowed us to learn a bit about Jane Goodall, a "primate pioneer."  Maggie was fascinated with her, so we went on to read Who Is Jane Goodall? by Roberta Edwards (these are great books) ...
... and to play "The Jane Game" in the middle of this Zoobooks issue, reviewing facts about Goodall's life.  (If you worry you can't get your hands on past issues of Zoobooks, you can!  Many zoos carry these publications in their gift shops and three out of four of these that we read we just bought last month that way!)
While studying primates, I recalled a fun craft we did years ago, "Pipe Cleaner Monkeys," that I wanted to share again for any of you craftier homeschoolers.  The post is at, and the following five pictures are from that post.  

For each monkey, you need a bumpy pipe cleaner, a regular pipe cleaner, three 1-inch pom poms, smaller pom poms for ears and a nose (not in the picture below), googly eyes, tacky glue, and scissors.
 You can click on the aforementioned post to see the more detailed instructions for this craft, but you can see here how the critter comes together.
Look how little my girl was!
 These were her color combinations!
Once done, their long arms can loop to grab the arms of another primate!  So cute!  I remember how Maggie loved this project!
We continued working in our journal, recording all that we were learning.
To wrap up our study, I was excited to take Mags to Zoo Atlanta, where they have at least twelve species of primates!
Before our visit, I made this scavenger hunt on my computer, being sure to line up the individual primates under their correct suborders, as she had learned from the text.  (You can click on the image itself to see it larger.)  This was a lesson for Daddy, too, who was able to join us on this field trip!
Zoo Atlanta has an amazing gorilla exhibit, as it is home to the largest population of gorillas in North America.  The exhibit is named after Willie B., the western lowland gorilla that lived at the zoo from 1961 until his passing in 2000 at the age of 42.  Here is Maggie, standing next to the Willie B. statue commemorating him.
And bear with me, as there are a lot of pictures here of these magnificent creatures.  (I told you gorillas are one of my favorites!)  This is the silverback with one of his mates and her infant.
We watched them for a long time.
The infant was so cute!
I was excited to capture this shot!  Poor mama!  It's not just us, ladies!  Gorillas have a time, too!
The silverback took his job very seriously.  He sat like this most of the time we were there, scanning everybody and everything, keeping close watch over his troop.
This was one of our favorite things about this lesson, our "gorilla gander," as we called it!
The zoo has so many other primates to observe, too!
They even have a drill, like a mandrill, but without the colors in its face.
Maggie's favorite was this orangutan.  He was absolutely beautiful and so curious about my camera.  They have both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans there and we got to enjoy both.
After our visit, we came across a video by National Geographic of a new, rare species of orangutan, the Tapanuli orangutan.  Fascinating!  That clip can be found on YouTube at, below.  Please watch it!
Once Maggie had checked off the 11 primates on her scavenger hunt list, we added it to her journal, along with the zoo map and brochure.
 Finally, to review all we had learned about primates, we completed the review questions for Lesson 6 from CurrClick and added the pages to her journal.
What fun we had learning about primates!  Up next?  We will learn all about rodents in Lesson 7, entitled, "Rodents and the Rest."  Check back soon for that post!

* UPDATE:  Since posting about this lesson, Maggie and I have since become enamored with an excellent series on Netflix that I would highly recommend.  It's called Monkey Life and it is so fascinating, covering many different species of monkeys and apes in each episode.  Check it out!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Lesson 5 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day is all about "Marsupials," that is, mammals that use a marsupium (vocabulary words are in bold) where their joeys develop and are protected.  (This is different from the way placental mammals grow.)  There are hundreds of species of marsupials, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats, and possums.  This post outlines our study of this lesson.
To start our study, we learned from the text about Pangaea, trying to understand how many of the world's marsupials are only in certain parts of the world, like Australia.  Fulbright (the author) gave three great possibilities for when and how Pangaea split apart into the continents we know now (page 72), but there was one viewpoint not mentioned that I thought could make sense, too.  

Genesis 10:25 says, "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's name was Joktan" (KJV).

Genesis 11:8a says, "So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth ..." (KJV).

At some point in history, around the time of the Tower of Babel, people were "scattered" and the earth was "divided."  Before that, we all spoke one language and had access to each other because of this single land mass.  But because of our sin at the tower, God separated us by language and geography.  This, too, could explain the breakup of Pangaea.
After reading about Pangaea, we colored pages 70-71 in our notebooking journal ...
... and then completed the Pangaea activity outlined on page 73 of the text (also on pages 73-75 of our journal).
We continued reading in our text about how marsupials are classified (order Marsupialia, order Diprotodontia, suborder Macropodiformes, etc.).  We learned how kangaroos are macropods (meaning "big foot"), and how they hop to get to places faster and to conserve energy.  We tried hopping, too.  To keep our feet together, we used one of Maggie's hairbands around our ankles.
 Hopping isn't easy!  It takes a lot of effort for us!
On Day 2 of this study, we continued looking at kangaroos.  We started the day with a reading of Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne.  It's a cute story about a mother kangaroo with no marsupium, and how she finds a solution to her problem.  (Of course we know that her joey would never have properly developed without this important physical feature, but it's just a story.)
After the story, we read more in our text about kangaroos (the female is called a doe, the male, a buck, and a group, a mob) and wallabies.  We read about bettongs, potoroos, koalas, and wombats.  We then learned about suborder Phalangiformes (possums and opossums) and order Peramelemorphia (bandicoots and bilbies).

Meanwhile, we continued to journal.
We stopped our reading for a bit to watch a fun video, the "Babies" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, which features a koala and how she carries her young.  You can see the same on YouTube at (below).
Then we went on to read about Order Notorycetemorphia (marsupial moles), Order Dasyuromorphia (of which Tasmanian devils and the extinct Tasmanian tigers are classified into), and Orders Microbiotheria and Didelphimorphia (of which Virginia opossums are classified into).  It was a lot of fun learning about so many marsupials!

On Day 3 of this study, we started with reading Zoobooks' Kangaroos issue (from 2015), cover to cover.  (We just love these to supplement our reading.  The photos and illustrations are amazing.)
We also read the "Postcards from Australia" article out of this November 2015 issue of Ranger Rick magazine, about marsupials.
We then mapped our marsupials on our world map.  (The small pictures for this activity can be found in the back of the notebooking journal.)
Our map is filling up!
Mags then drew some opossum tracks in her journal ...
... before completing the Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Virginia opossums and Australian possums on page 76 ...
... and writing some facts about the many marsupials we were learning about on pages 77-79.
To end Day 3's work, we completed the koala sticker scene from this Paint by Sticker: Kids: Zoo Animals sticker book.
 (She loves these!)  We added it to our journal and called it a day.
On Day 4 of this study, we watched a short clip of a kangaroo joey making its journey to the marsupium from the Life of Mammals documentary by BBC on YouTube at (below).  (It is so sweet!)
Afterwards, I had Maggie fill out a "Video Review" sheet (made on my computer) for this video, which we then attached in her journal.
We then completed the "Marsupials Hangers" activity on pages 83-88 of the journal, which challenged us to group our marsupials geographically.
In the text, there is a project on pages 87-88 that challenges you to capture some animal tracks (hopefully, Virginia opossum tracks) in a cement tray which you prepare.  HOWEVER, if you look on the course website ( as instructed on page vii of your text, you will see that the instructions for this project were changed to protect wildlife.  They no longer recommend using cement, but clay instead.  So, we set out to make our own clay tray, with a yummy snack in the center, to entice a critter to step on our setup.  

From past experience, we have learned that Virginia opossums like cheese.  

In Zoology 1, we completed the "Can Trap Experiment" from Lesson 10 (at, from which we tried to determine whether insects preferred protein-rich foods or fruit.  (The following 10 photos are from that post.)

Here is Mags, holding the protein bundle, a ham and cheese combo wrapped in cheesecloth.  (She was so little, with that funny, big tooth!)
We placed our experiment (our protein can and our fruit can) in the woods behind our house ...
 ... and covered it with a small board which we labeled for our reference the next day.
 We then loosely covered the board with earth and pine straw.
The next day, we noted our experiment had been tampered with.  (This was not done by an insect!)
 Our protein bundle was completely gone!
 And the can that held our protein bundle had holes in it from sharp teeth!  Looking at the holes, we decided it was probably a Virginia opossum that was the culprit!
However, our fruit can was full of happy snails!

So ... remembering that experiment ... we decided cheese would be a great snack for this experiment!
 We didn't have enough clay of one color to cover the bottom of our tray, so we made a multi-colored bottom.  With our snack firmly planted in the cup in our clay, we headed outdoors to find a spot in the woods to place our setup.
 Ok, marsupials!  Come and get it!
 The next morning, the snack was gone!
 But were there any prints?  No!  We decided whatever got our snack was taller than a Virginia opossum, able to stick it's head into the cup without stepping into our clay tray.  We guessed maybe a deer, as we have a lot of those what frequent our backyard.
Oh well!  We tried!  At least something enjoyed our tasty treat!
We recorded this all in our journal.
Later, we printed the free kangaroo "paper toy"at and put it together.
Maggie loved how the little joey sat in its mother's pouch.
To wrap up this lesson, we completed the review questions for it from CurrClick and added the review sheets to our journal.
Later that week, we saw some lazy marsupials (these three kangaroos) at Zoo Atlanta.
 They were completely uninterested in us!
Our next Zoology 3 post (which I hope to post tomorrow) is on Lesson 6, "Primarily Primates."  We had a lot of fun with it, too!  Check back with us!