Monday, September 25, 2017

Carnivorous Mammals

We just wrapped up Lesson 2 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day, about "Carnivorous Mammals."
I knew this lesson would be THE lesson for us because it covers wolves, one of Maggie's favorite animals.  Seriously.  She has more wolf paraphernalia than you would believe and she actually had us calling her "Wolf" for a good year.  Luckily, that phase passed.  (And if you think it crazy that we fed into this whim, know that we refused to give in to her other nickname request of "Fish Sticks."  That was definitely not going to happen.)  Moving on ...
To start Lesson 2, we read Is a Camel a Mammal? All About Mammals by Tish Rabe, to review what we knew about mammals.
We then began reading in the text (pages 15-18) about even more characteristics of mammals.  We read about how mammals have lower jaws made of only one bone (as opposed to reptiles, for example, who have lower jaws made up of several bones).  We learned about the teeth in those bones, too, the incisors, canines, premolars, and molars (vocabulary words in bold).   We went on to read about the skin of mammals, learning about the epidermis, dermis, and glands (including the scent glands and sweat glands).

After our initial reading, Mags colored the coloring pages for this lesson in her Junior Zoology 3 Notebooking Journal (pages 24-25). 
For our final activity for this first day of Lesson 2, we completed the "Try This!" activity outlined on page 18 of the text, demonstrating how sweat helps to cool a mammal's body.  First, Mags blew on her hands.  
 Then, after running water on her left hand (the water represented sweat), she blew on it and then blew on her dry, right hand.  She noticed that the wet hand felt cooler.  This is because water was evaporating from her hand as she blew on it.  This is the same way that sweat helps cool us.
She wrote about this experiment on the left side of page 37 of her notebooking journal ("My Carnivorous Animals Projects").

On the second day we studied Lesson 2, we started by reading pages 18-21 of our text.  (I use the suggested lesson plans at the front of the notebooking journals to help me plan out each day.  In the junior journal for this course, it is on pages 7-9.)  On those reading pages, we learned about how the members of order Carnivora have carnassial teeth to help them tear meat.  This order can be broken up into at least two groups:  Caniforms and Feliforms.  In this lesson, we would focus on family Canidae, the family true dogs fall under.  (Maggie was so excited to get into this!)

To keep track of all we were learning, Maggie was taking notes in her journal.  This is her "Fascinating Facts" work on page 26.
After journaling, we continued to read through page 28 in the text about DNA, genes (dominant and recessive), natural selection, and artificial selection, explaining how we got all of the different dog breeds from the original pair of dog kind that entered the ark.  We also learned about canine behavior and communication, including the dominant pair in a pack, the alpha male and alpha female.  We learned how canines are digitigrades, that is, animals that walk on their toes instead of the whole foot, how they have amazing senses, with the olfactory organ being the most keen.  We learned how these pack animals hunt, and then we learned about the many different kinds of canines, including wolves, coyotes, foxes (including the red fox and arctic fox), jackals, dingoes, raccoon dogs (not raccoons), and African wild dogs.

After our reading, we watched a great video showing all these canine species (and more) called "Top 10 Wild Dogs in the World," at (below).

She wrote about what she learned from this video on page 37 of her journal (to the right of her notes on the aforementioned sweat experiment).
We then copied pages 101-102 of Evan-Moor's Giant Science Resource Book, featuring these wild dogs, for our journal.
We placed these two sheets on page 30 of our journal, opposite the "Zoology Vocabulary" flaps Mags put together.  The top sheet in the picture below has images of these wild dogs ...
... and the bottom sheet challenged us to research where these wild dogs live.
To wrap up Day 2 of our study of Lesson 2, we remembered we had a microscope slide of dog hair, so we decided to look at it under our microscope.
The following two images are images we found online (from a simple Google search) that closely matched what we saw on our slide.
I had Mags fill out a "Magnification Observation" sheet (which I made simply on my computer) for adding to our journal.
We glued it over page 28, opposite the cursive copywork, as the print copywork is not a challenge for her (which is what is actually on page 28).  We make the journals work for us.
On Day 3 of our study of Lesson 2, we read more about wolves since Maggie is so obsessed with them.  We read Zoobooks' August 2013 issue about wolves ...
... and looked through Smithsonian's Wolves book by Seymour Simon ...
... Scholastic's Wolves book by Carolyn B. Otto ...
... and National Geographic's The Hidden Life of Wolves by Jim and Jamie Dutcher.  These creatures are magnificent.
In 1995, fourteen wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park.  The advantageous changes that occurred in the park as a result of their release has been widely documented, including very many videos of the same on YouTube. One of those is the "How Wolves Change Rivers" video at (below).  Maggie and I love this video.  It shows what amazing creatures wolves are and how vital they are to our ecosystems.  Please watch!
Once the video was done, we completed the "Map It!" activity in our text (page 29), to map some of the wild dogs we learned about.  We used the provided images in the journal (after page A62), and added them to our world map, already bearing story disks from our Five in a Row (FIAR) literature curriculum.  (We wanted to have our Zoology 3 animals on the same map versus using a separate one.)
 We can't wait to see how full our map gets after a full school year of FIAR and Zoology 3!
We then read the "Track It!" section on page 29 of our text and Mags drew a canine track on page 30 of her journal.
Our final activity for Day 3 of this study was the "Canine Newsletter" outlined on page 29 of the text.  The junior journal provides a page for this (page 27).  We used scrapbooking stickers to jazz up Mags' newsletter, "Canine Chronicles."
I mean, how special are these journals?!
I had a very special, surprise field trip planned for Mags after this lesson.  On Day 4, a Saturday, we went to Seacrest Wolf Preserve ( in Chipley, Florida, to spend a day with wolves.  We were soooooo excited!  It was a good two and a half hour drive for us one way, but it was totally worth it!  For only $25, we spent the whole day there, from 11am to 5pm, learning about, observing, petting, and even howling with wolves!  Your child has to be at least ten years of age to participate, but this experience is worth future planning if he/she falls under that requirement.  We had a fantastic time and learned so much more about wolves than we had even studied the days leading up to it.  They are such intelligent and misunderstood creatures.  It is really in our best interest that they are protected.  The following seven pictures were taken by Seacrest.  This particular alpha male seemed quite fond of Maggie and she was tickled.  
 I love this one!
 Can you spot the photobomber in the background?!  LOL!
We absolutely adored this place.  It is clear Seacrest loves its animals.  We are already making our plans for a return visit!

Funny thing, on our long drive home, Maggie chose Arby's for dinner.  Would you believe the toy in her kids' meal was a gray wolf mask?!  What are the odds??  We called this a Godwink!
A resource we use a lot for realistic, easy-to-assemble masks (and which includes a mask for a gray wolf) is this Wild Animals 3-D masks activity book by Born Free.  
Mags still loves them!
Once home, she completed a "My Zoology Field Trip" form (found on page 263 of the junior journal), which we attached to the information sheet about wolves we got from Seacrest, to page 35 of our journal, opposite the "Carnivorous Animals Minibook" we completed (A9).
It was time for the senses experiment on page 30 of the text.  Our test subject would be Daddy, but he would be a tricky candidate.  He has a terrible sense of smell, but as a chef, an excellent palate.  After we prepared our jello (one cup of lemon untouched and one cup of lemon dyed red), Maggie predicted that Daddy would guess by smell that the red was cherry and that by taste, he would accurately guess lemon.
 She was right!  He thought we might be tricking him with the yellow, too, but he guessed lemon/lemon for both smell and taste on the yellow cup.
 What did we learn?  We learned that humans are tricked by their sense of sight!  Our sniffers are just not as good as canines'!  Here is our Scientific Speculation Sheet from this experiment (page 38 in the junior journal).
To wrap up Lesson 2, Mags completed the review questions for this lesson from CurrClick (at ...
 ... which we added to her journal on page 36.
What an awesome lesson this was!  Please allow me to take a moment to encourage you to spread the word about the importance of wolf preservation.  They are in danger of becoming extinct and it will be a great tragedy for us and all future generations if that happens.  Support places like Seacrest and educate others!  The world is a better place with wolves in it.
Up next?  Lesson 3, "Caniforms Continued," which will teach us all about bears, badgers, weasels, otters, skunks, and raccoons, among others.  Check back with us!


  1. Wow is all I can say. I am sure this waa a field trip Maggie will never forget. What an amazing experience. I do not get around to replying much these days, but I am always following your blog. You all are such an inspiration to me!

    1. Hi, Elizabeth! Good to hear from you! Yes, we had an amazing time on this field trip. We are already planning our return visit. Zoology 3 has been so much fun so far! Right now, we are learning all about bears with Lesson 3. Hope you guys are having a good year!